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Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

We order material from various suppliers and we track the MTRs by the supplier's heat code. Occasionally, we'll get two different materials from two different suppliers, but each supplier has labeled their material with the same heat code (ie. material from supplier A with heat code XYZ and material from supplier B with heat code XYZ, but these are different materials). The heat codes are unique to each supplier but we run into traceability problems on our end where one heat code could refer to two different heats of material. The obvious solutions that I see are us assigning our own heat codes to the parts (which would require us to mark the new heat code on the parts and documentation, which we'd rather not do) or us forcing our suppliers to use heat codes that will avoid possible duplication (which will likely require a longer, more complicated heat code based on a system that we impose and which some suppliers may be unwilling to do). Can anyone suggest a better way to ensure that we have unique heat codes or to deal with duplicate heat codes?

RE: Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

Append the supplier name to the heat code.

RE: Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

The important thing is to link the heat code to the specific material - not the supplier.
As an example: A106 Gr B 6"Sch 80 pipe with heat number XYZ could be supplied by five different suppliers.

On re-reading your post, by "supplier" are you actually meaning manufacturer ?

I have reviewed numerous MDR's for O & G and the usual way to track MTR's is by applying a unique number to the top right hand corner of the MTR (this can just be handwritten) and then this unique number is then noted on a spreadsheet which lists as a minimum - unique number, item description, manufacturer, heat or batch number.
There is no need to have this unique number added to the parts - they already have XYZ noted on them.
You just need the unique number for your records so you can differentiate between two different items with XYZ as the heat code.
Hope that makes sense,

RE: Ensuring Unique Heat Codes

You could have your system for storing the heat codes check for duplicates when new heat codes were received. If a duplicate was noted, you could make sure that they could not ever be confused (Heat Code ABC from Larry's Machine was used for 6" widgets while Heat Code ABC from Frank's was used for 1/2" Inverted Gizmos). If the off-chance that the same Heat Code was used for the same product from two different suppliers, you could make sure you had exhausted your inventory of Larry's 6" widgets before receiving any of Frank's 6" widgets.

One solution that may hold some promise would be if you could get your receiving people append each heat code with the last digit of the year, so ABC would become ABC5. While this would not absolutely eliminate the possibility, it would reduce the chances of a duplicate considerably while also being able to date the material just by knowing the heat code. In ten years, you could change to have the year digit precede the heat code (5ABC for 2025) to give you 20 years of use.

I have run into situations with duplicate heat numbers from steel mills. Steel mills will generally use a 5 to 9 digit number, often unique to a specific furnace. Two incidents come to mine. In the first, these were two different companies, they just happened to use the same number of digits. It turned out that one applied to a tube and the other applied to a solid bar, so no confusion was possible. In the other case, the same mill had duplicated a number (the heats were something like 15 years apart). Even then, one number applied to 4.5" bar while the other was used on a 6.5" bar. Not much chance to confuse those, either. With intermediate processors applying their own three letter heat codes to materials (which is common), the chances of duplicating becomes more likely.

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