Archive for March, 2015

Handheld XRF Training: XMet8000 for Metal Testing

A new XMet8000 handheld XRF analyzer from Oxford Instruments was recently purchased by a manufacturer of precision components for aerospace and military interests.  I had the opportunity to sit in on the training session and wanted to write a summary of what happens in a typical Handheld XRF training from Eastern Applied Research.

BACKGROUND: Why Did They Choose to Invest in the XMet8000?
XMet8000 Metal TestingThis will be the facilities first time utilizing handheld x-ray fluorescence and they invested in the technology for incoming verification of alloys as they receive 300-400 different grades in any given week.  This organization performed a thorough review of competitive handheld XRF analyzers and I was happy to have a chance to speak with key decision makers on why they chose Oxford Instruments XMet8000 over other options.  The best comment was that they reviewed four systems in house and “when other systems wavered on performance, the Oxford unit was solid, nailed it.”

In addition to performance, they referenced the software interface (touch-screen, swipe navigation), the size and weight, and that the system had better balance in hand (ergonomics).  These are the points we always highlight and why we feel the XMet8000 is best in class but it’s nice to hear it from an organization that put it heads-up against competitive systems.

TWO PARTS OF TRAINING
This day of training was going to be split into two sessions.  The first included everybody that might potentially use the system and the second would be with the primary users.  These groups are, essentially, those that will log in under ‘operator mode’ (take measurements, send data) and ‘supervisory mode’ (develop report templates, work with alloy libraries).

ALL POTENTIAL USERS, general operation and safety
This session started with a general overview of the XMet8000 – including the general design benefits, safety features, and accessories. The system and some of the accessories were passed around (while off) so that each potential user could review it.

TXRF Radiation Safetyhe second portion of the general training covered the operation of the system.  Since this portion of the training was for day to day users of the system, we showed how to power up the system, set test parameters (calibration mode, measurement time, etc), and take measurements.  It was a simple overview because the software is very intuitive.

The last portion of this session focused on handheld XRF safety and our associate provided an overview of x-ray fluorescence technology, best practices, etc and gave each attendee a multiple choice test to insure their understanding and the safe use of the technology.

PRIMARY USERS, detailed operation and reports
After a quick lunch break, a smaller group of the primary users returned to learn more about the XMet8000 and its ‘supervisory mode’ functions.  This session began by going through the reporting capabilities of the system.  Oxford Instruments has a unique approach because it does not require software installation for this functionality – it’s all completed through USB transfer and a web browser.  Similar to the general operation, the approach is so intuitive that it only took moments to teach the client how to build a report template and pull data into it.

The XMet8000 includes one of the largest alloy libraries on the market and that was the next area of discussion.  An overview was provided on where to review the libraries (AISI, GB, etc), how adjustments can be made, and how they can add their own grades when needed.  This topic was of particular interest because they have a particular interest in building customized libraries by combining alloys already on the unit and alloy grades that they would be adding.

With the two major aspects of the supervisory mode discussed and all questions answered, the analyzer was passed around so that each primary user could take a measurement and look into the software functions.

For all the reasons the new user mentioned, we consider Oxford Instruments XMet8000 as ‘best in class’ and the ease of training thanks to its intuitive software design only highlights that.

View Video Demonstrations of the XMet8000