Advances in technology have brought about so much progress and change in industrial and manufacturing sectors so as to make them completely unrecognisable from those of a decade ago. While break-through’s in production and automation streamline and improve efficiency and the quality of end products, there is still no substitute for quality raw materials and following the right processes. As such it is still important for manufacturers to acquire quality supplies for use in their production as a means to maintain the integrity of their products.
A good example of this is in metallurgy, fabrication, and speciality manufacturers where the use of alloys is integral to production. With a range of compositions required for specific applications such as the manufacture or repair of parts and machinery, choosing the right alloys for your process is paramount.
Procuring the Right Alloys for your Processes
Alloys in manufacturing are used for a wide range of applications, including coating bearings for diesel engines, pumps, and a variety of non automotive industrial machinery. For example babbit alloys are a tin and lead based alloy that is used as a protective coating for engine parts, turbines and the like. As a result the type of application and any loads that will be applied on the parts such as rotation speed determine the strength and quality of alloy required.
Procuring the right alloys for manufacturing processes is therefore a very important step in the success of a manufacturer’s production. Given how critical the correct alloys are for your process, identifying the right supplier is also crucial to the quality and integrity of the end product.
Benefits of Using Alloys over Pure Metal
Alloys are a mixture of one metal and another element in order to achieve certain properties that are usually different to the ones in the original metals they contain. This makes alloys more useful than pure metals on their own as they become stronger or harder than the metals which they are made out of. A good example is that of pure iron, which is too soft for a majority of uses. However, when tungsten is added to the iron a stronger alloy, tool steel, is created.
Conversely, this is what makes the procurement and use of alloys a trickier proposition to using pure base metals alone. Their composition and purity have to be of the highest possible quality in order for manufacturers to achieve the quality required for their equipment or products.
Establishing Quality Benchmarks and Assurance
Any business or manufacturer will succeed or fail on the quality of their product. This is why establishing quality benchmarks in manufacturing process is an essential partner to procuring the right alloys. For example, this means determining important aspects such as whether a low melting point alloy or one that is more pliable is required and then ensuring those standards are met every time. In addition to the end product, quality benchmarks have to be applied to important aspects of the manufacturing process such as parts, machinery and tools.
As most manufacturers will know, – establishing and maintaining in-house quality benchmarks also ensures quality assurance for clients and customers through superior products and service. However those benefits can only be achieved if the production line is in its best condition, regularly serviced and repaired using the right parts.
Manufacturing in the Future – Smart Alloys
In as much as companies in the manufacturing sector have to be conscious of the choice of alloys they procure for their processes, due attention must also be paid to trends and innovations in the industry. With the right alloys required for everything from tooling, machinery, or for use in the production of goods, it is companies that adapt quickly that benefit the most. Watching and reacting to changes in the market may not only mean improvements in efficiency, – it can also help companies cut their costs.
A good example of this is Nitinol, a metal that is also known as a shape memory alloy that contains titanium and nickel. When this alloy is bent out of shape it is possible to return it to its original state by using heat or electrical current. Nitinol is part of a growing list of ‘smart alloys’ that will have a massive impact on the manufacturing industry in the future as well as the products we’ll be able to make. Not only will new opportunities arise through these smart alloys, but also smarter and more efficient ways of production will become possible and it is the companies that adapt well that stand to gain the biggest market share.
In conclusion, it’s clear to see that any company involved in the manufacturing industry and uses alloys in its processes has crucial points to cover in order to achieve production, efficiency, and quality targets. As such the process begins with finding the best supplier of the right alloys you require as well as ensuring they meet your quality benchmarks for your manufacturing, production and end result while also watching future trends closely for any opportunities or negative effects.