Handheld LIBS vs. Handheld XRF:  A Cost of Ownership Comparison

XRF vs LIBS - A Comparison of Costs

LIBS vs. XRF: How do these compare in cost? Handheld analytical devices are normally used rigorously in tough industrial environments. These environments can include a large-scale petrochemical facility, a dirty metal scrap recycling yard, or a dusty shop floor of a metal fabricator.

In the last two decades, handheld metal analyzers have become a significant part of the testing protocols in these businesses. These analytical tools are used throughout the day in numerous testing conditions, and often by multiple users. The analyzers are regularly impacted, bumped, or in a few rare cases, even dropped. These incidents many times necessitate expensive repair costs.

Handheld XRF owners are well aware that a “tier 1” service repair can cost between $7K-$10K and dependent on use, a user might need to pay for around two or three of these “tier 1” repairs during the device’s lifespan. That means the cost of ownership can be more than $10K and even up to $20k over the original instrument purchase investment.

This is on top of the cost of lost business opportunities caused by service downtimes, as well as added aggravation. A handheld XRF has incredibly fragile and expensive components behind extremely thin plastic, just millimeters from the metal alloy it is placed against to analyze. This leaves it susceptible to damage even if the unit is not further dropped or damaged. It is a harsh reality of technology.

Handheld LIBS: A Purpose-Built Alternative

As a manufacturer of benchtop and lab XRF technology, as well as having amassed decades of industry feedback, Rigaku was aware that the metal alloy industry required a different solution. The Rigaku KT-100S handheld LIBS analyzer was developed and made from the start to be the solution.

The KT-100S successfully passed rigorous durability tests which proved its ability to meet the requirements of those who need a rugged handheld metal analyzer for the toughest testing environments.

To ensure protection against all work environments, the KT-100S underwent stringent testing to the United States Military Standard MIL-STD-810G. These tests involved rigorous vibration, drop and shock testing which focused on the impact to all angles of the instrument to assess its performance and durability when exposed to environmental stress, such as humidity and extreme temperatures.

Additionally, its IP-54 rating and safety window of fused silica (no polypropylene here) offer protection against wet and dusty environments.

As the first handheld metal analyzer to have successfully completed these tests, it is truly optimized for rigorous use.

XRF vs LIBS - A Comparison of Costs

In order to offer maximum durability and to not only meet MIL-STD 810G test requirements, but the Rigaku KT-100S was also developed with the following list of structural components not available in any other handheld technologies on the market today.

  • LCD hinge: the operation was tested and proven to last more than one million (MTF > 1,000,000)
  • LCD housing is constructed of metal for added durability and strength
  • Laser raster motor: certified with MTF of greater than one-million cycles
  • Trigger: certified durable for more than one-million trigger pulls
  • Every sensitive component is surrounded by shock-absorbing material or suspended to lessen damage during drops

Handheld LIBS: Minimal Maintenance

In regard to ongoing maintenance, the laser diode of the Rigaku KT-100S handheld LIBS is usually rated at several thousands of hours, normally about five years.  In addition, the KT-100S does not need any recalibration. Rigaku recommends verifying the performance daily with the included Al 7075/SS 316 system check samples. Factory calibration is not necessary if the unit continues to pass. However, if needed, a certification or full recalibration recertification process is available for your quality system.

Handheld LIBS: Low Cost of Ownership

What does this all mean for metal alloy users? Assuming normal wear and tear, repair costs for the KT-100S over a span of five years are minimal in comparison with handheld XRF. Even if the user drops the unit during normal analysis, and damages it somehow, Rigaku will repair it at no extra cost while under warranty.

If the warranty has expired, the most expensive single repair is a fraction of what users can expect with a handheld XRF. Therefore, the user can anticipate reduced costs and downtime associated with repairing instruments.

Rigaku believes this the true definition of “rugged” and the new benchmark for handheld metal alloy analyzers.  

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Rigaku Corporation.

For more information on this source, please visit Rigaku Corporation.

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