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
So, the Hitachi team set out to limit an XRF operators time in front of a system. They did that by changing the operation viewing screen, adding automated sample alignment features, and more. Hitachi High-Tech summarized the advancements into these three main benefits offered by the Hitachi FT230 (but within each are additional benefits):
Fast…primarily because of three features:
Over the course of a year, these features can save 150 hours of operators’ hands-on time with the XRF.
The new, and exclusive, Find My Part™ machine vision feature automatically loads an entire measurement routine, including measurement locations, calibrations, collimator sizes, analysis times and data handling rules. Find My Part™ is the ultimate in measurement setup and can be 72% faster than traditional setup routines.
In addition to a standard focus laser, two automated focusing routines are available to save time. Auto approach brings the analysis head to the right working distance and is 33% faster than a basic laser. Auto focus enables distance independent measurement and is 60% faster.
A second, wide-view camera shows the entire measurable area of the sample stage to make it easier to find measurement locations on large parts or assemblies. Using the wide-view camera to position parts can be 20% faster than just using the standard camera.
Easy to use because of exciting new software
The Hitachi FT230 analyzers new FT Connect is a complete reimagining of the user interface for an XRF coatings analyzer. The layout and controls are designed with the operator in mind, simplifying the screen and focusing on the most important things they want to see – the part being measured and the results.
The FT Connect software has the industry’s largest in-software sample view, showing a huge, high-resolution image of the sample for easier positioning.
Connected for Industry 4.0
Results and reports can be exported manually or automatically to a local or network drive, or integrated into SCADA, QMS, MES or ERP systems.
Instrument health information and diagnostics data is shared automatically with Hitachi support via ExTOPE Connect, their secure, cloud-based solution. This information can be used to help troubleshoot an instrument remotely to reduce the amount of time engineers spend on-site. Note that measurement results and other sensitive identifying information about the customer’s samples are not shared.
Beyond Efficient Set-Up...Performance and Price
The Hitachi FT230’s high-performance, large area, silicon drift detector and new FP algorithms handle the accuracy aspect – even without the use of XRF calibration standards. The user experience delivered by the FT230’s advanced hardware and powerful FT Connect software is unmatched in the industry. Plus, its versatile...in addition to coating thickness measurements, the FT230 provides can perform elemental analysis (ie measure phosphorus content in electroless nickel or material identification) and plating bath analysis.
Also important to any buyer of a new XRF Analyzer – the price…and the Hitachi FT230 was developed to be provided at a competitive price point. It’s price-to-performance ratio is unmatched by other options.
Any organization looking to add an XRF or improve their current use of XRF should review this system – you can view details and download literature here or contact Eastern Applied Research for a discussion or demonstration.