Trade-In Values of Older XRF Analyzers: Four Factors

The analogies of owning an XRF analyzer and a car are endless…one similarity is when it’s time to replace an older model. That older model may still have some value that can be seen in a “trade-in” which will reduce your out of pocket towards a newer model. But what makes one x-ray fluorescence analyzer see a larger trade-in value than another?

Eastern Applied is one XRF sales company that provides a trade-in credit for most systems, regardless of age.  Plus, credit can be applied to both new and used x-ray fluorescence analyzers (as opposed to just new systems).  However, there are some aspects of older analyzers, and how they are cared for, that will get your organization a higher trade-in value than others.

4 Factors to Determine XRF Trade-In Values:

Working or Not? _ an obvious starting point…if your system is not working, or aspects of it aren’t working (ie experiencing stability issues or inaccurate readings), then expect to see a minimum trade-in value offered.  So, rather than wait for the next big repair or problem to occur, it’s suggested to look into your options sooner than later in order to maximize the value – and minimize your out of pocket for a replacement system.

Internal Condition _ we say all the time that XRF analyzers need to be kept in good working environments to maintain their performance – this also helps to maintain their value.  Poor environments can lead to dirt, dust, and rust that compromises components, performance…and the value of the analyzer.

Age of Components _ more important than the systems age is the age of the major components.  If you had an x-ray tube replaced a year ago then that will generate a higher trade-in value than if the unit has the original tube…so have records available.

Computer/Software _ if you have an issue with the analyzers interface, then you will likely see an automatic decrease in value as some of these issues will limit the ability to confirm other aspects of the system and may hinder an analyzers operation.  This is especially true for units with built-in interfaces.

So, keeping your current XRF Analyzer maintained properly will let you get the most out of it while it’s in use – and when it’s time to upgrade.  Contact Eastern Applied with any questions or to discuss the potential trade-in value of your current analyzer.

XStrata XRF Analyzers Trade-In

Old Oxford XStrata Analyzers Traded-In for New Hitachi XRF’s

Proper Disposal of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometers

Any number of reasons can result in having an un-used XRF analyzer that ends up collecting dust or acting like a large paperweight – you may find yourself with an XRF that requires expensive repairs and you simply replaced the analyzer, don’t have the testing requirements to have a system moving forward, or already have multiple systems and want to take one out of operation.

If your facility has an XRF that has been shelved, for any reason, then it may make more sense to properly dispose of the analyzer.

Did you realize that even non-working, or decommissioned, x-ray fluorescence analyzers should still be registered with the state?  This is one reason to dispose of a shelved XRF…because state regulations of XRF analyzers typically require annual fees (in addition to paperwork) if a system is on-site – working or not.  So…that ‘out of service’ XRF may be costing your organization money.

In addition to state requirements relating to x-ray tubes of any age, many older tubes will be wrapped in lead, contain oils that need proper disposal, and have Beryllium based windows.  These last points (Beryllium, oil, etc) relate to another reason XRF analyzers should be properly disposed of.  Detector tubes and circuit boards in all xray fluorescence analyzers will contain hazardous materials.

We have noticed that owners of older portable XRF‘s tend to keep them around after they aren’t in use because they don’t take up as much room as a desktop or free standing x-ray unit.  However, the regulations and hazards are the same with portable or desktop analyzers – portable XRF’s have the added concern of theft too…and your company name is linked to the analyzer and its components.

XRay Fluorescence is Out of Service

Time to Dispose of an Out of Service XRF

Proper disposal of an ED-XRF spectrometer can be a very simple process.  Organizations like Eastern Applied Research can remove the analyzer and provide appropriate documentation to meet your reporting requirements.

If you find yourself in a position where you have an un-used XRF, then contact Eastern Applied to discuss your situation (will you be using it in the future, etc) and options to properly store or dispose of the XRF.

One important note: Eastern Applied Research works with x-ray tube based fluorescence analyzers, not isotope based.  We will, however, try and help direct you to organizations that will help in disposal of isotope based analyzers.

XRF Measurements of Small, Curved Surfaces

One of the options that buyers of x-ray fluorescence need to consider relates to the measurement area that they have to work with – the option in question is the collimator package of an XRF analyzer.  Collimators focus the x-ray beam onto the measurement area, so the size of that area will affect what collimators should be included in an analyzer. Most XRF analyzers come with a single collimator or package of two, then offer a few optional collimators you may need to add.  So, be sure to discuss the smallest possible sample area you may need to measure when discussing your xray fluorescence options.

The typical rule of thumb is that the x-ray beam will spread to about 1.75x what the collimator is.  So, a 6mil collimator can be used for an area of about 11mil (Note: we try to work on 2x to be safe).  In coating thickness measurements, the area will often be flat and large (ie nuts, bolts) so most standard collimators will work.  However, if your sample is smaller than normal, or curved, then you need to review the collimator options closely.

Specifically looking at curved samples, the XRF operator needs to be aware of ‘edge effect’ that can result in poor readings.  Measurements of curved surfaces will be fine when a collimator directs the x-ray onto the center of a curved sample.  However, if the collimator is too large then ‘edge effect’ will result in thicker readings because the sides are averaged into the reported thickness of the coating (see Fig1).

XRF Measuring Curved Sample

Fig 1: edge effect on curved samples

Depending on their size, measurements of cables and wires may actually require a rectangular collimator.  The operator would want to line the sample up so that the longer part of the collimator runs along the length of the wire (see Fig 2).

