Buyers of steel products in Uganda and the wider East African Community market should expect stronger steel products following the acquisition of a new machine by the Uganda National Bureau of standards (UNBS), which they say is more precise in testing metal strength.
This comes after the UNBS acquired a top of the range machine that is used for testing chemical composition of steel products.
UNBS Executive Director says that with the Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES), they are best placed to tell fake steel products from genuine ones.
“The machine is able to determine the amount of chemical elements as well as trace metals in steel and aluminium products,” UNBS said in a statement.
“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,” said UNBS Executive Director Dr. Ben Manyindo.
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 standards body says the new OES cost them UGX235 million and supplements the Universal Testing Machine (UTM) which they have been using to test the strength of the steel products.
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.
“This machine will therefore enable us to detect such discrepancies early enough to institute the necessary corrective measures,” Dr. Manyindo added. “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”.