Scrap Metal & Alloys

Give our X-ray and Laser Guns a shot for your Scrap Processing

Laser and X-ray analyzers designed, built and supported by people with 20+ years of experience in the scrap sorting industry.

LIBS vs. X-Ray

Why is the world’s leading manufacturer of handheld LIBS recommending X-ray as a superior tool for scrap processing?
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The X

The world’s lightest, smallest, fastest, high precision alloy gun. Weighing barely 3 lbs, it is lightning fast, and can be used all day long without fatigue. More than 90% of all alloys can be identified in 1 second with excellent precision, and the most challenging super-alloys in 3 sec. And Visibility? The X features the latest 5″ Smartphone display for easy viewing in all lighting conditions. The X is rapidly becoming the scrap industry choice for stainless, high temps, red metals, and turnings. The best of any X-ray on aluminums.

The Z

The ONLY high precision laser-based gun! The Z features blistering speed and highly precise aluminum analysis, aluminum/silicon bronzes, low alloy steels and Be-coppers. It also functions exceptionally well on stainless and high temps just not quite as good as the X. If you don’t want radiation and the regulatory hassles that come with it, pick the Z.


Can’t decide? Get our popular “ONE BOX.” Analyze any element, sort any alloy with best precision across the board. The X and Z share the same user interface, same batteries, chargers, cables – it makes training a breeze. Use each for any sorting job, or allocate the X to SS and high temps, the Z to aluminums. Either can back-up the other.

The top 4 reasons to give us a shot:


A family of X-ray and laser systems that meet any price and performance point for your material sorting.

Low Service Costs

Service costs are less than half of other brands. We view service as a loyalty program, not a profit center. Compare detector or tube replacements costs before you buy!

90+% Guarantee

Buy any SciAps model and you’ll get at least 90% of the cost credited towards an upgraded SciAps model, if your sorting needs change. Defy obsolescence!

NEW: Global Connectivity

We’ve teamed with Android and revolutionized data downloading and management. With our Connectivity package the Z or X instantly and automatically send every test to a computer anywhere in the world. Manage data in real time, get results in real time, verify testing quality – all in real time. No more time-wasting manual exporting.

The Quick Story – The X-ray Family of Analyzers:

Our X-ray analyzers are the lightest, fastest family of X-ray guns in the industry. They’ve been designed with a range of price and performance, from basic stainless and MLC’s sorting, to precise, high-throughput alloy sorting of high-temps, superalloys, brass/bronzes, finely differentiated aluminum alloys and more. We feature 4 models at different price/performance points. An abbreviated model comparison is below.

Scrapper X-250

Scrapper X-250

Designed from the ground up to be the fastest scrap sorter in existence. Sort 100% of your Aluminum Alloys in 2-4 seconds. Fast and reliable analysis of aluminum alloys, high temps, stainless and virtually anything else.



Offers comparable speed/precision as top of the line competing brands, at a lower price point, in a smaller, lighter package. Best value where aluminum sorting is daily but not the major focus.



Identical to X-200 for elements titanium and higher elements. No 2nd beam calibrations, so Mg, Al, Si, P and S are NOT analyzed. Perfect for locations requiring the speed and precision of an SDD detector, but with no need for 2 beam, light element analysis. An alternative to PINs if you want 9x the speed or 3X the precision.



Our most economical model, Great for sorting most SS, high temps, red metals in 3-5 seconds EXCEPT those that require analysis of Mg, Al, Si, P or S. Limited to sorting Al alloys into MLCs, 2000’s, and 7000’s.

One of our most frequently asked FAQs!


If I don’t mind dealing with the radiation regulations and the admin that goes with it, what’s the best choice for testing mostly stainless, coppers and some high temps?


