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Thread: Kobe Steel (Japan) in hot water re aluminum and copper quality

  1. #31
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    McGyver et al:

    In most cases, I suspect that detailed analyses are not done at outside labs. BUT, it is fairly easy to perform mechanical tests. There are several local companies that do that here, and larger companies may have their own labs (or used to before "outsourcing").

    The point of most of the paperwork and records is to assure in various ways that the piece of steel really DOES meet the tensile, etc specs that were stated. A secondary point is to track all the material that was processed at one time, so that if it is found NOT to meet spec, you know where the material went, and can track it down and make sure non-conforming material is not used, at least in critical applications.

    Mechanical tests directly determine the performance of a sample. Chemical etc tests "suggest" performance based on capability to be heat treated, etc, but do not assure that the material actually has the specified properties. So mechanical tests directly verify what you want to know, and are reasonably easy to do. They are a sensible verification for batches, but obviously in most cases the individual parts will not each have a test coupon.

    Boiler seams MAY have a test coupon evaluated, and x-ray images retained for each unit, as proof of conformance, and the same for other high confidence assemblies. Other parts will typically not, they will be made of documented materials, processed by qualified processes, while the processes and materials are verified periodically. That serves the same purpose, without onerous procedures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edwin Dirnbeck View Post
    The CEO SAYS NOTHING. He looks at the second in command and raises an eyebrow. That way he can say ,I didn't ok this. Edwin Dirnbeck
    It's more common for the CEO to say something, something such as "make sure your new VW diesel models pass all the emissions tests". Note carefully that there is NOTHING WRONG with that request. It is plausibly asking for complete compliance with the applicable regulations.

    What was DONE actually satisfied the request, too. They DID pass the tests. The problem was that they did not actually satisfy the INTENT of the regulations, they cheated, which the CEO may or may not have known would be the only way to satisfy the request.
    1601

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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattiJ View Post
    Is the concrete industry in Germany also on headlines?
    There has been quite lots of talks lately about concrete quality in here and the recent conclusion was that the additives are causing unexpected problems.

    They re-did at least one largish railway bridge because the concrete wasn't up to standards in the tests.
    I have not had any info regarding German concrete problems. But I have not been involved in any major pours here as I was in Texas.
    How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

  3. #33
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    Are the actual property failures published anywhere?

    On metal strip lines I have seen problems where the strip failing specs is downgraded and sold at a lower price.
    So the equipment vendor causing the problem gets his A$$ gnawed raw until it is fixed!

    Long ago I was a contractor maintaining automatic test equipment (ATE) for a cable manufacturer.
    The reason I started was that cables were failing the Polarization test early in the day shifts.
    That was in the days when the tests were recorded on a pen recorder.

    The ladies in the test cell solved it by holding their fingers on the chart paper randomly below the failure level!

    We quickly found the obvious cause, the testing was done at end of production line and the air was full of copper dust.
    The bushings/reed switches on the ATE measuring boards were contaminated and damp early in the morning.

  4. #34
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    The idea of testing all your material is not how it works in manufacturing generally today.

    This was / is the whole idea around dealing with ISO certified companies. A company has a third party come in and verify that a quality system is in place. Part of ISO audits are ensuring that appropriate standards are being followed and are up to date. So for example, if you order from an ISO certified company some ASTM steel, the burden of proof is upon the supplier to show appropriate records are in place to meet the customer's request. As a customer you take the supplying company at its word. Really this is the whole point of buying material to some form of global specification.

    Outright fraud, which this case appears to be, obviously is difficult to catch even with a proper quality system.

    Of course there are exceptions to the rule. I know some large automotive companies develop their own material standards for specific processes and have a on site lab to verify incoming shipments. But from my general observation of industry the trend is moving away, or already has moved away, from companies having their own labs on site. Most companies that I'm familiar with do on site quality audits of their suppliers. These are mainly record tracing exercises.

