The recent release of the newest x-ray fluorescence analyzer focusing on coating thickness measurements, the Hitachi FT230, is the result of years of work by the R&D team of Hitachi High-Tech. Work began by talking with users of XRF technology to see what operators like, and don’t like, in their current analyzers. However, this meant not just talking with users of current Hitachi systems (and older models from them, known as Seiko and Oxford Instruments) but also users of other brands (Fischerscope, Bowman XRF, etc).
Hitachi determined a lot from these discussions, but one overwhelming point stood out…XRF users want to limit the amount of time they spend setting up for a measurement run. It is estimated that 72% of XRF testing time is lost on set-up – the old adage that ‘time is money’ might pop into your mind right about now
One of the more common discussions that the service team of Eastern Applied Research has with users of XRF analyzers is the difference between the terms ‘calibration’ and ‘certification’. These terms are often used in place of each other but have very different meanings that require different tasks be performed.
Does your XRF need to be calibrated or certified?
One of the first questions associates of Eastern Applied Research ask when talking to customers looking to add x-ray fluorescence (XRF) for coating thickness measurements is about their sample size and throughput goals. Obviously, metal finishing touches on a lot of industries and various components in those industries. Depending on the use, an XRF could be measuring small fasteners with varying heights, thin but wide samples like unpopulated circuit boards, large samples like brake pads or many others in between.
It's important to discuss the product (samples) the XRF user will be testing because they need to know a sample will fit into the XRF chamber. The throughput question will factor into manual vs programmable operation and focusing options – but that can’t happen unless the size question is covered.
Does this accreditation apply to your XRF Analyzer reference materials?
One of the major applications of X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is quality control in coating thickness measurements. So, over our long history of providing XRF service and support, Eastern Applied Research has worked with a large number of metal finishers. In addition to coating thickness measurements, many of these metal finishers will have an interest in monitoring their plating baths because mistakes in bath ratios can result in a poor final product - blistering, off colors, and issues with the plated pieces when in use.
They have a few options for plating bath analysis - but what's the right option?