In the industrial field, continuous efforts are underway to achieve a smart factory where manufacturing lines spanning processes from raw material acceptance inspection to final products are linked by a network aimed at improving quality control and saving labor. One of these efforts is the integration of the manufacturing line with the analysis and inspection process. In recent years, in the manufacturing industry, product quality problems stemming from human factors and labor shortages due to the declining birthrate and aging population have been cited as major issues. One solution is achieving the urgent task of saving labor in the analysis and inspection process. Up until now, however, it has been difficult to make in-line inspections because inspection processes using analytical equipment usually involve complicated measurements and cost issues. This situation makes LIBS the current focus of attention as a promising technique to support in-line analysis and inspections.
LIBS is an abbreviation for Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy — a spectroscopic analytical technique that uses a laser to rapidly analyze multiple elements contained in the target object. When a short pulse laser beam is irradiated onto the surface of the target object, it causes the target object to thermally evaporate and create a plasma. Within the plasma, the electrons emitted from the atoms recombine with the ionized atoms and generate a unique spectrum in the process of returning back to their original atomic state. Measuring this spectrum the substances at the element level. By combining such complex element information with AI technology, it is now possible to acquire highly accurate analytical information.
LIBS has the advantage of not requiring complicated pre-measurement processing of the target object, regardless of the object’s state (gas, liquid, solid). This enables the high-speed, non-contact inspections required for in-line inspection and also allows analyzing a diverse range of substances such as plastics, metals, and glass. This means that LIBS will prove a promising technique for in-line inspections at many kinds of manufacturing sites.
In-line measurement image
LIBS can detect spectral properties for Si, Fe, C, and Ca which are the main constituent elements of fly ash a kind of coal combustion product. This makes LIBS promising for real-time quality control by measuring such as steel slag composed of similar main proparties that are by-products of steel manufacturing. Also, it has an idea to measure the amount of carbon contained in fly ash and feed it back to control the combustion temperature of the furnace.
In high temperature environments such as steel manufacturing processes, analytical equipment cannot be installed nearby due to the extreme heat. This makes it difficult to obtain accurate results in analysis and inspections. But applying LIBS now ensures highly accurate properties analysis even from remote locations. There are already plans to carry out all inspection processes in steel manufacturing from selection of raw materials to the rolling process in order to improve product quality.
In the recycling field, technology for accurately identifying large quantities of mixed waste materials is essential for achieving more efficient recycling. Using LIBS allows highly accurate screening of materials whose properties are difficult to identify visually and so will help reuse resources more effectively.
We have a range of light receiving and emitting devices suitable for LIBS, including CCD linear image sensors and solid state lasers which are compact, lightweight and easy to mount on equipment.
This front-illuminated CCD linear image sensor has a high-speed electronic shutter function.Charge reset is made faster with a structure that moves charges in pixels rapidly.
Spectral response range：200 nm to 1000 nm
Pulsed solid-state lasers are passively Q-switched short pulse lasers with an integrated laser cavity, which makes them compact and maintenance-free without the need for cavity alignment adjustments.
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