  5. #35
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    As several have correctly pointed out steel from ISO companies gets checked, we called them round robins, God knows why, I have checked steel from Kobe amongst others, I have the sneaking suspicion that the "fiddling" started after the Kobe earthquake, thier steelplant was toast, the mill was out of line the place was carnage according to one of the guys from there, corus as was had a reciprocal technology agreement with all the Japanese steel makers though I suspect the traffic was biased in thier favour, steel cleanliness was the big issue, clean steel is a difficult thing unless you operate big ladles, ours and theirs were comparable at 350t liquid metal in the steelmaking ladles, you have to give time and sometimes argon stir from semi pourous bubbling blocks (cans) fitted to the bottom of the ladle next to the gate.
    Thier stated cleanliness was very high, I'm sure the samples were well checked before sending them to us!, occasionally we would find some dirty patches but steel isn't the homogenous stuff people imagine, it varies in analysis, shape, guage and mechanical properties wherever you go, front of the coil is often different to the back, middle and edges that's why steel grades have a range not a specific value.
    No one sells steel on analysis, it's an impossibility, even lab standards made in a closed vacuum induction furnace care considerably.
    I'd guess the whole thing will amount to nothing, so difficult to prove, even if you recalled every bit of steel and re analysed the lot. It's fairly easy to calibrate the equiptment to a higher sample, or lower provided you calibrate to somthing, and record it, ISO is more concerned with the paperwork than the actual physical process, besides from memory they only archive 5 years as the required QA plan stated for them (from memory) you basically have to do what you say your going to and record what you say your going to, it up to you what that may be not an actual legal statute as far as I know.
    No doubt this **** will stick to the janitors brush, usually does, the bottom of the pile get canned.
    I know what it's like to be pressured into giving a test result, I swear sometimes that the production wanted me to keep testing till they got the result they wanted, 12 hours of that a day will drive you to drink (well it did me, I gave it up 10 years ago)
    Reading the OP prompted me to look at my old diaries, shift after shift S high 018 for 015 max recheck, C high 0.0033 for 0032, yes 0.0001 high!, it wouldent matter to the mechanical properties but there we go.
    The last page before I left steelmaking to go to technical (I was becoming obstructive) I had made, wait for it 5 million metric tons of steel!, I got a little steel slab with it engraved on in gold, for a laugh I sparked it and it was way out of spec, bloody cheated or irony take your pick,
    Mark
    Ps a standard heat of 340 tons has 3 ladle samples at 60 g each and 3 tun dish samples when casting, same weight, that's 360 gms to represent 340 tons, plus slabs are continuous cast so one ladle mixes with the next so there's mixed chemistry between ladles.
    Last edited by boslab; 10-12-2017 at 03:10 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by boslab View Post
    I know what it's like to be pressured into giving a test result, I swear sometimes that the production wanted me to keep testing till they got the result they wanted, 12 hours of that a day will drive you to drink
    Guys in the local steelmill sent every potential looking scrap piece of steel for analysis to see if its good for making knives. Took for a while in the lab to fiqure it out and after that they started writing "good/not good for knives" on the test reports

