Top 5 Ways You Will Profit Using Handheld LIBS for Scrap Metal Sorting

Posted by Colt Carolan on Feb 26, 2020 11:38:50 AM
Colt Carolan
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Handheld LIBS has been around for the better part of a decade but there are still many scrappers out there that either don't know what it is or don't believe in the benefits.

For starters, LIBS guns use a laser, instead of x-ray radiation, for scrap metal sorting.

But I get it. Handheld XRF has been around awhile and is a tried-and-true technology. It's the safe play when the new, laser-based option rolls into the yard promising you the world.

I am not here to promise you the world. Handheld XRF still has its place in some yards, but we are seeing more and more customers see great results after using Handheld LIBS for Scrap Metal Sorting. So what keeps them happy when it comes to LIBS? Utility, Safety, and Profitability.

For that reason, I urge you to consider adding it to your metal testing toolbox so you can reap these 5 benefits:

  1. Faster Sorting

  2. Safer Sorting

  3. No Expensive Repairs

  4. Better Light Element Performance

  5. No Radiation Regulation Headaches

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Let me explain...

1. Sort Faster! 1-Second Test Times!

If you are still in the yard holding that old XRF trigger for 5, 10, or even 20 seconds on your scrap metals, there is a better way! Laser-based LIBS technology can identify your metals in as little as 1 second. 1 SECOND! Not to mention, since there is no radiation coming from the analyzer, you can hold pieces in your hand while you shoot the metal. That kind of productivity upgrade does not come around often.Rigaku KT-100S Testing Piece in Hand

Consider upgrading to a LIBS and watch your team's productivity improve by a factor of 10!



2. Sort Safer! No Radiation!

Can you imagine if you didn't know about handheld XRF and someone came up to you and said...

"Hey, you know how when you get X-rays at the dentist office, they have to put that lead apron on you and then they run away from you? Well...If you want to know what that piece of metal is, I need you to use a similar device except you hold it in your hand and you don't get any protection. Sound good?"

Seriously? Did you know that only 12 exposures to an XRF gun over the course of ONE YEAR hits the recommended limit? NO THANKS!Rigaku KT-100S LIBS No Radiation Concern

Well, thankfully, it's 2020 and you no longer have to use radiation to identify all of your metals. Laser-based technology like handheld LIBS is a proven and viable alternative to handheld XRF for alloy grade identification in many cases.

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3. Avoid Costly Repairs and Lower the Cost of Ownership

If you have ever had to pay for a repair to your handheld XRF, you know exactly what I am talking about. With expensive, fragile components like X-ray tubes & detectors, repairs can cost upwards of $6,000-$10,000 or more depending on the make and model. Not to mention the unexpected downtime that will come with sending it out for repair and waiting weeks or months to get it back.

LIBS analyzers were built with this in mind. They can withstand a drop or two (OR 26) with MIL-STD 810 & IP54Rigaku KT-100S LIBS MIL-STD 810 Drop Tested ratings for ruggedness and weatherproofing. Good luck breaking one accidentally. No flimsy films "protecting" the laser here. But hey, most analytical components out there won't last forever and when the laser does go out, in 5+ years, it won't cost more than $4,000.

Don't wait for the next XRF repair to break the bank. Upgrade to a LIBS gun.


4. Sort Your Aluminum Alloys Easier and Faster

The laser-based analysis used in LIBS guns is better than XRF for measuring light elements like Magnesium and Silicon. This allows for much faster, safer, and more reliable sorting of Aluminum alloys and other metals where light elements are the key difference maker. No more Aluminum Downgrades!

Check out the table below to see how LIBS compares to the average, light-element capable XRF for Aluminum alloys and other non-ferrous alloys.

Alloys Identified in 3 seconds or less by LIBS How Does Handheld XRF Perform?
All Cast Aluminum Alloys < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Si measurement
2XXX Series with Lithium < 3 seconds Cannot Do Lithium
All 5000 Series < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Mg measurement
2014 vs 2024 < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Mg measurement
3003 vs 3004 vs 3005 < 3 seconds Requires 20+ seconds for proper Mg measurement
3105 < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for Mg detection of 0.2-0.8%
4032 < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Si measurement
1100 vs 6061 vs 6063 < 3 seconds Requires 30+ seconds to measure Mg & Si properly
Aluminum Bronzes < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Al measurement
Silicon Bronzes < 3 seconds Requires 15+ seconds for proper Si measurement
Beryllium Coppers < 3 seconds Cannot Do Beryllium

NOTE: LIBS can also identify Steels, Nickels, and other Ferrous Alloys in 3 seconds or less.


5. No Radiation Regulatory Headaches

Not only will you not be exposing yourself to the hazards of radiation, you won't have the headaches that come with government regulation of radiation-emitting devices.

As of 2020, handheld LIBS devices are only regulated in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Texas. Even then, the restrictions are not nearly as severe with only registration and safety glasses as requirements. A lot less safety training and hassle wherever you are using LIBS.

But no matter where you may be testing your metals, we recommend safety glasses as a precaution. Like any laser you have ever encountered, don't point the LIBS gun at anyone's eye...especially yours!

SO there you have it. If you want to increase profits and lower your risks in the scrap yard, Handheld LIBS can help you by:

  1. Sorting your scrap faster with 1-second testing and holding samples in your hand.
  2. Sorting your scrap safer with No Radiation.
  3. Lowering the cost of ownership with No Expensive Repairs and Rugged Builds.
  4. Sorting your Aluminum Alloys Easier, Faster, and Accurately.
  5. Removing the Regulation Headaches caused by the Radiation of Handheld XRF.

By the way, if you want to experience these benefits for yourself, contact us for a demonstration and we will be happy to stop by and show you what greater profitability looks like in your hands.


ISRI 2020 may have been canceled but our ISRI 2020 Specials are not. Check out our 0% Interest/ 0 Money Down/ 0 Payments for 90 Days offer on brand new Rigaku KT-100S LIBS units.

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Topics: Aluminum, KT-100S, LIBS, Scrap Metal

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