Portable analytical instruments manufacturer opens dedicated office in South Africa

Fast growing, Boston, US-based company SciAps has announced that the company has opened an office in South Africa to oversee the marketing, distribution and servicing of its products, provide better service and back up to all its distributors and customers in the Southern African region, as well as penetrate and gain market share in the rest of Africa.

“SciAps has been represented in South Africa for a number of years and have a number of hand handheld X-ray fluorescence analysers operating successfully in the metals and exploration geology fields in South Africa,” said Chris Manning, who has been appointed as the dedicated representative of the company in South Africa.

“SciAps has been designing, selling, and servicing handheld elemental analysers for more than 10 years. Founded in 2013, it continues to double in size every year by innovating three core technologies – X-ray, laser and Raman – for portable, in-field measurements of elements, minerals and compounds. Customers include foundries, manufacturers, pipeline engineers, safety and security specialists, researchers, the academic community, scrap recyclers and the mining industry.”

The company’s CEO and co-founder Don Sackett has a Ph.D. in nuclear physics and his first job was at a start-up company that was developing handheld X-ray fluorescence analysers. He then started a company in 2001 that made handheld X-ray fluorescence analysers before selling the business in 2010 to a large industrial company.

One of the other co-founders is CTO, Dave Day who was at a company making handheld near-infrared analysers. His business was sold to a large instrumentation company and, after a transition period and some time off, he too was looking for another entrepreneurial opportunity, hence his teaming up with Sackett.

The third co-founder is Gary Lortie, the CFO, was the CFO at Sackett’s previous company from 2007 through to the sale of the business and his portfolio includes finance, HR, overseeing operations and other administrative departments.

Before establishing SciAps the three partners met and talked about what their previous instruments had done, some of the shortcomings, some of the things that they would have liked the instruments to do, but at the time the technology was not capable. That’s when they had an idea to try and develop a good portable LIBS analyser.

In building up his previous company Sackett spent a lot of time in the field, learning how companies needed the instruments and what they needed to measure. As a result he says he built up a pretty good appreciation of how to use it, what the field instrument needed to do, and how it needed to function.

“I think it’s very interesting when a customer comes to you and says, “I need to measure this kind of material at this site. How would you do that?” It’s a very interesting puzzle to try to figure out. So the question is always, “Can we modify an instrument to make that measurement for that customer?” Of course, you have to ask a bunch of commercial questions. How much will it cost to make that modification? Are there other people that want this too? Fundamentally the question is, “Can you measure this material?” It’s an interesting puzzle to try to solve. That’s what really attracted me to the industry. And I have been working in this field ever since,” said Sackett in a recent interview with American Laboratory.

Carbon in steels, stainless and carbon equivalents with a handheld analyser
SciAps research and development ‘firsts’ include the world’s only handheld analyser capable of measuring carbon, the world’s first handheld device for measuring lithium in rocks and brines and the world’s fastest X-ray analyser for sorting aluminium alloys.

The flagship product of SciAps is a handheld analyser based on a new technology called LIBS or Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, which allows you to determine which elements are in a material and their concentration. This product can basically analyse every element in the periodic table, from hydrogen to uranium.

SciAps were the first manufacturer in the world to introduce a handheld LIBS analyser. They continued to lead the market introducing the first LIBS to offer carbon analysis for the accurate identification of carbon in steels, differentiation of L and H-grade stainless steels and the determination of carbon equivalence which is crucial for welding, weld repairs and fabrication. The Z-series LIBS has become a highly versatile and vital part of many peoples workflows.

To achieve this level of accuracy, while producing results at speed, the SciAps handheld LIBS analysers utilise a patented powerful, high frequency laser and miniaturised on-board argon purge to exclude any extraneous elements and improve detection limits. Furthermore, the SciAps handheld LIBS (and pXRF) have been designed to be lightweight, compact and fast so you can take them anywhere – up a tower, into a ditch, or any other location where awkward spaces are an issue.

Measure carbon, silicon and alloying metals in seconds
“The era of measuring carbon and other alloying elements with a handheld analyser has arrived, and SciAps did it first. The SciAps technical team has solved some really challenging problems, allowing us to put LIBS technology into a handheld analyser. This instrument has the spectral range to analyse every element, yet is also a very compact, portable system,” said Manning.

For further details contact Chris Manning of SciAps on TEL 073 871 5606 or visit www.sciaps.com