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VIDEO: Scrap Sorting with Handheld LIBS – Radically Lower Maintenance Costs

SciAps LIBS, Scrap Metal & Alloys

See the Z in action and a candid interview @ Wentworth Scrap Metals, Portsmouth, NH

Scrap Sorting with Handheld LIBS – Radically Lower Maintenance Costs

Handheld LIBS represents a potentially huge disruptive force for alloy sorting. No better example exists than maintenance costs compared to X-ray guns. Consider first X-ray tubes, then detectors. When a tube fails in an X-ray gun, usually the entire X-ray tube must be replaced at a cost of $6,000 to $10,000 depending on the X-ray gun manufacturer.

The SciAps LIBZ laser is a different story. It’s a proprietary laser, designed specifically for handheld analyzers, not purchased “off the shelf.”

The SciAps proprietary laser  is highly modular, and thus designed for component-level repair. There are four significant components in terms of service costs: A glass rod, reflecting mirrors, pump diodes, and a passive Q-switch. A failed component can be replaced. Repair costs range from a few hundred dollars to $1,000 at most–unless of course you’ve run it over with a truck.

Spectrometer Versus X-ray Detector – What’s the Difference?

X-ray guns use a silicon detector located close to the front aperture. The silicon is in a vacuum, covered with a very thin beryllium window. Even gentle pressure–the touch of an operator’s finger to a piece of turning–can pop the Be window and destroy the detector. The repair typically costs $8,000 to $10,000.
A LIBZ spectrometer functions differently. LIBS measures optical, UV and infrared light. The window is instead a thick quartz barrier–think baking-dish tough. Light created by the plasma travels through the quartz, along fiber optics into a spectrometer. You can jam turnings or metal pieces inside the analyzer all day long and not damage the analyzer.

SciAps makes their own spectrometers as well. While it’s hard to imagine a big enough shock to damage the spectrometer, the maximum repairs are likely under $500. Why is the Z-100 less expensive to own and operate? Because SciAps makes their own lasers and spectrometers–the core components–rather than purchasing them, and those components have been designed from the ground up for handheld metals analysis.

Key questions to ask:  How much to replace a drift detector?  How much to replace an X-ray tube?  For LIBS – do you make your own laser?  Spectrometer?  In many cases cost of ownership exceeds purchase cost after 1-2 years.  Find out!

For more information contact:
SciAps Inc., 2 Constitution Way,
Woburn, MA 01801; (339) 927-9455,, or