If radiation rules are NOT the issue, then you should definitely go with X-ray for the above application. X-ray’s strength is stainless and high temps hands down, nothing is better. As for red metals here’s the story. There are three reasons people consider laser for red metals: aluminum bronzes, silicon bronzes, and beryllium coppers. Here’s the X-ray alternative. Our X-300 will handle silicon and aluminum bronzes in 5 seconds total test time (2 sec beam 1, 3 sec beam 2). Our more economical X-200 will do these in 10 seconds or less, if speed isn’t as important to you. As for beryllium (Be), remember that the alloying complex is typically a mixture of beryllium and cobalt (Co), so most Be-coppers contain about 0.2% Co. Even though X-ray cannot measure Be directly, if you measure the Co, you should assume it’s a Be-copper. Once you’ve decided on X-ray, then it’s a matter of what model. The X-300 for max speed and precision? Save some money, do the same job with the X-200 just a little slower? Or forget Al and Si bronzes entirely, and save even more money with the X-100 or X-50. Remember, no matter what X you buy, you can always upgrade it to higher model if your performance requirements change. No other X-ray manufacturer can make you this offer.


SciAps X Shutter

Are broken detectors and outrageous repair costs causing you headaches?

Years of detector data show that 90% of all detector punctures happen when the analyzer is NOT in use. Operators accidentally poke their finger or a tool into the aperture, often when cleaning or replacing the thin plastic window – and puncture the detector. Or in the process of pushing the analyzer into a container of turnings, a metal fragment penetrates the front aperture. SciAps designed all the X analyzers with a novel high-speed shutter made of 316 stainless. The shutter is closed except during a test, creating an impenetrable barrier to the stray finger, tool, or metal fragment when the analyzer is not analyzing.

Unique to the industry:
the SciAps 90+ guarantee

If you buy a more basic (and lower priced) X model, such as the X-50 or X-100, you can always upgrade to a newer model, and get at least 90% of what you paid credited towards the new model.

The Quick Story – The Z – Laser Based Alloy Analysis

SciAps offers two models of the Z for the scrap industry. Common to both models is the industry’s most powerful laser (5-6 mJ/pulse, 50 Hz rep rate), the widest spectrometer range, integrated camera and laser aiming to eliminate “bad burns” and Wifi, Bluetooth, Android platform and the same Global Connectivity features as the X.



Our high performance analyzer. Complete with on-board argon purge for the best precision and lowest detection limits of any handheld LIBS device. It offers precise alloy chemistry and sorts the widest range of alloy grades of any handheld LIBS.



Our basic alloy sorter. Like the other air-burn LIBS units, the Z-50 will sort common alloys, but with the benefit that it won’t require grinding every sample. It’s the least expensive handheld LIBS available, it does NOT use argon (air burn only), and is ideal for basic alloy grade sorting. It features the same powerful laser, rangy spectrometer, camera, Wifi as the Z-200.

Unique to the industry:
the SciAps 90+ guarantee

Want to start simple, and add argon later? If you buy the Z-50 you can always upgrade to the Z-200, and get at least 90% of what you paid credited towards the new model.

Better, Faster Scrap Metal Sorting.

The Z-200 is the best of the laser-based guns for metals recycling. It offers blinding speed on the low atomic number elements including Mg, Si, Al, Li, Be and B – elements that HHXRF either measures slowly or not at all. The Z’s unique, powerful laser also delivers the speed and accuracy for red metals, stainless and high temp alloys that you’ve come to expect.

Still using a benchtop OES for aluminum, copper scrap sorting?

Go handheld with the Z-200 and sort it in seconds. Bring the gun to the material, not the other way around.

Have a need for speed on aluminums that your HH XRF can’t deliver?

Try the Z-200 and sort your aluminum alloys up to 10x faster, with finer grade separations.

Read how many recyclers are using the Z profitably even in down markets

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SciAps offers the most advanced laser-based alloy analyzer available

Key Advantages:

Argon Purge

Argon CartonThe Key to Precise Alloy Chemistry. LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) is an optical emission technique – like spark optical emission spectroscopy (OES). LIBS uses a laser to generate the plasma rather than an electric spark. Like OES, LIBS offers precise chemistry and ability to measure low concentrations (0.01-0.1%) reliably only when used with argon purge. Air based analysis offered by other HH LIBS, while available with the Z, only provides very basic alloy sorting. Precision and detection limits improve by up to 10x with argon purge.

Argon Purge

The Key to Precise Alloy Chemistry. LIBS (Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy) is an optical emission technique – like spark optical emission spectroscopy (OES). LIBS uses a laser to generate the plasma rather than an electric spark. Like OES, LIBS offers precise chemistry and ability to measure low concentrations (0.01-0.1%) reliably only when used with argon purge. Air based analysis offered by other HH LIBS, while available with the Z, only provides very basic alloy sorting. Precision and detection limits improve by up to 10x with argon purge.

