KAMPALA – Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) has on September 23 acquired the Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES), a machine used to test chemical composition of steel and aluminium metal products.
According to the UNBS Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo, the machine is able to determine the amount of chemical elements as well as trace metals in steel and aluminium products.
“The machine acquisition is a great step in the fight against poor quality steel products on the market. It will further enhance our capacity to test comprehensively all parameters as prescribed in the standard to ensure good quality products on the market,” he said.
Chemical composition of steel is a key factor in determining the product’s performance in terms of strength, hardness and ultimately quality of the final product.
The new OES, which cost UNBS Shs235 million, supplements the Universal Testing Machine (UTM) which UNBS has been using to test the strength of the steel products.
In addition, it completes a set of equipment needed for testing both physical and chemical parameters of steel products.
“It was necessary to acquire the OES machine since our investigations have revealed that most of the substandard iron bars on the market also have wrong chemical composition. Some manufacturers mark steel iron bars with grades of 500 but after testing, some are found to have grades as low as 300 contrary to what is required by the standard,” Dr. Manyindo said.
Adding that, “This machine will, therefore, enable us to detect such discrepancies early enough to institute the necessary corrective measures.”
Dr. Manyindo said that with the acquisition of the spectrometer, even the turnaround time for testing steel products will greatly improve thereby facilitation trade and development of the steel sector.