Internet Benefits to XRF Operators: learning, training and servicing

There is no need to start this blog entry off with an overview of how the internet has changed our day to day lives.  Most people realize how it can save time, keep us connected, educate, etc.  This entry is about how the internet has benefited the users of Quickshot XRF analyzers…in all phases of a relationship with end-users the internet is helping us connect with interested contacts, educate them and save them time.

Web-Demonstrations: know what XRF technology can do
For about one year we have been able to allow interested parties to view an x-ray fluorescence analyzer from their facility.  No travel is needed to see the system in use; the software package is actually on their computer screen and in full operation.  During these demonstrations they can consult with a technical advisor and (hopefully) realize the benefits of the QSX software and XRF technology.

Training Opportunities: understand the technology better
Typically, thanks to streamlined software packages, end-users of Quickshot XRF analyzers only require an operation manual and training videos to begin obtaining accurate results.  Of course, we offer the option of on-site installation/training but we are now able to offer web-cam training as well.  Web-cam training allows us to clarify points and streamline the education of an end-user…while eliminating the costs associated with traveling for on-site service.  The web-cam training can even be recorded for the specific customer so that they can refer to it afterwards.

Remote Service / Support: minimizing down-time
Using the same technology as our web-demo’s and training, we are able to resolve software related questions or “issues” while limiting downtime that would otherwise occur from phone consultation or technician travel time.  By actually taking control of a users computer and instrument software, our technical staff can quickly troubleshoot and resolve software related concerns – saving a customer down-time and potential profits.

A recent example of this was a West Coast user of the QSX-295T that was digging into areas of the software they didn’t need to and “adjusted” something.  The resulting measurements were not what were expected but it was actually a simple fix – however, just a few years back our technical staff would have had to trouble shoot through the phone and hoped that they could pick up on everything.  With remote evaluation service, however, the end-user passed control of their system to our technical staff and within a few minutes we were able to identify the error and resolve the problem remotely…limiting the time involved…and time is money.

At QSX Instruments, we pride ourselves on offering top support to organizations that choose our analyzers for their testing needs.  We do our best to insure that any questions or concerns are answered timely and effectively – now the internet is helping with that effort.   We will continue to review how the internet can help us help you…feel free to offer up any suggestions!

XRF Price Question

This was a great question I heard recently while discussing the QSX-295T…

A gold buyer looking into all of his x-ray fluorescence options asked me “Why can your system be so much less than the competition?”  Before I could answer he followed that by saying “…when I ask your competition why theirs are so much more than yours they couldn’t really tell me why.”

The answer is that while all XRF analyzers are similar in the basic components of an x-ray tube, high voltage power supply, solid state detector, etc. the difference in cost is that other analyzers are designed to be more versatile machines…developed to test for a wide range of applications.  Because of this, other systems require additional (costly) features or components like automatic filters, multiple collimators, etc.

The Quickshot XRF QSX-295T was designed specifically for identifying gold karat and precious metal content; this means it does not have features that a gold buyer or refiner doesn’t require for accurate analysis.  Therefore, the user of the QSX-295T gets a very reasonably priced system that still performs as well, or better, than the other models on the market.

Contact QSX Instruments (here) to discuss this and other topics relating to x-ray fluorescence.

Testimonial: QSX-295T gold/precious metal buyer

When I first talked to Quickshot XRF representatives they suggested the QSX-295T for my gold, and precious metal, buying needs.  However, I did start with the lower cost QSX-79T and quickly realized the limitations discussed were present.  The staff of QSX worked with me to make sure I was satisfied and I was able to upgrade to a QSX-295T.  This analyzer has been what they said it would be – accurate, consistent and able to handle a variety of metals and sample mixes.

I am very pleased with the QSX-295T; it is easy to use, doesn’t require calibrations and provides results on par with much more expensive analyzers.

Dan D.
San Antonio, TX
Jeweler/Gold Buyer

At Quickshot XRF we try to help potential users get the best x-ray fluorescence system to meet their needs.  Organizations have a variety of reasons for moving forward as they see fit but the end goal of Quickshot XRF is the end-users satisfaction and we’ll always work for that…if that’s additional training, upgrading a system, etc.

Learn more about the QSX-295Tprecious-metal-assay-equipment

Quickshot XRF Looks Back Then Forward

XRF New YearsAt the end of every year, many organizations reflect on the past year and set goals for the new one.  At Quickshot XRF, we look back and are pleased with our approach to promoting XRF Analyzers by discussing a potential users needs, educating them honestly and providing support as needed.  We look forward to opening new doors in the New Year with this approach.

