Sheet Metal Identification Ideas - Best Practices for Identifying Raw Material

N

Neil V.

#1
Any ideas on best practices for identifying raw material, specifically sheet metals of various gauges and chemical compositions?

Currently we employ a tagging system to all materials, including sheets. It's a little lax at the moment. Identification consists of using tags, magic marker, vendor tags, general rack or skid labels, or the popular- 'just knowing it's 5051 aluminum if it's not tagged and it's leaning against this wall'.

This is in response to a corrective action we have open for material coming up missing for one job and potentially using incorrect material on another. Since it is not definitive what happened with the missing material, I'm not sure exactly what root cause is. I'm leaning towards lack of material identification since we are non-compliant at the moment or failure by operator to verify material prior to running.

Thanks!
 

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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: Sheet Metal Identification Ideas

This may seem like a copout, but when I worked with sheetmetal it came from the vendor with stenciled markings identifying it as 5052 aluminum, etc. Is that no longer the case? Or do these markings get cut off?

There will be some discipline involved, either with direct marking, tagging or placing in organized racks. I suspect that will be harder to do than come up with a marking plan.
 

Caster

An Early Cover
Trusted Information Resource
#3
Re: Sheet Metal Identification Ideas

Can you color code it?

Foundry ingot all looks the same but there are industry color codes, so we just spray down the bundles as they are offloaded from the truck. That way when the bundle gets separated every ingot has a splash of color.

Perhaps you coat you product after forming and the over spray would be a problem.

Could you order different sizes of material, so the small sheets for example are always on type of material, and the bis ones are another.

Search for poka yokes and look for identification ideas, someone may have solved this already.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
Re: Sheet Metal Identification Ideas

Any ideas on best practices for identifying raw material, specifically sheet metals of various gauges and chemical compositions?

Currently we employ a tagging system to all materials, including sheets. It's a little lax at the moment. Identification consists of using tags, magic marker, vendor tags, general rack or skid labels, or the popular- 'just knowing it's 5051 aluminum if it's not tagged and it's leaning against this wall'.

This is in response to a corrective action we have open for material coming up missing for one job and potentially using incorrect material on another. Since it is not definitive what happened with the missing material, I'm not sure exactly what root cause is. I'm leaning towards lack of material identification since we are non-compliant at the moment or failure by operator to verify material prior to running.

Thanks!
It generally boils down to five elements:

  • Tagging
  • Segregation (having specific, well-marked places for each type of material)
  • Limited access (controlling who can store material and issue/move it to production)
  • Periodic audits or cycle counts
  • Verification by operators before using the material
As Jennifer suggests, there's an element of discipline involved--making everyone aware of the requirements and the consequences of using the wrong material.
 
N

Neil V.

#5
Re: Sheet Metal Identification Ideas

...when I worked with sheetmetal it came from the vendor with stenciled markings identifying it as 5052 aluminum, etc. Is that no longer the case? Or do these markings get cut off?
Some do some don't.

Some good thoughts. I especially like the color coding idea. Unfortunately my attention has been diverted for the time being so i'm unable to get into this any further at the moment.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#6
Here's the thing about color coding, either someone won't know what color means what or somebody will be color blind.

Segregation of metals won't keep metals segregated

Non-corrosive, removable ink stamping across the sheets at intervals is the only positive way. I come from aerospace and aerospace quality (I'm a trained tin-bender among other things) ...
 
V

venkateshm

#7
Our customer is asking 100% spectro/100% or 100% eddy current to avoid mixing of different grades while forging. This will be very expensive and cost incurred. What are other actions to implement best practices to avoid mixing?
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#8
Our customer is asking 100% spectro/100% or 100% eddy current to avoid mixing of different grades while forging. This will be very expensive and cost incurred. What are other actions to implement best practices to avoid mixing?
Welcome to the Cove!

I agree with Randy that physical marking is best. Discipline is required in order to ensure the markings get transferred when they get cut off. Segregation may help, especially when the similar looking materials can be effectively separated - that is, put adequate space between 340 stainless steel, nickel copper and D2 tool steel.
 
A

Alpine

#9
:bigwave: We use similar material, our metal supplier stencils the raw material code onto the pallet, as we have found that tickets attached get lost and colour coding isn't helpful once the pallet is in use. Dedicated areas in a warehouse are fine in principle but don't always work as there will be instances where you won't have space where you need it.
 
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