Annual XRF Service: what happens and why

We are often asked what additional costs are associated with owning an ED-XRF analyzer (energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence).  The only cost that buyers of ED-XRF need to be aware of is the annual certification and safety radiation service.
This service is provided for three major reasons:
– Prepares a system to provide peak performance in the short and long term
– Allows a facility to meet state and federal regulations relating to x-ray equipment
– Provides 17025 Accredited certification of accuracy that can be referenced to clients, etc

The follow-up question from both new and experienced users of XRF is “what is involved with the annual service?”.  This blog entry offers an overview of the annual XRF service, but Eastern Applied associates are always available to answer specific questions that you may have – ask your questions here.

Annual XRF Service: Four Aspects

Pre-Service Preparation
Since Eastern Applied has been providing these services for over thirty years, we maintain a history of each machine that clients use.  Our technical staff will review the service records of any analyzer we have previously worked on before going in so that they can be prepared with any components, large or small, and understand the organizations use of the machine.

Upon arriving at a customer’s site, the XRF service technician will talk to any available operators about the systems recent history.  Operators may have noticed some performance or hardware related variations from the norm that may help a technician in his process of reviewing the analyzer.

Dusty XRF Analyzer Fan Image

Dusty XRF Fan

Preventative Maintenance, Cleaning, and Review
The preventive maintenance portion of the service sets an XRF spectrometer up for the best long-term performance possible.  The Eastern Applied technician will review the environment a system is in and discuss any concerns such as poor ventilation, corrosive environment, air born dust, etc.

The actual cleaning and review will include:
– Cleaning the outside of the system
– Cleaning and lubrication of any X-Y-Z leads screws, if applicable
– Review all fan intakes, cleaning or replacing filters
– Cleaning the interior and removing any materials that may have fallen inside the chamber
– Checking the hours of major components (x-ray tube, detector, etc); noting any that may be close to, or are over, the life expectancy and discussing replacement options that may eliminate emergency situations in the future.

XRF Safety Radiation

XRF Safety Radiation

XRF Safety Radiation Survey
The radiation survey and inspection is performed in order to confirm an analyzer is safe to use but also to comply with applicable state regulations of XRF.  This portion of the service includes reviewing safety switches/interlocks, reviewing/replacing bulbs, and measuring for any radiation leakage.  The radiation leakage is checked around the entire machine, including the chamber door.  The acceptable threshold is 0.5 sV/hr at any point.

Re-Calibration and Certification of Accuracy
At this point, the technician will verify that the system is providing accurate and stable results.  This is a critical step for customers to maintain various accreditations and is also used in the verification of measurement data.

The actual steps include a lot more detail but the initial system review includes verification that voltages are within tolerance to the manufacturer specification, a review of the systems offset and gain, analysis of energy adjustment information (adjusting if needed) and an optical alignment adjustment.

The heart of the certification process involves:
Creating high and low calibration curves based on the XRF calibration standards that the technician has brought with them.
Developing ‘before measurement’ data, running each standard against the curve five times
Running a stability test, in order to ‘stress’ the machine, the technician takes 100 consecutive 30 second measurements.  Measurements are completed with a mid-range reference standard and the technician would review measurement data to determine if any maintenance or additional adjustments are required.
Developing ‘after measurements’ data; performed in the same way they collected ‘before measurement’ data.  The results must be within +/- 5% of the ‘before measurements’ in order to pass the certification.

Logo for Accredited XRF Service
This entire process typically takes two to four hours and, if the analyzer has successfully passed all steps, the XRF technician will provide certification documentation.  These documents are in accordance with Eastern Applied Research’s accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and includes certifications for analyzer accuracy and safety radiation.

Please contact Eastern Applied’s XRF Service Center if you have any questions about these services or would like to schedule a service for your facilities x-ray fluorescence analyzer.

Certification of XRF Spectrometer

Certification of Seiko SFT-9200 XRF Spectrometer

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