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by boslab View Post
    As several have correctly pointed out steel from ISO companies gets checked, we called them round robins, God knows why, I have checked steel from Kobe amongst others, I have the sneaking suspicion that the "fiddling" started after the Kobe earthquake, thier steelplant was toast, the mill was out of line the place was carnage according to one of the guys from there, corus as was had a reciprocal technology agreement with all the Japanese steel makers though I suspect the traffic was biased in thier favour, steel cleanliness was the big issue, clean steel is a difficult thing unless you operate big ladles, ours and theirs were comparable at 350t liquid metal in the steelmaking ladles, you have to give time and sometimes argon stir from semi pourous bubbling blocks (cans) fitted to the bottom of the ladle next to the gate.
    Thier stated cleanliness was very high, I'm sure the samples were well checked before sending them to us!, occasionally we would find some dirty patches but steel isn't the homogenous stuff people imagine, it varies in analysis, shape, guage and mechanical properties wherever you go, front of the coil is often different to the back, middle and edges that's why steel grades have a range not a specific value.
    No one sells steel on analysis, it's an impossibility, even lab standards made in a closed vacuum induction furnace care considerably.
    I'd guess the whole thing will amount to nothing, so difficult to prove, even if you recalled every bit of steel and re analysed the lot. It's fairly easy to calibrate the equiptment to a higher sample, or lower provided you calibrate to somthing, and record it, ISO is more concerned with the paperwork than the actual physical process, besides from memory they only archive 5 years as the required QA plan stated for them (from memory) you basically have to do what you say your going to and record what you say your going to, it up to you what that may be not an actual legal statute as far as I know.
    No doubt this **** will stick to the janitors brush, usually does, the bottom of the pile get canned.
    I know what it's like to be pressured into giving a test result, I swear sometimes that the production wanted me to keep testing till they got the result they wanted, 12 hours of that a day will drive you to drink (well it did me, I gave it up 10 years ago)
    Reading the OP prompted me to look at my old diaries, shift after shift S high 018 for 015 max recheck, C high 0.0033 for 0032, yes 0.0001 high!, it wouldent matter to the mechanical properties but there we go.
    The last page before I left steelmaking to go to technical (I was becoming obstructive) I had made, wait for it 5 million metric tons of steel!, I got a little steel slab with it engraved on in gold, for a laugh I sparked it and it was way out of spec, bloody cheated or irony take your pick,
    Mark
    Ps a standard heat of 340 tons has 3 ladle samples at 60 g each and 3 tun dish samples when casting, same weight, that's 360 gms to represent 340 tons, plus slabs are continuous cast so one ladle mixes with the next so there's mixed chemistry between ladles.
    Supposedly, they just altered the certificates for some/all? copper and aluminum. No mention of steel that I've seen.

  8. #38
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    "A scandal about falsified quality data at Kobe Steel expanded on Friday, as the Japanese steel maker said nine subsidiaries, including several outside Japan, had either failed to carry out required product checks or lied about the results."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/b...l-scandal.html

  9. #39
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    I had a 15 year career as a technician and then electronics design engineer at a company (EIL Instruments) that manufactured, sold, and serviced test equipment. One day when I was home, a car parked at the side of the road and a serious looking man got out and asked if I was Paul Schoen, and employee of EIL. He said he was from the FBI and he showed me some time sheets in a box marked "evidence", that had many hours of time charged to the calibration and repair of a lot of government-owned test equipment. He showed my "signature" on the documents, but it looked nothing like my actual signature, and I did not even work in that department. It turned out that someone high in the company determined to charge the absolute maximum allowed for each piece of equipment even though the actual time might be only an hour or so. There were not enough actual employees in the department to account for the man-hours charged, so they had someone (probably a not-too-bright secretary) make up extra time sheets and sign them as other employees. The company was found guilty of fraud and they paid a hefty fine. AFAIK there were no criminal charges or jail time involved for any of the employees involved. I don't know who was responsible, but this was a fairly small company with 50-100 employees or so, owned by a retired Naval Captain.

    I know someone else who had also worked there, and then started his own calibration business. He said one time he lost a bid for calibration of a large lot of meters, to someone else who also had worked there. Later it was found that the low bidder had just skimmed through the instruments and slapped on calibration stickers, even on some that were not even operational. I don't know all the details, but I think my friend got the contract, and the other guy's business was seriously and adversely affected.

  10. #40
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    Falsified quality reports are not new, I've been asked to lie many many times on reports. As an operator, as a packer, as a technician and lately where I sit.

    When all you care about is the meeting of a short-term numerical goal (produce X units/volume/feet/cases per hour) and you aren't given the tools, resources and people to do it, these things happen.

    9/10 of these events happen at facilities with high turnover/disposable workforces. Most of these companies have huge posters espousing the "Culture" and "Ideals" with mission statements and quality statements and all kinds of prose everywhere.

    Get out on the production floor, find a bad unit on the line you get written up for documenting it. It goes unreported because no one wants to be kicked for documenting it. It goes out the door and suddenly you have a product recall, irate customers and your line is closed down ANYWAY.

    Manufacturing for other people as an employee is a joke and a recipe for poverty and stress. Never again, I call the shots now. And I deal with shoddy material and suspect spec-sheets every day.

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