Following the recent release of the Katanax X-600 automated fluxing machine for producing XRF fusion beads we had Magid Sawiris, Chief Chemist at Ravensthorpe Nickel Operations (RNO), owned by FQM Australia Nickel Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals Limited evaluate the system.
RNO operate an open cut nickel and cobalt mine producing mixed hydroxide precipitates through a highly technical hydrometallurgical process.
Magid’s state-of-the-art laboratory provides technical support for their entire operation. As such they are required to analyse samples from all areas of the operation, from minesite ore through to final product. The results they produce can have a direct impact on plant efficiency, productivity and ultimately profitability.
One of the key technologies they employ is XRF which provides elemental compositions of samples. To produce results of sufficient accuracy and reliability, fusion beads are the only solution. To date, they have been using an upgraded Katanax K2 Prime which can process 6 samples simultaneously.
Following installation of the new Katanax X-600 and comparison with the K2 Prime, Magid said “Katanax have obviously listened to the feedback from users of previous models. The X-600 has a much more robust design and other features that are improvements that will endure the rigors of a modern high volume production laboratory and should produce better reliability and longevity.”
Some of these features that Magid was referring to include a higher content of ceramic componentry that can better deal with the heat, heating elements located away from the samples providing better protection from evolved gases and element redundancy, which means the system can continue to operate if you lose an element.
RNO trialed the system for 6 weeks in which time the X-600 was run 24/7, performing a minimum of 20 cycles per day. This resulted in the production of well over 5000 fusion beads. At the conclusion of the trial, he remarked, “the X-600 did everything it was supposed to do. It performed faultlessly in the time we had it. It was easy to use and to the best of my knowledge, is the most advanced system on the market. When the time comes, I would certainly be interest in buying one!”
AXT distribute Katanax automated fusion machines in Australia. For more details please visit www.axt.com.au or contact [email protected]