Tips and Tricks: Improve your PMI performance
Today’s testing tools take the quandary out of PMI, right…? Unless, of course, the information returned doesn’t quite make sense. If you’re getting some confusing results when you analyse alloy materials then rest assured, you’re not alone.
The following are some simple ways that you can up your game, allowing you to better resolve inconsistencies in your results and get the best out of your testing equipment.
1. Memorise the 10 common alloys
It won’t take long before you realise that there are 10 common alloys that you’ll usually be testing. If you can memorise the important info you need to know about each then this will certainly ease your workload. While it might seem a bit of a challenge to do this, it’s simply a case of repeat, repeat, repeat…
Consider the following:
- What do you already know about each alloy?
- How do you identify them?
- What are the specifications of each alloy?
- What about the complexity of the particular instrument you’re using?
Having this information in your head means that you’ll understand the chemistry of the particular metal without having to look it up each time. Remember, the kit you use is in addition to your knowledge, rather than a tool that you blindly follow regardless of the information it returns.
2. Prep the surface
Badly prepared surfaces are one of the biggest cause of inaccurate testing results. For instance, if a prepping tool has left any residual material on a surface to be analysed it can easily contaminate the results. A wise operator will always check the prepping technique, to prevent any debris that might have been left (e.g., the use of stainless steel brushes).
3. Unified Number System book is your best friend
Don’t underestimate the value of this book – it really is invaluable to the work you do. You’ll lose count of the amount of times that you’re given a trade name for an alloy. The UNS book means you can easily look this up, taking all of the hard work out of identification. The book costs a bit but will return its purchase price many times over.
4. Calibrate your kit
Your analysers need maintenance and care – and that means regular calibration. It’s not enough to trust that the machine is working fine, even if you carry out the internal self-check system. Learn how the kit works, understand what its checking and ensure that correct functioning every time you use it.
A common error is to not compare test results, but this is an essential aspect of calibration. If you can’t find the analyser’s certification sheet to do this, then get in contact with the relevant supplier or download it from their website.
5. Go old school – get a notebook
With the use of smart phones, cameras etc likely banned in many operation sites it’s time to go back to basics. And that means a notebook (waterproof, ideally). When any questionable results are returned then you can write them down for further analysis. Be sure to record the answers you find – plus anything you need to revisit or further educate yourself on.
6. Never stop learning
When it comes to PMI, you never stop learning. Never be afraid to admit that you don’t know something – only through this will you be able to access the correct training and increase your knowledge. Most importantly, stay abreast of new tech as it becomes available. Processes and equipment are subject to constant change. If you don’t keep up then you won’t be able to carry out your best work.
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