Foreign objects found by the final end-user in food, beverages or non-food products are a serious issue. Fragments include glass, metal, plastic, or other non-organic or organic solid objects. The stage at which the fragment has been introduced may not be easy to determine. A foreign object incident can undermine a company's image and reputation and needs to be addressed quickly. Some foreign objects must not be destroyed during testing. Other foreign objects are extremely small, leading one to wonder whether they can be analysed at all.
In the power generation industry, deposits on turbine blades and boilers can impair operation and increase maintenance costs. The chemical composition of the layers of deposits may need to be identified to assist with determining the possible root cause.
During failure analysis on large plant or equipment, small pieces of material found during the investigation may need to be identified, again to assist with determining the failure mechanism or origin.