Spark spectrometry (spark OES) works by igniting the plasma created by a high-energy spark discharged in an argon atmosphere between the sample and the counter-electrode. Measuring the light emitted during this process enables simultaneous quantitative analysis of all required chemical elements in less than 30 seconds. It is thus possible to detect all metals, semimetals as well as a number of non-metals like, for instance, carbon, phosphorous, sulphur, oxygen or nitrogen. With that, spark spectrometry constitutes an outstanding quality control process for the metal producing and processing industry. Spark spectrometry is suitable for production control and R&D purposes just as for incoming materials control and utilising secondary raw materials containing iron, nickel, cobalt, aluminium, copper, magnesium, zinc, lead, titanium…

OBLF Spark Spectrometers

Our spectrometer models differ with regard to the number of matrices and elements that need to be determined. All of our systems are characterised by excellent long-term stability (vacuum optics), low operating costs (patented spark stand with minimised argon consumption) and low maintenance needs (e.g. automated purging of the spark stand). The number of analysis channels our systems provide is specially tailored to suit customer requirements. Each device is separately calibrated using certified reference materials.

  • GS 1000-II

    The GS 1000-II, the smallest member of the OBLF family, is a single matrix spark emission spectrometer for all standard applications. Thanks to its compact and solid construction as well as its simple operation, it is ideal for use in production environments like foundries, but also for the purpose of incoming goods and materials control. In order to guarantee independence from the external conditions surrounding the spectrometer, the detectors (photomultipliers) and the integration system are housed in the temperature-stabilised vacuum optics. The analytic capability covers the precise analysis of short-wave elements like carbon, phosphorous, sulphur and nitrogen in steel or cast iron and phosphorous in aluminium.

    Benefits
    compact spectrometer
    GDS III spark source
    vacuum optics
    self-cleaning spark stand
    „mini-GISS“ as option
    double electrode system as option
    More Infos
    Like with all OBLF spectrometers, the electrical spark is generated with the help of a Gated Digital Source (GDS), which enables simple determination of the best possible excitation parameters combined with short analysis times. The maintenance needs are low thanks to the easily accessible, self-cleaning spark stand. Our special, patented gas-supply system was optimised to keep argon consumption to a minimum, which results in very low operating costs.

    Apart from on-screen display and output via a printer, the analysis results can also be made available to superordinate systems via a network connection. Our spectrometer software, OBLFwin, whose parameters can be set to suit the tasks of the individual customer, contains materials control, automatic program selection and machine monitoring options using control samples. The customer-specific calibration of the spectrometer is usually performed at OBLF’s premises, whereby we can also take samples provided by our customers into account.

    Precise instructions on how to operate the spectrometer and use the software are naturally given during installation. The customer only has to ensure availability of a power and an argon supply.

    Technical Data
    Optics

    spectrometer in Paschen-Runge mounting
    Rowland circle diameter 500 mm
    wavelength range 140-770 nm
    optics and read-out electronics temperature stabilised to ± 0.1°C for excellent long-term stability
    automatic computer controlled profiling
    coma corrected slits
    PMT types selected according to the respective wavelength
    shock resistance
    Vacuum System

    evacuated light metal chamber
    maintenance free 2-stage rotary vane pump
    vacuum pump integrated in cabinet
    pump duty cycle
  • VIOS

    Featuring cutting-edge detector technology on the basis of semiconductor detectors that were specially developed for emission spectroscopy, OBLF’s VeOS spark emission spectrometer enables versatile, flexible and quick analysis of all common metallic materials. The analytical spectrum also includes the precise analysis of short wavelength elements like nitrogen or low carbon.
    Benefits
    Complete and flexible inclusion of all analytical tasks
    Easily extendable features
    The latest, specially developed detector technology
    Excellent performance with regard to detection limit, precision, stability
    Robust design for use in heavy-duty environments
    Most comprehensive multi-matrix application options without any restrictions
    regarding the selection of elements for analysis
    Accurate detection of N and traces of carbon (ULC)
    More Infos
    OBLF’s VeOS is the first spark spectrometer to feature a semiconductor-based detector system whose analytical performance – including the spectral resolution required for a laboratory spectrometer – is every bit as good as established photomultiplier-based systems. This brand new photo-detector technology was specifically developed for spark emission spectroscopy and guarantees excellent results over the entire required wavelength range of 130 to 800 nm. The design of the light-sensitive detectors, which are characterised by a surface that is 100 times more light sensitive than detectors found in conventional systems, was specially adapted to suit the requirements of emission spectroscopy. As a result, this is the first device to offer the best possible combination of spectral sensitivity and spectral resolution along with an innovative design that both guarantees OBLF’s well-known quality and the greatest flexibility of use.

    In addition to this, the VeOS model comes in a new, operator-friendly housing. Being both simple to operate and of compact, solid design, the spectrometer is highly suitable for use in production environments but also for goods receipt and materials control purposes as well as in test labs with diverse analytical tasks. Subsequent extensions of the analytical capabilities are easily possible without having to make major system changes.

