Spectrotest Analyzes Steel Alloys Including Carbon In Five Seconds

Triple Measurement Speed for Analyses with Spark Excitation Enables Comprehensive Sorting for Steel and Specialty Steel Manufacturers.

Germany, Kleve, October, 2006 - SPECTRO now offers a new application package for the examination of iron-based samples with SPECTROTEST mobile metal analyzers. The application reduces the measurement time for analyses with spark excitation from 15 to five seconds. For the first time, steel and specialty steel manufacturers are able to conduct 100% sorting control that takes all of the relevant elements into consideration, even for large lots. The application report is available at www.spectro.com.

The new application package has been specially developed for SPECTROTEST users with high sample throughput requirements. This includes steel and specialty steel producers as well as metal processors, who manufacture components like flanges, tubes and pipes. With the new SPECTROTEST application package, these users now have the ability to complete very exact sorting control, including the determination of carbon, within five seconds.

Background: Arc versus Spark
"Quality management frequently requires sorting control for the entire production run. Until now, it was very difficult for these customers to economically conduct such comprehensive sorting or quality control. With these special requirements, arc and spark excitation reach their limits," explains Marcus Freit, Product Manager for SPECTRO mobile metal analyzers.

"Arc excitation quickly delivers measurement results; only two to four seconds are required for each sample. However, the disadvantage with arc excitation is that it is not possible to analyze all of the elements required. The determination of carbon is especially difficult. Carbon molecules in the air falsify the results of measurements that are not conducted in an argon chamber (sample probe). This is a serious problem for the steel industry, where many alloys differ only in the carbon content," notes Marcus Freit.

"Spark excitation was never a commonly used alternative: It is possible to examine all of the elements, but up to 15 seconds per sample are required for conventional applications. Piece by piece sampling must be done quickly for large lots - ten to 15 samples per minute. Until now, spark couldn't keep up," he explains.

"Steel producers with high sample throughput requirements had to decide what was more important: Speed or analytical accuracy. Many decided for a compromise. Every product was tested with arc, and spot-checks were conducted with spark excitation, in order to have an overview of the carbon content."

The new application package for the SPECTROTEST eliminates the need for double sampling. By optimizing the measurement parameters, SPECTRO engineers have reduced the analysis time, using spark excitation for iron-based samples, down to just five seconds.

The measurement accuracy has been only slightly reduced. Steel alloyed with approximately 0.2% carbon display a standard deviation of 0.01% with the SPECTROTEST. Similar precision values are obtained for other elements.

"With proper sample preparation, material sorting, even based on the element carbon, is definitely possible," reports Marcus Freit. "The SPECTROTEST is one instrument that is sure to make the grade!"


SPECTRO is one of the worldwide leading suppliers of analytical instruments for optical emission and x-ray fluorescence spectrometry. As a member of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division, SPECTRO manufactures advanced instruments, develops the best solutions for strongly varying applications and provides exemplary customer service. From its foundation in 1979 until today, more than 25,000 analytical instruments have been delivered to customers around the world.

AMETEK, Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electric motors with an annual turnover of approximately 1.6 billion US$. AMETEK's corporate growth plan is based on four key strategies: Operative excellence, strategic acquisitions and alliances, geographic and market expansion as well as new products. AMETEK's common stock is a component of the S&P MidCap 400 Index and the Russell 1000 Index.

Please contact Tom Milner for additional information, Tel: +49 / 28 21 / 8 92-0, Fax: +49 / 28 21/ 8 92-22 00, E-Mail: info@spectro.com

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