Insights from industry

Insights Into Handheld XRF Analyzers, the Vanta Max and the Vanta Core

insights from industryTed ShieldsPortable Products Manager, Analytical InstrumentsEvident

Portable XRF technology continues to innovate, as demonstrated with the new Vanta Max and Vanta Core handheld XRF analyzers from Evident. In this interview, AZoM speaks with Ted Shields from Evident about what these next-generation Vanta analyzers bring to the field and lab.

The Vanta Max XRF analyzer is built rugged to handle challenging field environments.

The Vanta Max XRF analyzer is built rugged to handle challenging field environments. Image credit: Evident.

Please introduce Evident and its role in the development of next-generation handheld XRF analyzers.

While Evident may be a new name to many, our legacy in the handheld XRF industry is extensive. Previously, our Analytical Instruments business was a part of Olympus' Scientific Solutions division. As Olympus shifted its focus towards medical technologies, the Scientific Solutions division was spun off into a new entity—Evident. This transition has granted us increased agility and autonomy, enabling us to better respond to customer needs and drive innovation within our XRF product lines.

Prior to this, our Analytical Instruments business originated as Innov-X Systems, a startup that Olympus acquired to enhance its nondestructive testing technologies. With over 20 years of continuous innovation in the field, the Vanta Max and Vanta Core handheld XRF analyzers represent the latest advancements built on decades of industry expertise.

Can you provide an overview of the importance of handheld XRF technology and its applications in various industries?

One of the aspects I truly appreciate about working with handheld XRF technology is its vast array of applications. The most significant of these is within the metals sector. Applications here include sorting scrap metal for efficient recycling, conducting positive material identification testing on critical infrastructure to ensure the correct grade of materials in pipes and manufactured parts, and verifying the karat of gold jewelry.

Another major application is in mining and geo-exploration. Real-time measurement of most of the elements in the periodic table is vital to determine where to drill for mineral resources. Another technically similar use case is in environmental testing. The difference is that environmental testing checks for elements you don’t want (lead, arsenic, etc.), while geo-exploration identifies elements you do want (copper, gold).

The applications are endless. For example, they can test for lead in paint, measure the thickness of coatings, analyze the composition of plating baths, and conduct testing for the Risk of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) regulations on circuit boards. Whenever quick, on-site elemental analysis is required, handheld XRF technology proves to be invaluable.

What are the key features and capabilities of the Vanta Max handheld XRF analyzer?

The Vanta Max analyzer is crafted on the solid foundation of the highly acclaimed Vanta M series model. It incorporates a large-area, high-performance silicon drift detector (SDD), making it ideal for robust applications like mining, geochemistry, mineral analysis, soil testing, and environmental analysis.

We have preserved all the features that our customers highly value—such as ruggedness, stability, and superior analytical performance—and have enhanced the user experience. The interface has been modernized and refreshed, allowing us to present information more clearly and comprehensively.

Additionally, we have made ergonomic improvements: the handle is now thinner, more comfortable, and easier to grip, and the overall balance of the device has been improved. We have also refined the design of the access door for the data ports, making it more user-friendly. These enhancements have been applied to the Vanta Core analyzer as well. Both models excel in ease of use and ergonomic design to keep all of our customers in mind. 

The Vanta Max (yellow) and Vanta Core (blue) handheld XRF analyzers provide fast elemental analysis and alloy ID.

The Vanta Max (yellow) and Vanta Core (blue) handheld XRF analyzers provide fast elemental analysis and alloy ID. Image credit: Evident.

What sets the Vanta Core handheld XRF analyzer apart in terms of its functionality and performance?

The Vanta Core analyzer is the latest addition to our Vanta C series, offering a speedy and dependable solution for alloy identification, metals analysis, and testing of precious metals. This new model is available with either silver or rhodium anodes, letting users tailor their devices for optimal performance with specific elements, alloys, or metals.

Equipped with a high-performance SDD detector, the Vanta Core model provides a more cost-effective alternative to the Vanta Max analyzer while still delivering exceptional value. Consistent with the Vanta brand, the Vanta Core analyzer maintains the highest standards in repeatability, durability, and overall performance.

The Vanta Max XRF analyzer can be used to analyze samples in archeology research.

The Vanta Max XRF analyzer can be used to analyze samples in archeology research. Image credit: Evident.

How do the new Vanta handheld XRF analyzers enhance efficiency in both field and lab settings?

A critical aspect of improving efficiency involves transforming raw data into actionable information, regardless of your work environment. Vanta analyzers are equipped with large touch screens that display more information than many competing models, enhancing user interaction. In the Vanta Max and Vanta Core models, we have overhauled the user interface to be more intuitive and easier to interpret.

Additionally, these analyzers can take data, process it through a script, and display a clear, actionable conclusion directly on the screen. This powerful feature converts chemical concentrations into tangible insights. Users have leveraged this capability for various applications, such as grading the black mass from electric vehicle batteries, analyzing lithium mineralogy, and even distinguishing between freshwater and saltwater pearls.

On top of that, the latest wireless connectivity options expand the ways users can manage and interpret data. Real-time data can be viewed on larger devices like PCs, tablets, or smartphones, and our Evident Connect cloud service facilitates efficient data and fleet management. These wireless features significantly enhance the inspection workflows, making them more streamlined and effective.

What are the ruggedness and durability features of the Vanta handheld XRF analyzers, and how do they provide reliable performance in harsh environments?

