Fe samples

Spectrolab Automation

Optical Emission Spectrometry (OES) using arc spark excitation is the preferred method to determine the chemical composition of metallic samples. This process is widely used in the metal making industries, including primary producers, foundries, die casters and manufacturers. Due to its rapid analysis time and inherent accuracy, arc/spark OES systems are most effective in controlling the processing of alloys. The Spectrolab is a stationary metal analyzer and the newest instrument which can meet the individual needs of the end user. The analytical performance can be fully adjusted to your requirements and should be discussed in detail with your Spectro representative.  

In some applications, a laboratory environment has to be simulated to enable the complete automated system to operate in a hostile production environment. This laboratory environment is simulated inside a steel container.
Integration of the sophisticated Spectrolab into automation creates a system which will perform an important task within the total quality management of your company. Together with sample preparation, sample handling and options like labeling, optical inspection, radioactivity inspection, etc., a full fledged system performs with very high analytical accuracy and performance; available almost 24 hours, 7 days a week. If mounted in a container, the precision and quality of the laboratory is available in the hostile environment of production with high temperatures, dirt and dust, and possible mechanical impacts. Very quickly analysis and results can be achieved, because of the lack of time-consuming transportation of the samples through your factory site.

Sample clamp
The automatically operated sample clamp is mounted on the Spectrolab. It is designed to hold all kinds of samples. Furthermore, an automatic electrode cleaner is integrated into the clamp. It is equipped with hardened steel “scrapers”, which effectively clean the electrode-tip. The sample clamp can also be operated manually, so the Spectrolab can be used as a stand-alone unit in the manual mode of the system.
Sample preparation
A very important part of the system is the sample preparation. Good preparation makes the difference between a good and a bad analysis. The choice of the preparation depends on: sample material, the condition and characteristics of the samples and the analytical programs required. The different preparation machines mentioned below all have a long tracking list of experience:
  • Belt grinding machine
  • Grinding machines with a cup and belt
  • Milling machines with two milling heads


Which can be chosen exactly to the material to be milled, from low alloy aluminum to the hardest grades of steel. All of the machines can be easily programmed, so that the customer can adjust the machines to new sample-materials. Grinding dust or milling chips are gathered in bins, which can easily be emptied.


System control

The complete system is controlled by a “master” program. Level 1 control is performed by a PLC to guarantee a very stable control platform for the machines. Logistics, configuration and data processing are conducted by a level 2 industrial PC. Manual operation is also possible. After a request, automatic operation is also possible. After a request, automatic operation is shut down after finishing the currently running procedures. After that, the system is released for manual operation of each component.
The system can be configured to a high degree to the needs of the customer: Data in regards to the samples, analysis programs, preparation programs, tuning of the self-test procedures. Even lay-out of the system can be modified: Number of Spectrolabs, robots and sample preparation units and, of course, all options can be added and/or modified.
Container system
In some applications, a laboratory environment has to be simulated to enable the complete automated system to operate in a hostile production environment. This laboratory environment is simulated inside a steel container, which is equipped with:
  • Heat and noise isolation
  • Air-conditioning system
  • Shock absorbers
  • Electrical and light installation


The metal sample is placed into the container through a door in the container wall. After the sample-ID is entered and the door is closed, a fully automated sample preparation and analysis procedure is started.



The automated system consists of the following components:
  • Spectrolab with sample clamp and electrode cleaner
  • Sample preparation
  • Handling robot
  • Control cabinet
  • Functional options: Sample labeling, optical inspection, radioactivity inspection, weight inspection, etc.
  • Environmental option: Container
  • Optional: Optical control of the sample surface
  • Optional: X-ray analysis


The Milling-machine is a specially designed milling-machine to prepare all kinds of Fe and NON-Fe samples for analysis purposes. The quality of the OES analysis depends very strongly on the quality of the prepared surface of the sample. The Milling-machine is able to prepare the most soft Al samples up to the very hard (70Rc) Fe alloys samples, even including the removal of a burr, may this be the need. 

The machine is easily integrated in a fully robot environment and is able to communicate with the overhead control system. Loading by a robot-system is very easily accomplished. 


The milling operation will take about 30 – 60 sec., dependable on the operation needed for the optimal preparation of the sample. The operator is able to create 1 different program to have a separate program for different kinds of materials. The programming is very easy using the Labiron milling programming, the operator can create these programs himself. The complete control of the system is integrated in the body of the machine, the user interface is mounted in a separate box, hanging at eye-level to facilitate the programming operation. The overall dimensions of the machine are kept very small to be able to use this system even if the available space is very little (as in container systems).
Cooling of the samples during milling can be done using air, or a specially chosen synthetic oil. In both cases there is no need for an air extraction unit. The availability of the machine is very high, as the container for the possible oil is large enough for 72 hours use of the system in normal circumstances. 



The Milling-machine consists of the following components:
  • Two spindle concept with a quickly interchangeable milling head construction
  • Automated sample clamp
  • Measurement of height
  • Cooling through air or a special synthetic oil
  • Big tray for the metal chips and milling waste
  • The milling compartment is completely covered for safety reasons and to prevent chips flying around during milling.
  • Optional: Loading/unloading unit to create a semi-automatic use of the machine
  • Optional: Carousel for 20 samples
  • Optional: Sample transport system


Energy and data

  • Electrical feed: 1,5 kW
  • Electrical spindle power: 4 kW
  • Electrical connection: 400 V, 50 Hz 3 Phase N
  • Air connection: minimal 6 bar, max 10 bar (dry non-condensing)
  • Dimensions: W x D x H: 955 x 855 x 1800mm
  • Weight: 2200 kg


Today, in addition to "normal" bulk analysis, the increasing quality control of metals requires additional testing and diagnosis methods. The knowledge of the homogeneity of metals with respect to possible segregation and the number of inclusions is increasingly becoming a requirement in addition to normal "elemental" analysis. The traditional technologies for the study and analysis of the homogeneity, like Baumann printing and macro etching for segregation detection as well as the use of Optical microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy for inclusion analysis, are very time consuming. Especially the microscopic investigations are often limited to small surfaces. A scanning apparatus as in addition to a stationary Optical Emission Spectrometer has been developed to enable a fast characterization and indication of the macro and micro homogeneity of metals.

Coming soon.


The mapping system consists of the following components:
  • Spectrolab 2007 edition
  • X-Y movable table and servo controlled X-Y movement
  • Sample clamping device with manually adjustable weight compensation
  • Industrial PC for movement control and data handling
  • Raster scan X-Y spectrometer data acquisition software
  • Spark view data processing and presentation software


Data processing and presentation software

  • Up to 30 elements measured simultaneously
  • 8 of the 30 elements can be freely selected for multi element displays
Display of linear single scan in:
  • Single element single scan and multi scan mode
  • Multi element single scan mode
  • 2D plot scan in fast plot mode, interpolated plot mode, Histogram plot
  • Multiple single spark analysis: single burns in an array configuration
  • Multiple scanning windows



  • Track width: about 2mm
  • Detection area: 110 x 125 mm
  • Maximum sample size: L x W x H: 120 x 145 x 25mm