We are fascinated watching masters of Japanese swordsmithing, as they create knives and swords of outstanding performance using traditional techniques and materials. Basically they follow an almost thousand-year-old recipe. They repeatedly heat, fold and hammer the steel blade, reducing the amount of impurities and enhancing both the hardness and the ductility, leading to extraordinary toughness. Japanese swordsmiths simply forge the best blades in the world.
What is typically not known is that each blade consists of three types of steel: a low carbon steel for the core of the blade, and a high carbon steel and a special cast iron used for the outer skin. In former times, only three or four times per year, these special steels were made in old furnaces called tatara, and only a small fraction was suitable for the blade forging. During these times, these steels were exclusively sold to the master swordsmiths. In close partnership, both the steelmakers and the swordsmiths, found the way to perfection. Since the swordmaker could trust the material, he could concentrate on forging the perfect blade out of the steel bloom. And steelmakers could know exactly the properties and composition of the steels requested by the masters.
As is true for almost every craftsman, when they can trust their suppliers and have confidence in the material, they can concentrate on delivering outstanding performance and the best design. Bruker has learned this lesson and has created the analytical tools to understand material composition and characteristics, allowing close monitoring along the production from the raw material over intermediates to the final product.
With our X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometers, we can precisely analyze the material composition of any metal. Using our Optical Emission Spectrometers (OES), we can analyze even the lowest traces and impurities in the metal, while our combustion/fusion analyzers (CS/ONH) deliver carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen concentrations. Of course, not only elemental information is critical. With our X-Ray Diffractometers (XRD), strength and texture in metal parts, such as pistons and bearings, are determined.
We can proudly say: our analytical tools for industrial quality control are based on the long history of perfect craftsmanship and are the basis for the trust and confidence that designers and makers require to deliver the very best products with outstanding performance.