New XRF Enhances Mineral Testing Capabilities

By Paul Fears | 22 July 2019

The purchase of a new X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyser enhances the mineral testing capabilities of the Bunting test laboratory based at the manufacturing facility in Redditch, UK.  Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science, based in Abingdon, UK, supplied the X-MET8000 Expert XRF analyser and provided comprehensive training for the technical staff at Bunting.

Handheld XRF in operation

The Science of X-Ray Fluorescence

X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is the emission of characteristic secondary (or fluorescent) X-rays from a material that has been excited by being bombarded with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays.  The phenomenon is widely used for elemental analysis and chemical analysis, particularly in the investigation of minerals, metals, glass, ceramics, and building materials.

The Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science X-MET8000 range of handheld X-ray fluorescence (HHXRF) analysers enables rapid alloy grade identification and accurate chemistry of a wide variety of materials (including solid and powder metals, polymers, solutions, ores, and minerals).

The purchased X-MET8000 is custom-made to provide complete chemical analysis of mineral and soil samples tested in the Master Magnets laboratory facility.  Extra analysis packages allow for the assay of rare earth metals in mineral deposits, which are a major commercial interest to mining houses.  The X-MET provides great light elements (Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl) analysis, thereby providing a comprehensive analysis tool for most mineral development projects.

The additional metal alloy package makes it suitable for analysis of metal fractions from waste recycling applications.  This is ideal when conducting tests on the Eddy Current Separator and Stainless Steel Separator in the recently built recycling test facility.

Analysis data viewed on a laptop computer

In practice, the new XRF enables the quick and efficient evaluation of separated fractions.  Such immediate analysis leads to fine adjustment of the equipment to maximise the separation performance.  Once the tests are completed, the technicians make detailed and accurate recommendations on the design of the magnetic separator, the operating criteria, and the separation performance.

“This latest investment in our test facility means we are able to provide our customers with a more complete service,” explained Adrian Coleman, the Bunting-Redditch General Manager.  “Many projects are time-critical and our ability to analyse the materials in-house significantly shortens the testing process, whilst enabling our technicians to fine-tune the equipment to maximise the separation performance.”

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