Quality managing editor Michelle Banger sat down with Andrew Hanasek from Evident to talk about XRF.

Michelle: Evident recently wrote an article about XRF for quality, and obviously there's so many applications, but can you start off by telling us how XRF could improve quality?

Andrew: Yeah, it's like you said, there's a lot of broad applications, which makes it pretty exciting to work with. So I think it kind of depends on how you're approaching your problem. For a lot of manufacturing, I think PMI or positive material identification adds some real value to the process. So not only are you sure that you have the right thing, but you have a record of it. And you can prove that with your customers so that they don't have doubts that maybe something happened at the factory and they get the wrong thing that ends up at their door. And with that, I'm more focused on the automated version of XRF. So I like to think a lot about the process of something being made. And now you'd be able to inspect say 100% of your product by putting this device in line your process. It's also very valuable for just process control, right? So maybe you're doing something like electroplating and you wanna make sure that you have the right amount of material to land on your product and not have drops or spikes throughout the process that would cause things to not be as uniform. So I find those extremely helpful in the manufacturing world.

But you could also be in more of an environmental kind of exploratory space. And you want to have automated soil samples so that you can use that. And a lot of that sometimes comes down to handwriting or human error can come in. It's a lot of tests. It takes a lot of focus. If you get distracted, maybe you write down the wrong number and it throws off your data. So having XRF automatically collect that data. It really helps optimize their process. And lastly, I would say is more ROHS compliance. So if you're making circuit boards or just general products, sometimes you're not looking to make sure something's there, you're looking to make sure something isn't there. That shouldn't be. So you can be sure that you're not having any hazardous or lead materials on something that isn't supposed to be there. And then you can confirm that it is in fact not.

Michelle: Yeah. So many different areas. And that's interesting about automation. I feel like that's such a big topic and so important. And as well as 100% inspection, I feel like, you know, that's so important to people and, you know, more and more people want that. So that's great. So for people who are using the technology, or I guess considering it, is there anything you think that they should know about using it?

Andrew: Yeah, definitely. I think for me, it's to think about it that there's two ways potentially that you can approach XRF. And for some people, they're thinking about what is this? I'm trying to find out what's in here. Maybe there's some information that I can collect. And if I put it all together, I can maybe connect some dots and learn something new. But then there's also a whole other side that's making sure I know what it's supposed to be and I want to make sure that it is. So this gives you the ability to confirm with 100% confidence that this is exactly what you expected it to be. So you have a lot of knowns and you want to just confirm. But you can also use XRF when you have a bunch of unknowns and use it as a tool to find the information you're looking for. I think another big thing is also advanced, whereas a lot of PhDs or research people that are very deep into their fields might have very specific things that they're looking for. And that's great. And XRF fits that very well, but it also can be very straightforward. It doesn't have to be this big investment of time to set up a simple pass fail. If you know what you're looking for, we know what the specs are. We can just shoot each thing and then we know, yep, yep, yep, and you can continue on your way. So there's a broad way of applying it that doesn't have to always be super complex, but it still accomplishes the task easily and efficiently.

Michelle: That sounds comforting for people. Like you said, if people are kind of newer to the field and like you said, a lot of high tech. Right, the chemistry can be a little overwhelming sometimes if you're not used to that or if you're not in that field, you're like, why, what is all this information?

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