During a recent service department meeting, the question "What are the most common questions our clients ask you during a service visit?" was posed to the field service technicians of Eastern Applied Research. Every XRF service technician offered four or five questions they are asked and the following three stood out as the most common.
Do we need to turn the XRF analyzer off...or can we just leave it on?
How often should we recalibrate?
Can you provide training?
To create a resource for users of x-ray fluorescence that may have the same questions, each field technician submitted their answers and those are summarized below. Contact Eastern Applied Research if you would like to discuss these questions or have any other XRF related questions that we can help answer.
Learn More: XRF Services overview
How often do we need to turn the XRF analyzer off (or can we just leave it on)?
This was the most common question and the consensus of the field technicians is "It is suggested to leave most XRF analyzers ON all the time".
While this may vary based on the individual clients use of a system or special circumstances, this is the consensus because leaving the XRF analyzer ON will decrease the warm up time of the detector tube and x-ray tube. Plus, limiting the on/off stress on components may help to increase their lifespan and those are two of the most critical, and expensive, components of any XRF analyzer.
Most manufactures have started to build in a 'power down program' to their software that allows the XRF to stay ON but turns the current down on the critical components. (side note; always have an approved uninterruptible power supply on an XRF...contact our technical staff to confirm your UPS offers the right protection)
How often should we re-calibrate our XRF?
There is no set time-frame for the re-calibration of an x-ray fluorescence analyzer, so technicians can't have a standard answer for this question. Many variables will contribute to the timing for each client...variables include the analyzer model, age, current performance, application interest, and (most importantly) the customers tolerances. So, the answer is more of a discussion about these variables and to make sure a client is checking their calibrations for accuracy.
For most analyzers though, recalibration should happen at least once a week but a daily check is best....again, the tighter the tolerance requirements a customer has, the more often they will want to verify performance. After doing regular calibrations, an XRF user will establish a particular timeline that shows when a specific calibration starts to drift and will know they need to re-calibrate with traceable XRF reference standards. If drift occurs more frequently over time, then components may be compromised and a technician should be called in to review.
It is important to note that this re-calibration is different than the annual re-certification. The difference between calibration and certification is covered here. The recertification of an XRF analyzer is a service provided by Eastern Applied that involves a number of steps that are detailed in our blog "Annual XRF Certification Service: what happens and why".
Can you provide XRF training?
Our field service staff is trained in all areas of major XRF brands and models. They will typically be able to offer a short training service at the end of the maintenance visit or schedule your team for an extensive training session. Rates for these services vary and, if your team needs training, it's best to tell our service department prior to a visit to insure the most appropriate technician is scheduled and that they allow enough time for this additional support.
So...those were the 3 most common questions our technicians hear. Would you like to discuss them further? Do you have more XRF related questions? If so, just Contact Eastern Applied and we'll be happy to assist.