The X-550 PMI gun made by SciAps uses X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) to verify the chemicals and alloys present. XRF reads heavy elements precisely and quickly identifies grades of steel.

August 16, 2023

Positive Materials Identification Prevents Costly Project Delays, Rework

By identifying substandard materials early, Haskell Quality Control helps project teams stay on schedule as the scope of jobs and the size of clients grow.


Changes in the type and scope of process piping work have brought about adaptations in Haskell's Quality Control (QC) measures on new and existing materials to ensure the timeliest and most cost-effective delivery.

On a recent project, tubing was submitted within specification according to the Material Test Reports (MTRs) Haskell received. However, once on site, tradespeople identified problems with weldability during the orbital weld process causing a high failure rate, an extremely rare occurrence.

With assistance from a metallurgy lab, our quality-control investigation revealed that the material was out of spec and not the appropriate grade. The result was a three-month delay with severe cost implications because the tubing had to be demolished and removed from the site, and new tubing procured, shipped and reinstalled.

The hard lesson learned from this experience was when using internationally sourced tubing, Haskell needs to perform a Positive Material Identification (PMI) test to ensure the material is within specification, regardless of submitted MTRs. PMI is a nondestructive testing method used to analyze any alloy to establish its chemical composition and verify that it is within the prescribed specifications for the intended application.

One of the most common causes of industrial accidents and product recalls is mechanical or chemical integrity failure. As Haskell has grown and entered new markets, sourcing is sometimes done internationally, and the need for PMI has risen.

Accordingly, Haskell obtained PMI devices to perform this testing in the field within minutes as part of our material verification process. These PMI test guns use either X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to verify the chemicals and alloys present. The LIBS gun (Z-902 by SciAps) is utilized to determine low carbon content Alloys where the L designation is critical in material grade.

Best practices within Haskell on any hygienic tubing project, particularly those in dairy, food, and beverage plants now requires the use of PMI. Reviewing the MTRs and comparing them with PMI results ensures that the material meets standards and specifications.

Similarly, Haskell has instituted an early-inspection regimen for existing hygienic tubing expansions, which have become increasingly prevalent. Evaluating existing piping and tubing conditions while still in the conceptual stage allows us to make early recommendations to clients to ensure the proper function of the newly expanded system.

As is often the case with the collaborative nature of Haskell’s integrated delivery model, early involvement of the Quality Team prevents delays and costly rework.

About the Author: Rodger Lawrence is a Haskell Quality Control Manager with more than 13 years of industry experience in various markets, including aviation, aerospace, commercial, water, industrial and food processing. As Quality Manager, he is responsible for the various phases of the project, including project quality planning, design phase, project quality assurance, quality metrics and continuous improvement. 

The Haskell Quality Control team’s continuous involvement in every ongoing project helps ensure the best possible outcomes, within budget and on schedule. Contact us to discuss your facilities needs.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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