Powerful Laser

The Z handles all your alloys, not just aluminums. How? The Z fields the best laser technology. It delivers high energy onto the sample (5-6 mJ/pulse) in a billionth of a second to generate gigawatt power densities – the key to a good plasma even on the most refractory alloys types.

Argon Door Open

reliable alloy analysis requires good chemistry. Good chemistry requires argon purge, a powerful laser, and superior laser firing technology. SciAps Z argon graphic

Cleaning Shots – Superior Laser Design

Dirty Scrap? Forget the grinder, you’ll never have to clean the surface.

The Z eliminates sample surface effects that plague other handheld LIBS instruments. With the Z, you rarely have to grind a sample prior to analysis. The Z’s laser fires at 50 Hz (50 pulses/second), blasting away surface material with 10 laser pulses on a single location in 0.2 seconds. The Z then spends the next 0.3 sec firing another 15 laser shots in that same spot for chemical analysis from the cleaned surface. The laser optics rasters automatically to a new location – six spots in all. The result is precise, repeatable chemistry after 1-2 seconds of testing. The Z’s patent-pending combination of sample “cleaning” and rastering eliminates variability from dirt or surface contamination. Rastering averages out localized (50 um) effects from grain boundaries or inclusions.

Silicon Intensity Ratio Versus Time Plot
Magnesium Intensity Ratio Versus Time Plot
Good sample surface cleaning is critical for good chemistry. For example a LIBS test from a real world alloy sample will exhibit elevated concentrations of calcium, sodium, silicon and other elements if surface dirt/contaminants are not effectively burned off. And measurements of the alloying elements will not be correct. Consider the example of a 6061 alloy. The figures show the silicon (Si) and magnesium (Mg) response before and after the Z’s cleaning shots. Without aggressive cleaning shots, both Si and Mg would be measured several times too high, leading to grossly incorrect alloy chemistries and erroneous grade IDs. After the 0.2 s of cleaning by the Z, the Si and Mg intensity ratios have stabilized to intrinsic values for the data-taking measurement, yielding accurate chemistry results. It is typical for LIBS analyzers without “cleaning mode” to over-state the Si content by several %, unless the material is first ground. With the Z’s blast cleaning technology, no grinding is necessary.

Why LIBS Instead of X-ray:

Four reasons to consider a handheld LIBS gun versus X-ray.

Reason #1

You simply don’t want to deal with radiation regulations, badges, and inspections, then get the Z.

Both the Z-200 and Z-50 will sort all your alloys. The Z-200 will sort more alloys, more precisely, because the argon purge provides 10x better precision than air-burn.

Reason #2

A priority is to sort aluminum alloys as precisely and as fast as possible, especially when dealing with grades that differ only by fine chemistry differences.

For example, alloys that differ by small amounts of Mg, which is hard to measure with X-ray. For example sorting 3003, 3004 and 3005 quickly, or 356 and 357. These are a few of many examples.

Reason #3

You must measure the elements Li, Be, B, C, Na, and low concentrations (< 0.2%) of Mg, Al and Si in various alloys.

Handheld X-ray cannot measure Li, Be, B, C, or Na (sodium) at all.

Reason #4

You’ve broken detectors or tubes and you just don’t want to use X-ray anymore, even though SciAps offers the lowest X-ray service costs of any brand.

Good news! The Z has no detectors or tubes to break. Poke away at the aperture, you can’t damage the Quartz blast shield. In fact, except for the laser diode array, the most expensive components to repair on the Z range from $100-$500. The diode array costs $1,200 but they’re virtually impossible to break.

Go ahead, poke away!

Turnings, fingers, tools, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never break a detector. No hazardous X-rays to worry about. The Z forever eliminates broken detectors and X-ray tubes. Why? There’s no detectors or tubes to break. Lasers are inherently more shockproof. If by some miracle you break one, we make our own lasers and spectrometers and we repair them at the component level if they’re broken. Your Days of Expensive Detector and Tube Repairs are over – whether you purchase an X or a Z!

This page was updated on February 7th, 2019