Archive for February, 2013

Three Common, but Unkown, Needs of XRF for Coating Thickness

In a previous blog post, we covered the three main concerns professionals have when considering the right XRF analyzer to meet their coating thickness measurement needs.  Those concerns typically relate to the general ability to measure a specific coating application (Au/Ni, Au/Ni/Cu, Cr/Ni/Cu, Zn/Ni are fairly common), the accuracy and repeatability a user can expect, and if an analyzer fits within their budget.

Those points are a good start in narrowing down the x-ray fluorescence options to consider, but your associates will soon realize that more factors are involved.  After a discussion about the business and part(s) that will be tested, we typically find that one or more of the most common (but unknown) features of an XRF analyzer are needed.  Those features include:
–  Z-Axis Movement
–  X-Y Table Programmability
–  Slotted Chamber

Z-Axis Movement
Many of our clients are involved in the aerospace or automotive industries.  They will often have samples that exceed the interior space that most XRF analyzers will offer.  However, large parts can fit in the Hitachi FT-110A because of the Z-axis movement of almost 6” (internal chamber height can be even deeper when the stage is removed).  This doesn’t just benefit measurements of large parts…one aerospace client required Z-axis movement so that they could get 3” into their sample part and measure a specific point – that is the distance variation that comes with Hitachi’s auto focus feature (youtube linked).

Programmable X-Y Stage
This is an outstanding benefit that can save users a lot of time and money!  As an example, let’s say a customer has a number of plated nuts and bolts that require confirmation of plating thickness.

Without a programmable X-Y stage, the customer would have to place an individual nut or bolt onto the stage, manually align, focus, and measure each part. This process can be quite time consuming, especially when the customer is forced to reposition and focus each subsequent part for every measurement that they need to perform.  However, when the same user has an XRF with a programmable X-Y stage, these parts can have assigned placements on the stage with a program set up to automatically measure them. They simply place bolt ‘X’ on bolt X’s spot, nut ‘Y’ on its spot, and start the pre-defined measurement program.

What would have taken 1-3 minutes per part now takes 1-3 minutes per batch…as an example of the time savings, if you do this with 10 parts, you could be saving almost 30 minutes on each batch.  That adds up in operator time, productivity, and pay over the course of a day, week, year…

Slotted Chamber
The slotted chamber design creates a space that makes all the difference to some clients.  While a slotted chamber is most commonly used in printed circuit board quality control, we currently have a customer that needs to measure a plated chrome tube that is 25” long.  The part will not fit inside a chamber without the slotted design and can not be destroyed for testing.  The slotted chamber lets them slide the part through the analyzer to complete their measurement.  This design also allows for a long part to be moved throughout the chamber so that a user can measure that sample at any point along its 25”.

Can you see these features benefiting your measurement process?  Do you have an XRF without them?
Contact an Eastern Applied associate to discuss the options available.