Positive material identification (PMI) is used to analyse and identify material grade and alloy composition for quality and safety control.

A rapid, non-destructive method, positive material identification is performed on a wide range of components and assets, and provides a semi-quantitative chemical analysis. It is used for both material verification and identification.
The method is utilised for quality control and safety compliance, and is an integral part of both production and asset integrity management across many industries including oil and gas, power, chemical, pharmaceutical, nuclear, aerospace and fabrication.
Positive material identification can prevent potential product failure in manufacturing. At oil and gas, power generation and pharmaceutical plants, pre-service and in-service inspection of critical components and welds with PMI can prevent breakdown and its costly consequences.   
PMI can:

  • Ensure products/components have been manufactured using the correct alloy
  • Find potentially mixed-up alloys
  • Identify if the wrong material has been used
  • Ensure material conforms to the correct standard and specification (both customer and industry)
  • Ensure welded components have used the correct filler material

Positive material identification is performed using either of the two techniques below:

  • X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyser: This is the most common method and the portability of the hand-held equipment allows Intertek to perform PMI on-site at our customers’ premises. The device scans the metal material and identifies its key elements. However, it cannot detect carbon and some lighter elements and is not suitable for identification of pure carbon steel materials.
  • Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES): This method can detect almost all types of elements including carbon and lighter elements and carbon steel. Although not as portable as XRF analysers, the equipment can be transported to sites and used at high elevations with proper lifting arrangements.
    • This method is not available at our lab in Derby, England.

Intertek’s highly experienced PMI inspectors can provide on-the-spot results followed by the certification of results in a written report.  We also interpret and advise on the results.
In addition, our responsive turnaround times ensure that we meet your production or inspection schedules and if further analysis is required, Intertek can provide the fully quantitative laboratory techniques to corroborate findings.
By coming to us for your positive material identification, you can be assured of a rapid, reliable service with accurate results that will provide Total Quality Assurance that your products or assets meet the required quality and safety standards in today’s markets and industries.

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