ACTLabs - An Interview with ACTLabs On The Application of XRF Analysis Technique in Material Testing

AZoM conducted a series of interviews at the MS&T 07 trade exhibition in Detroit between September 17 and 18. Here's what one of the exhibitors had to say when asked about their latest developments, products and technologies.

Interviewee: David Beauchamp, Customer Service Representative, ACTLabs
Interviewer: Cameron Chai, AZoM

AZoM: This is Cameron Chai here from azom.com reporting from the MS&T Trade Show in Detroit, and I’ve got with me now David Beauchamp from ACT Labs based in … whereabouts are you ..?

ACTLabs: In Chester, Ontario.

AZoM: There you go. And you guys, how’s the show going for you so far?

ACTLabs: Going quite well. Yesterday was quite productive. We got a lot of leads and hopefully a lot of good business to follow up on.

AZoM: Excellent. That’s what we like to hear, lots of success from the trade show. So you guys are now doing … specialising or have just gotten into this reduction of hazardous substances testing. That’s something that you … that’s a new development for your guys?

ACTLabs: Yeah, it’s an important development for a lot our clients in the electronics industry and various fasteners especially, they do a lot of plating with fasteners and chromium-6, hexavalent chromium is a big deal for the. So reducing the content of the ross-5 substances, lead, mercury, chrome, cadmium chrome, hexavalent chrome and then the polybrominated biethyls and diethyls, mostly a flame retardants material, is important for them. So we’ve got a few unique techniques that we. We use instrumental neutron activation to analyse for total bromium, bromine, sorry, and then we’ve got a hot water leach set up for chromium-6 ion speciation. So we’ve got some unique techniques that way. Also XRF is the popular technique for the analysis in this case.

AZoM: So XRF is a fairly easy and cost effective method for testing these types of materials?

ACTLabs: Yeah, it’s simple prep is reasonably easy depending on what you’re testing. It’s a quick and accurate analysis that is a multi-simultaneous analysis for multiple elements at the same time. So you can get a fairly rapid analysis for a bulk number, a large volume of products.

AZoM: And what sort of turn around time do you have on sample testing?

ACTLabs: Depends on what we’re analysing for and what the levels are. It can be anywhere from a couple of days for a small number of samples, depending on the sample prep time, up to weeks or months for a large batch of, you know, if we get in a large batch of fasteners, screw or nuts and bolts, and we had to do a lot of sample prep before we could prep them, we had to powderise and then pelletise and then, you know, polish and then do the XRF and then we have to look at the water leach. So it can get a little bit complicated, but you know, we’re certainly up to the challenge and it’s an exciting analysis for a lot of companies out there.

AZoM: So what you’re saying though is for … you can turn samples around and within a couple of days, if the need arises, you can get fairly accurate results back to a client in a very short period of time if that’s what’s needed?

ACTLabs: Definitely, definitely. We can do that fairly quickly and we provide certificates of analysis for this raw standard.

AZoM: And you can provide results back like via email, that type of thing, for speedier turn around?

ACTLabs: Yeah. Our primary method of communicating results is via email. We are able to fax or send hard copies of reports if need be, but our primary method of analysis reporting is via email. So it’s quick, we can get the product in within a couple of days, I’ll have the analysis done if need be in a couple of days and have it back out within a week.

AZoM: And so for anybody who’s not familiar, like what other … what area, what other industries or applications does your testing facility cater to?

ACTLabs: We’re very strong in chemical analysis. There isn’t a lot we can’t analyse as far as chemistry goes. We do a lot of metal alloy analysis, ceramics, slag. We just got a brand new XRF unit in. It’s being installed as we speak. We have instrumental neutron activation analysis which is unique to our lab and only a handful of others in North America. So that’s useful for us in a lot of areas. It’s a non-destructive technique that we can use to analyse a various number of elements in the sample.

AZoM: And where do most of your customers come from? What sort of industry sectors?

ACTLabs: We’re strongly tied to automotive which has been a bit of a downfall for us. And lately with the dollar being so high and the automotive industry being in a little bit of a downturn, but we’re confident that we can expand into some new markets. We’re looking at the electronics industry, the aerospace industry and various other up and coming industries that will allow us to weather this automotive storm, so to speak.

AZoM: So what about things like electronics, semi-conductors, nanotechnology, those sort of areas, are area of interest to you?

ACTLabs: Yeah, this russ testing actually is highly important to our electronics friends because they use a lot of these, well for example lead in solder, or cadmium in their products. So it’s important that when they’re shipping overseas to Europe and now soon to North America, that they have these certificates for verifying that their lead levels are below 0.01% and their cadmium and various other elements.

AZoM: And so how many labs do you have across the country?

ACTLabs: Our geological portion of our company which is the founding base for our company which gives us the strength we have in chemistry is an international company. We have locations in Peru, Canada, the US, Brazil, Mongolia. I think we have … we’re opening up in China and a few other places. The materials testing portion where we would do most of this testing is actually only located in Ontario, a large portion of our business is actually from Ontario and Canada. We do have some large American customers just across the border, but we’re definitely looking to expand our clientele that way.

AZoM: Excellent. Alright David, thanks very much for spending a few minutes with us and I hope the rest of the trade show goes very well for you.

ACTLabs: Fabulous, thank you.

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