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LIBS for Batch and Cullet Analysis

ERCo LIBS Glass Batch Analyzer

Under U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program projects, ERCo has engineered LIBS technology, into an accurate, reliable, and user friendly device for measuring the composition of batch components.

 

The Glass Industry Technology Roadmap, co-developed by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council, emphasizes the need for accurate process and feedstock sensors. Listed first under technological barriers to increased production efficiency is the "Inability to accurately measure and control the production process." ERCo's LIBS Glass Batch Analyzer addresses this need by giving plant operators critical knowledge of their batch composition.

LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy)
is a laser-based method for measuring the elemental composition of virtually any material.

 

The ERCo LIBS Batch Analyzer features:

  • High accuracies for all oxides, including boron
  • Individual components e.g. silica, clay, ulexite, limestone, colemanite
  • Mixed Batch
  • Fluorine analysis
  • High repeatability
  • All concentrations measured simultaneously in under 15 minutes
  • Operates on only a few grams of material
  • User friendly "One Click" software
  • Low maintenance
  • Compact design

 

Photographs of ERCo's LIBS Batch Analyzer installed in a PPG Fiber Glass plant are shown in Figure 1 (PPG is the largest manufacturer of fiber glass in the U.S.). The complete system is enclosed in a compact cabinet as shown. Opening the cabinet doors reveals the sensor hardware. The hardware consists of:

Top Shelf: Monitor, Keyboar d and Mouse
Middle Shelf from left to right: Windows PC, UPS, Laser Power Supply, Sample Chamber
Lower Shelf from left to right: Spectrometer, Dedicated Spectrometer PC

 

Figure 1: ERCo LIBS Batch Analyzer in a PPG Fiber Glass Plant

Click on the images to enlarge

 

Figure 2 (left) contains a close up photograph of the sample chamber and Figure 2 (right) shows a PPG employee inserting a batch sample into the sample chamber prior to conducting an analysis.

 

Figure 2: ERCo LIBS Batch Analyzer Sample Chamber (Click on the images to enlarge)

Sample Chamber

PPG Personnel Placing a Sample into the Sample Chamber

 

A user friendly Windows™ software application written by ERCo is used to operate the system. This software package was designed so that non-specialist employees will have no trouble operating the system. The operator simply selects the material being analyzed from a menu and presses on the "Run" button on the screen. The software controls all the hardware and performs all the analyses automatically and without further user interaction.

 

In less than 15 minutes, the results are presented, both in text format and graphically on a strip chart. A complete record of the measured elemental concentrations that can be readily imported by Excel™ (or any other program capable of reading text files) is also automatically generated with each analysis.

 

A summary of some recent results from the PPG installation on the batch mineral ulexite demonstrating the accuracy of the LIBS analyzer are provided below in Table 1. The actual concentrations of the oxides are proprietary, so the differences between the LIBS Batch Analyzer measurements and measurements from an independent laboratory are provided in the third column.

 

Table 1: Summary of Concentration Results at PPG Fiber Glass

Element
Ulexite
Component
Average
Error
Boron Major 0.35%
Calcium Major 0.50%
Sodium Major 1.83%
Silicon Minor 4.03%
Magnesium Minor 2.52%

 

Click here to download a flyer on the ERCo LIBS Batch Analyzer (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader).

 

 

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