    In order to guarantee that external conditions at the place of installation cannot influence the system, the detectors and the specially developed readout system have been housed in the temperature-stabilised vacuum optical system. As in all OBLF spectrometers, the VeOS makes use of maintenance-free, digital GDS III excitation, which, in conjunction with short analysis times, enables optimised spark discharges to be generated for any given application. Thanks to OBLF’s patented automatic pulse cleaning system, the optimised spark stand only requires very infrequent maintenance and can be operated at low cost. The new Windows®-based spectrometer software, OBLFWin, permits simple operation of the machine and offers all the usual settings needed for spark spectroscopy.

    Technical Data
    Optics

    spectrometer in Paschen-Runge mounting
    Rowland circle diameter 500 mm
    wavelength range 130-700 nm
    optics and read-out electronics temperature stabilised to ± 0.1°C for excellent long-term stability
    cooled optics and read-out system
    automatic computer controlled profiling
    optimised detector lines for each wavelength region
    high UV sensitivity without sensor coating
    shock resistance
    Vacuum System

    evacuated light metal chamber
    maintenance free 2-stage rotary vane pump
    vacuum pump integrated in cabinet
    pump duty cycle
  • QSN 750-II

    Our QSN 750-II model is a spark emission spectrometer that can be used as a single- or multi-matrix system thanks to its 750 mm vacuum optics. This results in a broad field of application, which not only covers the entire range of metal producing and processing enterprises, but also includes a large spectrum of options for material testers and testing institutes. Both the integration system and the photomultipliers, which are arranged in accordance with customer specifications, are housed inside the optics and are therefore protected against external influences. The temperature-stabilised optics and the Gated Digital Source (GDS) technology guarantee a high degree of signal reproducibility and thus analytical constancy. The easy-to-reach self-cleaning and patented spark stand and aperture window enable problem-free maintenance by the user. An exhaust filter ensures the consumed argon is purged.
    Benefits
    multi matrix applications
    up to 64 PMT element channels
    GDS III spark genetator
    vacuum system
    self-cleaning spark stand
    suitable for automated systems
    double electrode system as option
    automatic electrode cleaning as option
    More Infos
    In contrast to its GS 1000-II “little brother”, the QSN 750-II can also be used within automated production environments. In such cases, the spectrometer is combined with a sample-preparation device and a sample-handling robot to form a single unit, which naturally also ensures automatic cleaning of the counter-electrode. The analysis results are transferred online to the superordinate computer system using a network connection. In order to guarantee optimum quality control, the spectrometer initiates any necessary control sample readings at certain time intervals, whereby the robot is again responsible for sample handing. With the help of previously defined limiting values, the spectrometer automatically monitors control samples. Key system functions are permanently monitored and if necessary this information is transmitted to other systems.

    A large number of analysis programs can arise especially when using multi-matrix systems to perform extensive analytical tasks. For this reason, the matching spectrometer software, OBLFwin, provides numerous individual programming options to perfectly suit user requirements. In addition, the automatic program selection option simplifies assignment of the right analysis program. Depending on the application, the measured values appear on screen approx. 16-30 seconds after the start of the measuring process and can then be printed out, transferred within the network or evaluated later.

    Precise instructions on how to operate the QSN 750-II model and use the software are naturally given during installation. The customer only has to ensure availability of a power and an argon supply.

    Technical Data
    Optics

    spectrometer in Paschen-Runge mounting
    Rowland circle diameter 750 mm
    wavelength range 110-770 nm
    optics and read-out electronics temperature stabilised to ± 0.1°C for excellent long-term stability
    automatic computer controlled profiling
    coma corrected slits
    PMT types selected according to the respective wavelength
    shock resistance
    Vacuum System

    evacuated light metal chamber
    maintenance free 2-stage rotary vane pump
    vacuum pump integrated in cabinet
    pump duty cycle
  • QSG 750-II

    Our QSG 750-II spark emission spectrometer can also be called OBLF’s flagship model. This single- or multi-matrix model is ideal for all applications demanding the lowest possible detection limits, the highest degree of reproducibility and additional metallurgical information about the analyte. The application spectrum goes from primary producers like steel mills or other smelteries through metal-processing companies right up to research institutes and universities.

    At first glance, the QSG 750-II is comparable with the QSN 750-II model. The main difference lies in the data logging system, which is based on the GISS technology (Gated Integration of Single Sparks) developed by OBLF. Given identical dimensions, it is also fitted with tried-and-tested hardware components like the temperature-stabilised 750 mm vacuum optics, the Gated Digital Source (GDS) technology with freely definable parameters and the patented, self-cleaning spark stand. An exhaust filter ensures consumed argon is purged. The easy accessibility of all key device parts simplifies service tasks that need to be performed by the user.
    Benefits
    multi matrix applications
    up to 64 PMT element channels
    GDS III spark genetator
    vacuum system
    self-cleaning spark stand
    suitable for automated systems
    gated integration (GISS)
    inclusion analysis (GISS)
    double electrode system with ULB as option
    automatic electrode cleaning as option
    More Infos
    The QSG 750-II uses the GISS (Gated Integration of Single Sparks) data logging system, developed by OBLF. In combination with logging and online processing of the single spark intensities of all measuring channels, time-resolved spectroscopy gives rise to many additional applications.

