Archive for June, 2014

LabX-3500: Rapid, Simple, and Transportable Sulfur Analysis

One of the great benefits of the LabX-3500 x-ray fluorescence spectrometer from Oxford Instruments is its solid design – it has been said that you could drop it off a table and not affect its performance.  Due to its durability and compact size, the LabX-3500 series of XRF has been successfully used by a variety of testing organizations to perform “on the spot” oil analysis (oil companies, customs and excise, testing houses, etc).

Since there is no requirement for external gases such as Helium and the LabX-3500 S/Cl is factory pre-calibrated, the only requirement for on-site/mobile operation is a standard 110V/220V power source.  Plus, the all-in-one design doesn’t require any external computers, so moving it and creating space for it is much easier than with other XRF analyzers.

There are two common approaches to transporting the LabX-3500.

Optional Transport Case: Seen above, this padded flight case has a rugged outside with a padded interior that is customized for the LabX-3500 and its consumables.  No matter how bumpy the ride, the spectrometer will be ready for use wherever the elemental analysis is required.

Create a Mobile Testing Laboratory: As seen in the image below, the compact design does not require much bench space and making room in a laboratory van is simple.

Why the portability of a LabX-3500 over a Handheld XRF (X-Met7000)
The LabX-3500 is designed for very specific applications, the majority of its use focuses on petrochemical related analysis. The design of the LabX-3500 is ‘spill proof’ so it can handle spills better than a handheld but, and most importantly, the LabX-3500 can reach the detection limits required in these fuel analysis applications.  In most cases the requirement is for a “roadside sulfur test” which is rapid, non-destructive, and conforms to a recognized ASTM or ISO standard.  Two primary applications of the LabX3500 in mobile laboratories are:

Customs and Excise: To insure that the correct amount of duty has been paid on the fuel, a vehicle would be ‘pulled over’ into a roadside check area and a sample of fuel taken from the vehicles tank.  The sample would be measured on the LabX-3500 and depending on the sulfur concentration, the vehicle would either be allowed to continue or, additional samples would be taken for confirmatory laboratory analysis if a problem has been identified.  In severe cases this could result in prosecution.

Oil Companies: In many cases, oil companies have their own “mobile quality assurance unit” which randomly visits retail outlets to verify that the fuel being sold is the correct specification.  In this case, in addition to the LabX-3500 there are often a range of other analytical instruments in the mobile laboratory.

Instrument Specification: LabX-3500 S/Cl Instrument
The latest version of the LabX-3500 for sulfur in oil measurements now works in “air path” and fully conforms to IP336, ASTM D4294, ISO 8754, and ISO 20847 specifications.  Full analytical performance details are provided in the LabX @work document, number 167LZ (Contact XRF Sales for the application brief or analyzer literature).

Let Eastern Applied know if your mobile testing applications may be better suited for the LabX-3500 or if you are already using one and are interested in learning more about making it mobile.

see how happy he is using the LabX3500 for mobile testing