Sample tracking may not be the most exciting part of XRF workflows, but it’s one of the most vital. Chantal Audet, Product Manager for TheOx Advanced sample fusion system, explains how a new software option streamlines sample tracking and troubleshooting.

The importance of XRF sample tracking

If you’re an XRF specialist like me, you’ll know there are many things that determine whether or not your sample fuses nicely to give a homogenous glass disk with the correct composition. These include sample particle size and degree of oxidation, flux purity and relative quantity, fusion temperature, and use of high-quality platinumware.

With so many factors at play, it’s vital to be able to identify reasons why a particular sample has failed to give a good result. Of course, this relies on knowing which disk came from which sample, and logging the success or failure of the fusion process. Up to now, this logging has always been manual – something that is easy enough on a small scale, but not if you’re running 500 samples a day.

It’s not always obvious why sample fusion for XRF succeeds or fails, and troubleshooting any difficulties depends critically on keeping track of samples – which is where our new software option comes in

In fact, it was precisely this need to handle high-throughput workflows that, back in 2018, spurred one of our larger customers to ask me if a sample-tracking option could be incorporated into our XRF sample preparation platforms.

The result (thanks to my Product team here at Malvern Panalytical) is a new ‘sample monitoring’ software option for our Claisse TheOx Advanced sample fusion system. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, and we think it will go a long way to improving workflows in labs running large numbers of samples.

Better sample tracking, easier troubleshooting

So what’s in the new software release for TheOx Advanced? We’ve added four main features to the existing user-friendly interface, which mean that you can now:

  • Associate a sample id with each fusion position – either manually, or using a plug-in barcode reader.
  • Mark a particular sample as having succeeded or failed.
  • Control the instrument remotely.
  • Send sample data directly to your LIMS system.
The user interface in the new software release for TheOx Advanced has additional features that enhance sample tracking and troubleshooting… but in all other aspects, it maintains the familiar appearance and existing easy-to-use functionality

As Product Manager for TheOx Advanced, I know that the biggest benefit from these new features is eliminating the risk of losing track of your samples: I know for sure that a couple of our larger customers will be wanting to implement this feature straight away. In addition, being able to monitor the success or failure of individual samples means that it’s much easier to diagnose troublesome sample batches, and resolve problems with a particular fusion position or method.

I think one other aspect is also handy. Because the results can be fed into a LIMS system, requests for repeat analysis can automatically be generated for failed samples. This means one less thing for the operator to remember!

Making a new link in ‘the analytical chain’

Of course, getting successful XRF results involves more than just reliably tracking samples through the fusion process. At Malvern Panalytical, we like to think of it as being one link in our ‘analytical chain’ – products that support the entire analytical process from beginning to end. Over the 16 years that I’ve been with Claisse/ Malvern Panalytical, I’ve seen this range grow, to now include everything from high-quality fluxes and calibration standards, to automated sample weighing equipment, and of course the XRF platforms themselves.

So, whether you’re interested in simply streamlining data-handling in your XRF sample preparation system, or you need a fresh perspective on your entire workflow from sampling to analysis, rest assured that we can help you!

Reliable tracking for XRF sample preparation using TheOx Advanced is just one of the links in the ‘analytical chain’ of products offered by Malvern Panalytical

Getting the new software option

The new ‘sample monitoring’ software option for TheOx Advanced is available straight away – to enquire about pricing, simply contact your regional sales rep.

We know that it’s not always easy (or desirable) to download software onto lab instruments, so we’re providing the new software option for TheOx Advanced on a USB stick, for direct transfer onto the instrument. And installation doesn’t take long – it’ll be complete in about 10–20 minutes, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the benefits of improved sample tracking!

To get a quote for the new software option, contact your regional sales team.

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