So much in the world depends on the properties of true stainless steel. Improper alloy grade substitutions can result in hazards and industrial failure. You need to be certain that you are using, buying or selling the right steel grade, which has been compliantly manufactured and correctly labeled. Bruker’s stainless steel testing X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) guns can provide you with this much needed certainty.
Stainless is the queen of the steel alloys, the most durable and resistant, but also costlier than the others. Stainless steel is prized above all for its anti-rust and anti-corrosion properties. Stainless steel’s value arises mainly from its approximately 10% nickel content. Molybdenum content (typically at 2%) adds further to the value. Because stainless steel alloys are specifically chosen for their superior application properties, they must be standards-compliant and accurately labeled.
As steel testing experts, we have often seen steel items marked “316L” that proved to be one of the lower, cheaper stainless steel grades, or to contain lower grade component parts. Though such situations can be due to fraud, most alloy grade errors are banal, caused by suppliers’ inadequate material management or reliance on inaccurate steel analysis equipment. Bruker’s handheld XRF guns for testing stainless steel offer an easy and reliable solution that efficiently helps users to avoid the problem of steel grade mix-ups.
A portable XRF stainless steel analyzer can test metal composition quickly – in only 3 seconds per scan. This speed allows a high testing throughput, offering stainless scrap professionals a quick ROI. A scrap sorter with a throughput of over 100 tons per month may recover the instrument’s cost in three months’ time.
Here are some of the money saving benefits of using a Bruker XRF gun:
There is a shortage of good stainless steel scrap. Top quality scrap costs the most and the buyer should use stainless steel testing equipment to be certain that the scrap they are buying is the real deal.
The steel mill pays for scrapper minimum guaranteed concentration. A pile of stainless steel scrap containing 304 with nickel content of 8-12% should be sorted into two new piles, one with 8-10% nickel content and the other with 10-12% nickel content. The latter pile can then be priced based on 10% Ni, a substantial gain.
“Tramp” elements in stainless steel may incur penalties for the seller. These can easily be detected and eliminated with the help of a Bruker stainless steel tester gun.
A tramp or trace element is any chemical element included in the steel’s composition that was not added deliberately and is not easily removed. These impurities enter steel from ore and pig iron, via impurities in alloy additions, refractories and, importantly, from scrap. All tramp elements must be rigorously scanned for using a metal composition tester like Bruker’s steel tester gun.
Luckily, Bruker's XRF stainless steel tester can detect them all. Today, professional steel scrap sorters by default rely on handheld XRF guns such as Bruker’s to identify and verify stainless steel grades. Once it reaches the steel mill, scrap is re-analyzed more meticulously. A steelmaker usually pre-sorts the material using an XRF gun and then tests a statistically significant sample from each scrap load with a bench top stationary spectrometer machine in a steel testing lab.