Wire Sample Measured by XRF

Fig 2 wire sample

The direction of the wire placement in the chamber is also important to note. Placement will depend on the location of an XRF analyzers detector tube.  If the detector is located in front or rear of the collimator then you will want to place the sample in length wise front to back.  If the detector is left or right of the collimator place the wire in side to side. The reason for this is because if you were to have a  small misalignment with the top of the wire you could fluoresce more, or less, of the signal toward or away from the detector. Proper sample placement will limit this effect.

Some systems, like the Hitachi FT110A, have a “locate center” function that uses micro steps of the XY table to scan the thin wire sample for the center point. This can remove the error potentially caused by an operator.

Of course, some measurement areas are so small that only a Micro-XRF analyzer can be considered.  The Hitachi FT150 utilizes poly-capillary optics to provide one of the smallest measurement areas on the market (17um FWHM) and can be critical in accurately measuring samples like small solder bumps, BGA’s, etc.

Discuss your sample sizes with specialists at Eastern Applied Research in order to confirm what collimators should be included on your next XRF analyzer.  We can always run samples to confirm the right collimators are used to meet your testing goals.

XRF In Use: Case Study of Real World Process Control

An industry leading food and beverage company with multiple production facilities and a global client base through various distribution channels (including restaurants, grocery stores, etc).

The client has various in-process technologies to discover any foreign materials that may appear, including on-line metal detectors.  After discovery of metal contaminants, the client needs to have the materials identified so that they can confirm where the materials entered the production chain and resolve any issues.  Before working with Eastern Applied, the client was using a third party contractor to identify any metal contaminants that were found.  This was a slow, outsourced, resolution that inhibited them from identifying the source of contamination and extended production line shut-downs.

By investing in x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometers for their in-house process control laboratories, the client is able to perform immediate analysis of found metal materials.  The real-time results of XRF spectrometers allows the client to quickly determine the source/location of possible contamination by cross referencing results with a database of metal grades found through their production line.

The client chose to add Handheld XRF analyzers, the Hitachi XMet8000 analyzer, to multiple plants throughout the United States.  This gives them the ability to use the bench-top stand in the laboratory setting for identifying found materials.  However, the handheld model also provides the portability to review various points throughout their production lines in order to create/confirm their database of metal grades as well as the ability to test at their suppliers sites if needed.

Client was able to eliminate costs and delays in shipping material out for third party testing while gaining the ability to quickly identify the source of the problem and take almost immediate action to resolve the issue.  These short term benefits will result in a long-term ROI on the Handheld XRF analyzers purchased for multiple facilities.

Contact Eastern Applied if you have a story on the benefits x-ray fluorescence offered your organization – or, if you think XRF can help improve your processes.

Handheld XRF in Testing Stand

XMet8000 in Testing Stand      

Handheld XRF by Hitachi

Hitachi XMet8000









Three Benefits of Hitachi’s Acquisition of Oxford’s IA Division

You may have already heard that Hitachi High-Tech Corp acquired the Industrial Analysis division of Oxford Instruments at the end of 2017.  The new division, Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science America, Inc (Hitachi), will provide both bench-top and handheld x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers plus optical emission spectroscopy (OES) and handheld laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS).

Hitachi High-Tech XRFThe combination of Hitachi and Oxford resources, talent, and technology provides a number of benefits to users of Hitachi XRF moving forward.  With the announcement that Eastern Applied will continue as a distributor of Hitachi x-ray fluorescence, we put together a quick list of the top benefits this new Hitachi will provide to XRF users:

Only The Strongest XRF Analyzers Survive: the two lines of x-ray fluorescence had obvious overlap in some application areas and the Hitachi team has selected the best options from those overlapping analyzers.  Looking at options for coating thickness measurements, while a majority of the Oxford XRF analyzers have been discontinued the hugely popular XStrata-920 will still be offered along with the Hitachi XRF’s (FT110A, FT150).  Bulk analyzers from Oxford, the LabX-5000 (replaced the LabX3500) and XSupreme8000 will be offered alongside the Hitachi elemental analyzers (EA-Series), eventually replacing one or two models.

This benefit means organizations considering Hitachi x-ray fluorescence options are looking at the best analyzers from two high performing lines.

Restructured Pricing: any analytical system with the Hitachi name provides top quality and performance, which easily justifies a slightly higher price point.  However, a number of factors have allowed for even more competitive pricing on a number of the x-ray fluorescence analyzers.  Excellent pricing is available on configurations of the primary analyzer for coating thickness measurements, the Hitachi FT110A, and on a true leader in its product class, the EA6000VX (which provides thin coating measurements, RoHS testing, elemental analysis, and more).

Resources and Support: this benefit covers a few areas…First, the combination of support teams will result in an even greater knowledge base in the development of future systems but also in providing you with important information as you consider your XRF options (access to sample testing, application briefs, etc).  Second, only the best of both component resources will be used – positively affecting costs and performance.  Lastly, North American support is strengthened on both coasts because of the Hitachi facility in California and the former Oxford facility in Massachusetts – these facilities will act as a strong back-up to the support that Eastern Applied Research can provide to users of the Hitachi XRF line.

Eastern Applied is excited to be part of the Hitachi XRF Distribution team and the above reasons are just a few that potential users of Hitachi XRF should be excited as well.

Contact Eastern Applied to discuss any questions or interests.