January 12 - The trend by Western manufacturers of sourcing growing volumes of steel, alloys and metal components in the Far East from comparatively unknown suppliers has created a pressing need to re-inspect or 'overcheck' material certifications.
That is the view of independent UK-based metallurgical specialist Keighley Laboratories, which is warning that critical component failures, such as faulty pipes, valves, shafts, gears, couplings and other engineered components in the heavy lift and project cargo sector give rise to safety, environmental, productivity and financial issues, which in some cases prove to be catastrophic.
The company quotes a recent US study, in which 133 out of 220 samples of imported steel rod were rated as failures by a certified test laboratory, an astonishing 60 0.000000ailure rate.
Keighley Laboratories' heat treatment commercial manager, Michael Emmott says: "Often we find that the raw material is not as specified, even with the correct certification, creating potential problems down the line.
"The cost of a simple chemical or mechanical overcheck or a full in-depth metallurgical analysis might be tens or hundreds of pounds, but if that item is safety critical or forms part of a product worth hundreds of thousands, then it's a comparatively small price to pay. Besides, given the legal implications of a failure in the field, it's either a question of verifying incoming material or possibly putting your own business at risk."