Research scientists and application engineers traditionally had two options when it came to analyzing samples in the field. The first was sending the sample to a laboratory for analysis, and if you were looking for ore in the middle of Africa, that would take at least three weeks. The second was bringing a less accurate hand-held analyzer used to analyze samples on-site. This dilemma delayed critical scientific decisions like where to dig deeper, what samples to take and what specimens to send back for more measurements. Time is money on these research sites, especially when it comes to industry-funded scientific development. Being able to test materials accurately from the field therefore has distinct advantages.
Since 1951, Rigaku has been a global leader in analytical and industrial instrumentation technology. While their product portfolio has historically been designed for lab environments, their team saw the lack of accurate and portable ore analysis tools as an opportunity to expand into new markets. They had the technological expertise but needed a world-class design partner to provide the design and engineering support. Together, Loft and Rigaku delivered a first-in-class handheld instrument, offering superior detection capabilities in a compact form factor.
The Rigaku KT-500 hand-held analyzer represents the next advancement in handheld laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). It offers higher sensitivity and more elemental detection capabilities than ever before. The KT-500 also adds High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HiRES) technology for rapid analysis of carbon content in steel alloys, high performance stainless steel measurements, as well as nickel and cobalt-based high temperature alloys.
Leveraging Rigaku’s past core engineering work, Loft was able to make the KT-500 elegant while also delivering best-in-class ruggedness. The product features a durable magnesium housing, active cooling, and a replaceable boot. The intuitive onboard UX offers connectivity via USB & WiFi connection for simple viewing and download to any PC or mobile device. Loft worked closely with Rigaku to create design files, an engineering database, marketing materials, and DFM cycles with the manufacturer. The result of the collaboration was a product that feels sturdy and professional, leverages Rigaku’s internal detection platform, and compliments their portfolio with a portable, rugged and user-centric experience.