As you may know from looking around the site, we have had a focus on two applications – precious metals analysis and hazardous substance detection.  Those are the focus as we look back on 2010.

          Gold Testing / Precious Metals Analysis

A growing interest for gold buyers and precious metal refiners is adding XRF technology to maximize profits (among other benefits).  At the start of 2010 many looked to low-cost XRF technology that used Proportional Counter detection systems.  However, the limitations became clear (no matter what some XRF Sales organizations say) and many looked to the more advanced QSX-295T for their testing needs.  With redesigned software and some hardware adjustments, the QSX-295T finished with a strong year – providing what the gold buyers need…versatile metal identification with accuracy and speed.  While it may not be as low-cost as the QSX-79T, the QSX-295T performs much better and is on par in performance with systems that cost substantially more than it.

In 2011?  We look forward to educating potential users on the proper technology to meet their gold buying and precious metal identification interests.  Also, we have a new distributor relationship that will be announced soon; they will focus on this testing need.

          Hazardous Substance Detection

The primary use of the QSX Handheld XRF has been identification of lead, cadmium and additional heavy metals in consumer goods and electronics.  CPSIA, Proposition-65 and RoHS remain a concern for many organizations and we are pleased to offer a budget friendly method for reliable in-house testing.  We have been selected by sporting good and clothing manufacturers, toy and accessory importers and even some non-profit groups to provide a simple solution to their testing interest.

In 2011?  The handheld analyzer is a great performer for hazardous substance detection; the focus in 2011 will be to let more organizations looking for testing solutions know about QSX…and our rental plan, which has an option to credit 100% of a rental fee towards the purchase price.

          Overall in 2011…?

We will continue providing potential users of XRF technology with the information they require to make educated decisions.  In terms of instrument performance, last year we focused on perfecting our analyzers for the primary markets that we service and moving into 2011, we look to expand the use of our handheld analyzer.  We have software packages for the handheld that can be the solution for many additional testing needs and we look forward to introducing our line of x-ray fluorescence to these industries.

We hope you have an excellent holiday season and everybody at Quickshot XRF hopes to have an opportunity to help you meet your testing needs in 2011…

XRF Technology: Detection Systems; a major component

A question that Quickshot XRF associates are often asked is “What is the difference between the QSX-79T and QSX-295T?”  These popular analyzers are very similar, following standard x-ray fluorescence technology, but the major difference is in the detection system each unit utilizes.  You can request overview literature that details how the detection systems affect those two analyzers (request here), but below is a brief overview of the detection systems used in Quickshot XRF analyzers.

A quick overview of the component: The detection system of an x-ray fluorescence instrument collects the energy that results from displaced electrons in the form of an x-ray.  The peak intensities of emitted x-rays are characteristic of the elements contained in the sample and provide information about the elements concentrations that is processed by the software of an XRF analyzer.  Detection systems are selected for an instrument based on their resolution, count rates, ability to filter out background and the testing need the analyzer is being developed to solve.

Proportional Counter Detector Tube:
One of the earliest detection systems, this style does provide an excellent solution for coating thickness measurements when combined with the proper software.  Because of its low cost it has been adapted in gold testing equipment (like the QSX-79T) in recent years, but while it provides reasonable results on gold, it is fairly limited compared to the other analyzers available for gold and precious metals analysis.

Si-PIN Detection System:
While previous detection systems that reached the resolutions that Si-PIN detectors reach required Liquid Nitrogen (LN2) to cool the detector, Si-PIN technology does not require LN2.  The resolution allows an analyzer using Si-PIN to separate elemental peaks with greater definition and the instrument will offer greater accuracy over a broader range of elements.  It is much more economical than the next detection system developed (SDD, see below) and Si-PIN provides excellent results for precious metals identification; so it is featured in the QSX-295T.

Silicon Drift Detector (SDD):
One of the newer options in the Quickshot XRF line-up of instruments, this technology was developed in the early 2000’s and provides the benefit of detecting lighter elements than Si-PIN systems.  For most applications this is not important (and can not justify the cost increase) but the technology has its place in laboratory settings and will be featured in a new handheld analyzer from QSX.

Quickshot XRF appreciates the questions about XRF technology and hopes to highlight a few more answers in future blog entries.  Feel free to leave a comment/question about an aspect of the technology or contact us to discuss – and, if you are considering the QSX-79T and QSX-295T, be sure to request an overview of their differences (request here).