The XRF service department of Eastern Applied Research has seen steady growth in the number of handheld x-ray fluorescence analyzers serviced. This is due to the fact that more and more handheld XRF analyzers are in the field but also because older models are starting to have the typical "lifespan" issues that require review and repair.
Our technical staff performs a wide variety of repair services on all portable XRF analyzer brands and models but the three most common issues are very similar to the most common issues that occur with desktop analyzers...software related and the two major components. Those three most common issues include:
Display Screen: The software interfaces of handheld analyzers are typically either integrated into the design of the system or an older model PDA. Either way, issues with the screen (cracked, dead, etc) can be one of the most difficult repairs, if possible at all. When it is an integrated design, it may not be possible to access the actual screen for review and when it is an older model PDA it is rarely possible to source out a replacement. It is likely time to start considering replacement options when issues occur with the software interface of a handheld XRF.
X-ray Tube: Similar to desktop analyzers, the handheld XRF X-ray tube is a critical component and considered the heart of the system. When problems occur with x-ray tubes, it can often lead to additional issues that result in more involved repairs than simply replacing this single component. The Eastern Applied technical staff can confirm if problems are the result of a "dead" x-ray tube and work with clients on confirming additional damages and what is required for repair.
Detector Tube: Often times detector tube issues can be identified right away because they are the result of punctures to the tube window. Fortunately, new detector shields like the ones on Hitachi XMet8000 systems are limiting those issues. However, tubes still have a limited lifespan and will require replacement at some point.
While most handheld XRF performance issues can be repaired, at some point it is time to consider the repair vs replace debate. With the recent advancements in handheld systems (particular the innovative XMet8000 portable XRF series by Hitachi High-Tech) the benefits of investing budget into a new system will often far outweigh the short-term cost savings to repair an older model.
If you are currently using an older handheld XRF system and notice any performance issues, please contact the Eastern Applied service center to discuss evaluation of the system. Perhaps all it requires is some routine maintenance but our staff can assist either way.