Lower Costs with LIBS - A Guide

Both Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometry (LIBS) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) handheld analyzers are fast, easy-to-use, and compact. These analyzers enable identification of materials at the pull of a trigger. It is that easy.

Mostly, cost is a main factor in the decision-making process, particularly with regards to thinking about overheads long-term. Choosing between a LIBS or an XRF analyzer can be complicated as both products are comparably priced and have a similar service life.

One of the determining factors for a number of users is the lower overall cost of ownership of a LIBS analyzer like Hitachi High-Tech’s Vulcan.

In this article, Hitachi High-Tech’s VP of Sales and Service for EMEA, Paul Bunting, looks at the main ways their customers are saving money with a Vulcan LIBS analyzer.

No Costly Compliance

So far, a number of customers have been using handheld XRF analyzers, which are fast and accurate, but in a majority of countries, one has to adhere to safety legislation. This would require registering the analyzer, employing a radiation officer, and perhaps even inspections. Regulations differ based on the country of residence, but they can lead to additional costs. There are no regulations pertaining to LIBS analyzers in most countries, meaning these costs are not applicable to products like Vulcan.

No Training

Since no X-rays are involved, Vulcan owners do not need to undertake radiation safety training. The analyzer uses a Class 3B laser, so it is recommended that you wear a pair of protective glasses, which come with the unit. Some countries have made it mandatory to wear safety goggles.

For companies with a high staff turnover, this training can become a continuous cost. While for smaller businesses, two or three days for training can be difficult and may impact productivity.


Both LIBS and XRF analyzers are built to last even in challenging operating environments. The measurement optics in the Vulcan are recessed 10 mm into the nose of the device and are protected by a window composed of sapphire glass, which is virtually indestructible. Even in a harsh environment such as a scrapyard, the chance of inadvertent damage and replacement cost while measuring sharp or small objects is virtually zero.

No Consumables

The Vulcan’s sapphire glass protective window needs regular cleaning, but it is highly unlikely one will need to replace it. With an XRF analyzer, the devices need the random replacement of the film in the nose of the analyzer that protects against water and dust. The expense of consumables, however, is comparatively small.

Hitachi High-Tech is aware that cost is just one of the areas of consideration when selecting an analyzer. To make sure they acquire the right tool for the job, customers can contact the company experts or book a demo.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.

For more information on this source, please visit Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.


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