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Testing the waters—and much more—in metals sector

Keywords: Tags  Fives Group, Fives Bronx, Ken Smith, Olympus NDT Inc., Olympus Corp., XRF, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Siemens VAI Metals Technologies GmbH & Co. Bill Beck

For the metals industry, accurately and quickly analyzing a wide variety of parameters, from thickness to alloy composition, is the holy grail of measurement technology. And those technologies are rapidly holding forth the promise of more change to come and the potential for market share that often comes with such innovation.

“Delivering significant value to ... sorting operations” is the market force driving a growing number of companies into the marketplace, said a spokesman for Fives Group, a Paris-based industrial engineering company. “Unfailing accuracy of IDs means fewer rejections, more satisfied customers and repeat business.”

Ken Smith, business development manager of Olympus NDT Inc., part of Tokyo-based Olympus Corp., recently told that he sees a bright future for metals testing equipment, including his company’s XRF technology. The hardware will continue to improve, while customer needs and demands will drive a streamlining of software, he said, and applications will inevitably run faster and more accurately.

A diverse group of metal sector companies are turning increasingly to testing equipment to increase profitability and remain competitive.

Much of the metals testing equipment available on the market today is provided by specialty subsidiaries of multinational scientific and laboratory companies, such as Fives Group, Olympus, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., Waltham, Mass., and Siemens VAI Metals Technologies GmbH & Co., Linz, Austria. Such companies provide specialty diagnosis, laboratory products and service, and analytical technologies for a wide variety of industries.

For example, although Fives Bronx (the nameplate unit of Fives Group) has been at the forefront of hydrostatic pipe testing equipment for more than a century, its experience is typical of the growth in the market for testing equipment. The company, which was the first to design, build and install a fully automatic, in-line hydrostatic pipe tester that it said met the needs of customers through technological innovations and also offered flexibility, efficiency and safety, has become a global leader in the burgeoning oil country tubular goods market.

In the realm of scrapyard needs, Thermo Fisher Scientific said it engineered its Niton analyzers from the ground up to provide the industry with faster sorting and more accurate results as market forces made those traits more desirable.

For all testing equipment manufacturers, the lure of a global reach also has led them to seek to improve product support, application consulting and training.

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