Since the Vanta series was launched, it has led the way in terms of ruggedness and reliability. The Vanta Max and Vanta Core handheld XRF analyzers continue along that trajectory. They share a number of different durability features, including the IP54 rating, MIL-Standard 810-G 4-foot drop test, temperature rating from -10 °C to 50 °C (14 °F to 122 °F) during continuous testing, and detector shutter. In addition, the mesh window material on the Vanta Core model makes it more puncture-resistant. 

We take the temperature specification seriously. In the factory, we test every Vanta handheld XRF analyzer in an environmental chamber over 2,000 times while the temperature goes to each extreme twice. If the data is not stable, the instrument does not go out the door. This greatly increases our confidence that what we deliver will meet our customers’ expectations in any location, from the cold of Alaska to the heat of the Australian Outback. We demonstrate our confidence with our standard 3-year warranty. 

How does the Axon Technology used in the Vanta series improve the accuracy and repeatability of results?

Axon Technology is the term we use for a whole series of technical signal processing advances we brought forward with the Vanta series. They fall into two areas. 

The first is to ensure that the energy scale of the detector remains the same as the instrument temperature changes. The electronics are very sensitive, and the component properties change slightly with temperature. Axon Technology has patented process checks and corrections for this.

The second area is in X-ray count processing. Faster processing means more counts and lower limits of detection. Axon Technology lets us use rates up to three times higher than our previous technology while improving the resolution. 

How do the Vanta Max and Vanta Core XRF analyzers differ in terms of their elemental analysis capabilities and detection limits?

The Vanta Max analyzer features a larger detector compared to the Vanta Core analyzer, enhancing its sensitivity. This larger detector area is particularly beneficial for detecting lighter elements such as magnesium, aluminum, silicon, phosphorous, and sulfur. Additionally, the Vanta Max analyzer is equipped with a thinner measurement window cover than its Vanta Core counterpart, further boosting its sensitivity and enabling more robust analyses. 

Can you explain the significance of the excitation source and detector configurations in achieving accurate and reliable elemental analysis with the Vanta Max and Vanta Core analyzers?

As mentioned, the detectors of the Vanta Max and Vanta Core analyzers differ in size. This is the major driver of the cost difference between the two models.

The Vanta Max XRF analyzer is often used for geo-exploration. It is built tough to handle the rigors of mine sites.
The Vanta Max XRF analyzer is often used for geo-exploration. It is built tough to handle the rigors of mine sites. Image credit: Evident.

The variations in the excitation source are somewhat complex. The tube voltage and anode type are tailored to support the applications for which a given model is commonly used. The Vanta Max analyzer, often utilized in geo-exploration, features a rhodium anode for enhanced sensitivity to light elements and a maximum tube voltage of 50 kV to accommodate the most energetic elements.

The Vanta Core analyzer is primarily designed for alloy applications. The rhodium anode version of the Vanta Core has a maximum voltage of 40 kV, which is enough to cover the spectrum of elements typically found in alloys.

Additionally, a silver anode model is available in the Vanta Core series with a 50 kV excitation. Silver, while a versatile anode, does not perform as effectively as rhodium for detecting the lightest elements. However, it is a suitable option for analyzing car catalyst materials, which contain low levels of rhodium, or for RoHS compliance testing, targeting low levels of cadmium.

In terms of the interface and usability, what kind of training and expertise are required for users to operate the Vanta handheld XRF analyzers effectively?

We have worked hard to make the user interface as intuitive as possible while maintaining the customizability that many of our customers desire. Drawing from the experiences with the original Vanta handheld XRF, we've made enhancements such as converting expandable sections into tabs, which not only saves space but also makes navigation clearer for users. Our display now also shows two additional elements on screen before needing to scroll.

Using a Vanta handheld XRF analyzer is as straightforward as using a smartphone—only a few minutes of training are needed. However, the most crucial part of this training is focused on safety. It is vital to ensure that during testing, the analyzer is never pointed at anyone, including yourself, to prevent radiation exposure.

What optional accessories are available for the new Vanta handheld XRF analyzers, and how do they enhance the usability and versatility of the devices?

The Vanta handheld XRF series comes equipped with a full suite of accessories tailored to the preferences of our customers. Alloy customers find the holster, weld mask, and hot heel (for testing hot pipes) particularly useful. Those in environmental and geo-exploration fields favor the fully interlocked workstation, the field stand (a portable non-interlocked work platform), and the soil foot. Wireless connectivity is effortlessly maintained via compatible Bluetooth® and Wi-Fi® adapters, enabling seamless data integration and sharing.

How do you foresee Evident’s continued contribution to the advancement of handheld XRF technology, considering the success and reception of the Vanta Max and Vanta Core models?

Evident has established itself as a leader in designing rugged equipment. We recognize that our customers often use handheld XRF analyzers in challenging environments where reliability is crucial. Therefore, our focus remains on maximizing uptime and minimizing the cost of ownership.

In addition to our commitment to ruggedness, Evident is dedicated to providing digital tools that enhance workflows and convert raw data into actionable information. For our customers, the result at the end of a test is often just the beginning of their journey. We are committed to helping them take the next step. 

NOTE: The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Evident Corporation is under license.

About Ted Shields

Ted has worked at Evident for more than 11 years and has overseen the introduction of numerous innovations to the XRF product lines with a focus on bringing laboratory-quality data to the portable market. Ted has a master's degree in applied physics and holds four patents.

 

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

For more information on this source, please visit Evident.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

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