Quality Control and Recycling Using Instant Identification of Plastics, Polymers and Resins

SciAps Raman Analyzers are a user-friendly, entirely non-destructive method for polymer verification. SciAps offers a suite of analyzers that can satisfy any user's price/performance requirements.

The ReporteR (Figure 1) is a low-cost, high durability model offered by SciAps in a compact package for determination of common plastics. The smartphone-sized analyzer is dustproof and waterproof, with Mil Spec 810G field ruggedness. It is designed to be used by any operator at anywhere.

The ReporteR

Figure 1. The ReporteR

The Inspector class of Raman Analyzers from SciAps provides highly sophisticated performance. With a much larger library of plastics, the Inspector rapidly determines the widest ranges of plastics, making it the faster and higher performing option.

It is designed for convenient single-handed operation and features on-board touchscreen display. Figure 2 shows an Inspector 300 Raman Analyzer and Figure 3 depicts an Inspector 500 Raman Analyzer.

The Inspector 300 Raman Analyzer

Figure 2. The Inspector 300 Raman Analyzer

The Inspector 500 Raman Analyzer

Figure 3. The Inspector 500 Raman Analyzer

Working Principle of SciAps Raman Analyzers

SciAps Raman Analyzers are capable of storing thousands of molecular signatures for new and proprietary materials or "fingerprints" for identification, enabling users to access a library of common plastics. When the laser light is directed onto an unknown polymer, a fingerprint that is unique to the material being analyzed is created.

The analyzer compares the fingerprint with the on-board library data to find a match and display the correct polymer type for the sample. The highly customizable SciAps Raman Analyzers facilitate users to incorporate new fingerprints for new or proprietary materials from the PC to the ReporteR, or directly into the unit of the Inspector.

Key Advantages of SciAps Raman Analyzers

Different plastic formulations have proliferated, as have the regulatory prerequisites for polymer verification. SciAps Raman Analyzers can eliminate the time and on-going costs of lab testing by letting users avoid placing their faith on material certs. It is possible to carry the units anywhere conveniently, even as carry-on luggage. Companies can routinely use analyzers for polymer verification at the supplier site prior to be shipped.

SciAps Raman Analyzers minimize the likelihood of utilizing incorrect or incompatible materials in a production site, thereby eliminating the time and costs associated with re-running of the product and purging of the WIP. Figure 4 shows the Raman spectra of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), a common mix-up.

It is impossible to differentiate the two polymers by touch or feel. Conversely, the Raman fingerprint spectrum for each polymer is characteristic of the specific polymer, thereby enabling rapid, certain verification.

Raman spectrum from a ReporteR unit is shown for two common plastics PE and PP

Figure 4. Raman spectrum from a ReporteR unit is shown for two common plastics PE and PP

SciAps Raman Analyzers are designed to be used effectively even by a non-technical operator. They can be operated by incoming or outgoing inspection personnel for quickly validating materials. They rapidly display the name of the plastic analyzed, with spectra data stored for later verification, if required. It is possible to enable all analyzers with full 21CFR Part 11 compliant software for data integrity, if required.

Application of SciAps Raman Analyzers in Recycling Facilities

The Inspector and ReporteR Raman analyzers are ideal instruments for recycling facilities because of the necessity to separate mixed material into specific grades for order fulfillment as different grades of plastic have significantly different prices. They deliver cost-effective, timesaving sorting solutions. The ReporteR is suitable for smaller facilities typically handling the most common 25-50 types of plastic. With dustproof, waterproof, and highly shock resistant features, the ReporteR is an ideal instrument for a typical recycling process and can be used by a non-technical user for sorting plastic after training of an hour or so.

SciAps Raman Analyzers feature a patented right angle test adaptor for small or bagged samples

Figure 5. SciAps Raman Analyzers feature a patented right angle test adaptor for small or bagged samples

SciAps Raman analyzers are equipped with a patented right angle test adaptor to analyze small or bagged samples (Figure 5). This feature ensures striking of the sample by the laser when energized, thereby avoiding the two-handed "point and shoot into the air" approach of competitive analyzers. The laser interrogates a sample region of 20µm, thereby enabling the Raman analysis of even the smallest samples. The following table provides the product comparison of SciAps Raman analyzers:

Product Comparison ReporteR Inspector 300 Inspector 500
Size 5.25”h x 2.5”w x 1.5”d 7.5”h x 6.9”w x 1.7”d 7.5”h x 6.9”w x 1.7”d
Weight <14 oz. (< 400 g) 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg) 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg)
Laser 120 mW 785 nm Class 3b 300 mW 785 nm Class 3b 300 mW 1030 nm Class 3b
Spectral Range (cm-1) 150-2450 150-2450 150-2450
Resolution Across Range (cm-1) 10 8 10
Color Display/Touchscreen No Yes Yes
Advanced Chemometrics Models only on PC Analyzer and PC Analyzer and PC
Library Size 200 up to 12,000 up to 12,000
Battery 4 hrs, rechargeable, not removable 4 hrs, rechargeable, removable 4 hrs, rechargeable, removable
High Fluorescence Materials? No No Yes
Add Materials to Library? only via PC Analyzer and PC Analyzer and PC

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SciAps, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit SciAps, Inc.

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