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Automated Alloy Sorting - Stainless Steel & Specialty Alloys

FOX-IQ Automated, On-line XRF

High Volume QC
Pass/Fail Mode
Analytical Mode

Tube and pipe manufactures use many different metals and alloys in their production lines. To avoid material mix-ups and to meet their customers' requirements, they must compare their product against acceptable alloy specifications. Particularly in the aerospace, petroleum and nuclear industries, the consequences of processing or fabricating with the wrong alloy material can be serious, resulting in product failure and eventual loss of business. High volume manufacturers need a fast, non-destructive method that offers 100% PMI (Positive Material Identification).

FOX IQ System

We have designed the FOX-IQ Factory Online XRF system to perform automated on-line analysis for 100% high-volume process control. X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a proven analytical technique commonly used to quickly and non-destructively verify alloy grade and chemistry. Each FOX-IQ delivers fast, accurate grade ID, pass/fail tests and chemistry with automated links to the QC/QA reporting system. The system is set up for simple integration with existing or new PLC-controlled processes, or flexible enough to work with complicated user-designed programs.

The FOX-IQ is controlled by an industry-hardened PC for start/stop, data acquisition, decision making and communication to external devices. FOX-IQ's powerful, yet user friendly software is customized for the tube/pipe industry and features automated retesting, multi-level access and an intuitive touchscreen interface. This CE certified system is engineered for 24/7operation in industrial environments; its compact design will fit in virtually all existing operations.

FOX IQ read screen

FOX-IQ Modes of Operation
Pass/Fail mode is designed for high-throughput alloy sorting and quality control. All sorting is done by comparing your sample to an operator-selected reference fingerprint. It will provide a PASS or FAIL result in 2-3 seconds.

The system comes with a standard reference library of common alloy fingerprints, though adding your own (up to 300 more) is a simple one minute procedure. Furthermore, once the unit has been taught a fingerprint, it will not need periodic recalibration.

Analytical mode utilizes a Fundamental Parameters (FP) algorithm to determine elemental chemistry. The FP method utilized in Analytical mode is ideal for applications that require analysis of proprietary or uncommon alloys, for monitoring chemistry of tramp elements, or for monitoring chemistry during processing. The Analytical mode can identify an unknown material in approximately 5 seconds, with increased precision for longer test times.

FOX-IQ Performance

Experimental Application Results - 316/316Ti Processing Line

Selected Material Analyzed Material Result
1380 316Ti 316L FAIL
1381 316Ti 316L FAIL
1382 316Ti 316L FAIL
1383 316Ti 316L FAIL
1384 316Ti 316L FAIL
1385 316Ti 316L FAIL
1386 316Ti 316L FAIL
1387 316Ti 316L FAIL
1388 316Ti 316L FAIL
1389 316Ti 316L FAIL
1390 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1391 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1392 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1393 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1394 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1395 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1396 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1397 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1398 316Ti 316Ti PASS
1399 316Ti 316Ti PASS
3 second tests.
10/10 - Passing Ti
0/10 - Passing w/o Ti
Selected Material Analyzed Material Result
1340 316L 316L PASS
1341 316L 316L PASS
1342 316L 316L PASS
1343 316L 316L PASS
1344 316L 316L PASS
1345 316L 316L PASS
1346 316L 316L PASS
1347 316L 316L PASS
1348 316L 316L PASS
1349 316L 316L PASS
1350 316L 316Ti FAIL
1351 316L 316Ti FAIL
1352 316L 316Ti FAIL
1353 316L 316Ti FAIL
1354 316L 316Ti FAIL
1355 316L 316Ti FAIL
1356 316L 316Ti FAIL
1357 316L 316Ti FAIL
1358 316L 316Ti FAIL
1359 316L 316Ti FAIL
3 second tests.
10/10 - Passing Ti
0/10 - Passing w/o Ti
Sample Ti Cr Mn Ni Cu Mo
316 Ti a 0.37 17.15 1.39 13.00 0.31 1.91
316 Ti a 0.32 17.12 1.32 12.71 0.44 2.03
316 Ti a 0.32 17.33 1.23 12.89 0.42 1.93
316 Ti a 0.46 17.21 1.29 12.52 0.37 2.04
316 Ti a 0.31 17.22 1.08 12.75 0.52 1.96
AVE 316 Ti a 0.36 17.21 1.26 12.77 0.41 1.97
STD 0.06 0.08 0.12 0.18 0.08 0.06
Sample Ti Cr Mn Ni Cu Mo
316 L a ND 17.67 1.53 13.81 0.47 2.47
316 L a ND 17.98 1.67 13.74 0.54 2.55
316 L a ND 17.76 1.57 13.74 0.57 2.46
316 L a ND 17.68 1.59 14.04 0.48 2.47
316 L a ND 17.88 1.69 13.68 0.51 2.62
AVE 316 L a ND 17.79 1.61 13.80 0.51 2.51
STD 0.13 0.07 0.14 0.04 0.07
Takeaway - able to repeatably and reliably detect 0.35% Ti in only 4 seconds
Very quick, repeatable chemistry in 4 seconds of testing time
Ti Cr Mn Ni Cu Mo
0 0.32 17.26 1.19 12.98 0.37 1.95
2.5 0.32 17.09 1.27 12.95 0.36 1.99
4 0.32 17.04 1.36 13.11 0.40 2.00
Average of 10-3 second tests at different distances.
Concentration in %.
The analyzer uses a normalization process that makes it much less sensistive
to small changes to difference.
(~1-2 cm)
This will save you the headache of building complicated and expensive moving mount tables.


The FOX-IQ Tube and Rod On-line Process Analyzer proved very capable of accurately analyzing samples in Pass/Fail and Analytical Modes. With accurate results within 5 seconds or less, the FOX-IQ will make a significant impact on tube and pipe manufacture in a high volume production line by providing quick, reliable, non-destructive alloy analysis.

Olympus IMS
Products used for this application

The FOX-IQ Process &On-Line XRF System is for automated, continuous, on-line XRF measurements of Ca to U. It’s designed for 24/7 operation industrial environments to optimize processes for increased productivity &improved quality. Used for metals, alloys, liquids &other fluids. Easy install, low cost of ownership.
The DELTA Element is a cost-effective handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer optimized for scrap metal sorting, positive material identification (PMI), alloy QA/QC, and precious metals analysis.
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