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Inland Steel Industries operates three X-ray units in two separate locations which provide routine analysis for blast furnace iron, blast furnace slag, sinter, iron pellets, and other raw materials on a 24 h basis. The original quality system's primary objective was to determine when the X-ray instruments needed to be recalibrated by the use of control samples. The original system generated enormous volumes of control data which were unmanageable without a computer data base. A system was developed using a TSO based cathode ray tube (CRT) terminal and a SAS data base. SAS/FSP (full screen product) screens are used to collect the data, and programs have been written to generate various statistics and plots. The new system has been in operation for approximately two years. It is used to generate daily reports on performance data and is used as a base for several internal check systems for the X-ray units. Because the data are readily available, it has been also used to solve various production problems. The data also can be presented in a statistical process control (SPC) format and have lead to the use of SPC control charts on the instrumentation and on the production samples.
The system completes its primary objective of X-ray control and provides many other benefits. These will be described in detail from data collection to finished reports and graphic plots. Future modification to the system will be also discussed.
quality control, X-ray analysis, computerization, data bases
Senior chemist, Inland Steel Industries, East Chicago, IN