    Single spark spectrometry (or PDA – pulse distributed analysis), for instance, provides critical information about the microscopic composition of the sample. In this respect, key words are the detection of inhomogeneous samples, differentiation between dissolved and undissolved components (e.g. aluminium in steel) as well as the detection and determination of inclusions. To ensure best possible use can be made of these options, the OBLFwin software not only includes all standard functions (materials control, automatic program selection, etc.), but also provides additional features that permit simple definition of parameters when a bad sample is detected or when analysing inclusions. All the single spark data can be made available for export to other computer systems.

    Time-resolved spectroscopy can reduce spectral interference and substantially improve the detection limits of many elements in comparison to standard spectrometers. This opens up completely new avenues when analysing pure metals.

    All of the QSG 750-II model’s many functions are available for manual and automated operation, as many applications have shown in the steel industry in particular. In such cases, sample handling is performed by a robot and the counter-electrode is cleaned by a special unit fitted to the spark stand. The measured values are automatically transferred to superordinate systems using a network connection. Integrated software modules control and monitor the functionality of the spectrometer. These functions also include analysing control and recalibration samples.

    Precise instructions on how to operate the QSG 750-II model and use the software are naturally given during installation. The customer only has to ensure availability of a power and an argon supply.

    Technical Data
    Optics

    spectrometer in Paschen-Runge mounting
    Rowland circle diameter 750 mm
    wavelength range 110-770 nm
    optics and read-out electronics temperature stabilised to ± 0.1°C for excellent long-term stability
    automatic computer controlled profiling
    coma corrected slits
    PMT types selected according to the respective wavelength
    shock resistance
    Vacuum System

    evacuated light metal chamber
    maintenance free 2-stage rotary vane pump
    vacuum pump integrated in cabinet
    pump duty cycle
  • DOUBLE ELECTRODE SYSTEMS

    Conventional Systems
    Sample analysis using spark emission spectrometry usually requires at least two sparkings at various positions on the sample surface to ensure any inhomogeneities such as inclusions and blow holes are detected and a realistic average can be calculated. Since the sample has to be moved between the measurings, the total analysis time is therefore made up not only of the time taken for the sparkings but also the time for positioning and re-positioning of the sample.

    Across the years, the demand of further shortening of the analysis time has arisen – especially by primary producers as foundries and steelworks. In the beginning, we were able to fulfill this with higher pre-sparking energies and spark frequencies, but the physical limits are now hit. Therefore, OBLF has introduced a completely new technique which is as stunning easy as effective.

    Double Electrode Spark Stand
    On an analysis, the sample is positioned on the hole of the spark stand, which is argon-flushed before sparking in order to cast out air. By high-voltage application an electric spark is created between the electrode and the sample. The created erosion of sample material is atomized and thermally stimulated in the plasma. On the sample a burn spot is marked. For the next measuring the sample must be moved. So far so good! But why not shape the spark stand hole oval instead of circular in order to include two instead of one electrodes? Hereby it would be possible to perform measurings on two different positions without moving the sample. No sooner said than done. We call the new spark stand double electrode spark stand.

    The time saving is not only limited to the re-positioning of the sample, but also the purge is only made once, as both electrodes are in the same spark stand. Additionally, by introduction of a new, high-performance excitation generator with higher frequency, it is possible to prespark both burn spots alternating without their plasmas influencing each other. The following exposure times (Exp.) are simply executed in rotation. The following time schemes show the time saving by comparing the standard and the double electrode spark stand on example of a steel sample.





    Whereas a complete analysis including nitrogen takes about 40 seconds on a standard spark stand, it only needs 23 seconds when using a double electrode spark stand. The calculated concentration of both burn spots are displayed on the screen as separate sparkings, which are automatically averaged when inside the tolerances. This means: press start once, wait 23 seconds, analysis done. It´s as simple as that! The double electrode spark stand is available for our spectrometer models QSG 750-II, QSN 750-II and GS 1000-II.

    ULB (Use of Light Breaks)
    OBLF has included a special treat on QSG 750-II instruments using double electrode spark stand: in addition to the presparking, the exposure times are alternating, too. As all light impulses are captured by the integration system, each individual spark signal is separately integrated and the values are saved specific to the electrodes. We use the break on electrode 1 to create a spark on electrode 2. The utilization of these breaks leads to the name of the technique: ULB = Use of Light Breaks, exemplarily to be seen in following drawing:



    ULB_Schedule_GBR

    The analysis time is hereby further reduced to a total of less than 20 s.
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