Positive Material Identification (PMI)
VDM Metals Exceeds Client Expectations with Vanta™ Handheld XRF
Published on 9th December 2020
VDM Metals, based in Florham Park, New Jersey, US, is a producer of nickel and cobalt superalloys primarily for the aerospace industry.
VDM Metals, based in Florham Park, New Jersey, US, is a producer of nickel and cobalt superalloys primarily for the aerospace industry. Plant Manager Steve Chapman, who oversees their vacuum induction furnace, three electro-slag remelting (ESR) furnaces, and rolling mill, shares how Vanta handheld XRF analyzers help them exceed client expectations.
Vanta Handheld XRF Helps VDM Exceed Client Expectations
At VDM Metals, everything is customized for their clients. They must meet supplier qualification for materials purchased or any internally-generated revert material. Every single piece of material is tested since a mix-up would be catastrophic.
“Because of the diverse material we melt, we could end up scrapping an entire melt because of the wrong material,” said Steve.
VDM Metals uses several Vanta handheld XRF analyzers at their facility to accurately identify materials and help prevent these costly mix-ups.
Steve explained, “We have two in the melting department and one in the finishing department. We also have a large XRF chemistry unit in the lab for .01 accuracy.”
End-to-End Alloy Identification
VDM Metals identifies the alloy of every piece of material and bundle they ship, as well as any material that comes back to them from outside processing.
“We validate incoming, outgoing, and material going into the melt,” Steve said.
He continued, “Of each melt that we do, about 4–5% end up as end cuts that go back into the furnace. A lot of melts are purchased scrap material. Elsewhere in the facility, other employees are using XRF to ship material, receive material, and verify certain pieces of material.”
Steve finds it helpful that you can scroll down and look at the chemistry on Vanta XRF analyzers. “I used it like that to try to figure out a problem with three similar grades,” he said.
The ease of use from the grade match functionality is another benefit. Employees can identify alloys quickly and make faster decisions.
“If there’s no grade match, the materials go to the refinery and are sold off as unidentifiable,” Steve said.
Ease of Use
VDM Metals has five employees using the XRF analyzer every day, and one of those employees uses the analyzer all day long. The Vanta XRF analyzer provides the ease of use they need for new employees to get up to speed and identify alloys quickly.
The convenient grade match feature on the Vanta analyzers helps make training and daily operation easier. “For grade match, when it says 718, they throw it in the drum that says 718,” said Steve.
“It is very easy to use,” said Steve about the Vanta XRF analyzer. “Regulations from the state of New Jersey require some operator training before use. And our employees wear dosimetry rings.”
The Vanta XRF analyzers are exposed to rain, dirt, and dust in the yard—but VDM Metals finds the instruments have the rugged features to withstand these challenging environmental conditions.
Steve explained, “We bring them outside in the rain. Material is in open drums in the rain. Our guy is wearing gloves, and his gloves get wet. The Vanta—it’s a sturdy piece of equipment.”
With the analyzers exposed to tough environmental conditions, VDM Metals views service as paramount.
“You don’t want $100k of equipment sitting around your place if something goes wrong,” said Steve. “It’s essential to get repairs quickly. We’ve had a broken touch screen before. No detector or tube replaced. The cost for repairs was not unreasonable.”
“We really appreciate knowing someone out there with extremely good service and support,” said Steve about Olympus.
VDM Metals also appreciates the fast service provided by Olympus for their Vanta XRF analyzers.
“The level of service that we have gotten from Olympus is unparalleled. Repairs are done in a matter of days, where it was always a matter of weeks with a competitor,” said Steve.
He continued, “Calling the rep, they will come by that day, take a look, and see if they can get a loaner, rental, what they can do about it. They were spectacular for responsiveness when we needed help. Within an hour it was all done. It’s really unheard-of how responsive the sales rep was.”
About VDM Metals
VDM Metals employs 100 people in New Jersey with 70 employees in manufacturing. To learn more about VDM Metals, visit VDM-Metals.com.