Q&A with FT230, our newest XRF coatings analyzer

We recently interviewed our Product Manager for coatings analysis instruments, Matt Kreiner about how he became responsible for our coating’s analyzers but also how the FT230 XRF coatings analyzer came about and the latest innovations within the coatings market.

So we thought wouldn’t it be fun if we interviewed the FT230, the newest member of our coatings analysis family,  to give you an exclusive on everything you need to know about this new, exciting product before it becomes part of your QC team. 

 

Hitachi: FT230, welcome to Hitachi, it’s great to meet you

FT230: It’s wonderful to meet you, too. 

Hitachi: What’s it like being the new kid on the block? 

FT230: Hitachi has a long legacy in the coatings market, going back 1978 with the SFT155, the first benchtop XRF coatings analyzer to use an X-ray tube.  I’m excited to be part of that history - along with the entire FT and X-Strata series products – and to continue the tradition of innovation in solving our customers’ most complex challenges.  

Hitachi: Can you tell me a bit about how you got here? 

FT230: Absolutely. The entire organization – sales, service, marketing, R&D, engineering – spend their time working closely with our customers to better understand their evolving needs and figuring out the best way to address those. 

My form, what I needed to do and how best to do it, were shaped by the largest voice of customer exercise we’ve ever conducted for the coatings market, including the feedback from decades of customer interaction. The findings were that after analytical performance – obviously I need to provide accurate, precise, reliable results – the most challenging part of XRF coatings analysis was how users interact with the XRF. 

The project team based in our Espoo, Finland development center and spread across three continents decided my focus was on delivering a novel user experience that inverts the norm. Up until now, the users walked up to the XRF with a part in their hands and they needed to make numerous decisions about how and where to position and measure the part and then figure out what to do with the results. Effectively they had to program the XRF. 

With me, the part being measured drives the analysis. Most, if not all the decisions that needed to be made are now handled by me, and my software reflects that. The entire screen is focused on seeing the part and the results. My concept was solidified, the team sketched out the overall software flow, prototyped hardware and software, validated those decisions with real users and iterated that loop until they were confident, they got it right. 

Hitachi: How many languages do you speak? 

FT230: I am fluent in over six million forms of communication, but on this planet, I speak Chinese Traditional and Simplified, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.  

Hitachi: Do you have favorite part to measure? 

FT230: Good question! It’s tough to pick out just one, but one that comes to mind is a circuit board that had two final finishes. This was complicated for some XRF users before I came around. In some cases, it was only possible to measure only one finish at a time, so the user would need to program one run for hard gold for the connectors, take those measurements, come back, and create a second program for immersion silver on the pads and traces. 

Each run had potential errors like picking the wrong location for the finish, they both took a lot of time to set up the measurement routine and at the end, the operator would need to combine the results to make a report. Multiple operators on each shift were doing this dozens of times each day, so the prep time and reporting time added up, as did the mistakes. I was able to save this hassle with my Find My PartTM feature. 

The operator now places the board in the chamber, runs Find My PartTM and in seconds I pull up the complete measurement routine. All of the locations for each finish are all loaded automatically, the operator quickly verifies the setup, starts the routine, and walks away. It was incredibly satisfying showing them how easy this could be. 

Hitachi: That’s great, I’m sure there are a lot of people who could use that feature.  If there were one thing you could tell people about you, what would you like them to know? 

FT230: My job is to help people get to their results and  data faster than they have before. Using an XRF is fun and can be entertaining if you don’t mind my personal bias.

But I’m here to perform a task – take apart from production, incoming or engineering and tell you what it’s made of. So, how thick are the coating layers, what is the composition of an alloy or plating bath. In other words, “does the part meet your quality targets and specifications?”.

I am built to answer those questions quicker so you can make faster decisions to keep production moving and money flowing. 

Hitachi: What are you looking to do next?  

FT230: I can’t tell you too much about that now, but I’m thinking about making the family even bigger. Stay tuned. 

If only the FT230 could talk – maybe something we should pass to our R&D team as a future development request.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in finding out more about our new XRF coatings analysis family member, book your demo today.

Book a demo

 

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Date: 17 June 2022

Author: Harriet Bowyer, Global Marketing Communications Manager

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