Why CSi? Carbon made easy for XRF users

September 1, 2021

A dedicated carbon + silicon analyzer for low cost of entry

Sleek design, powerful performance and easy reports

Changes in handheld technology over the past five years have made a world of difference in how refineries, inspection companies, fabricators, pipeline owner/operators, power plants, and other users of carbon steels and L- and H-grade stainless collect data on materials and products.

Until recently, portable testing required users to wear big backpacks with a cord and a probe as well as bring a bulky OES instrument with a huge argon tank into ditches or up towers to analyze their alloys. Companies were forced to buy an $80,000 instrument, more often than not, simply to measure the critical element carbon.

When SciAps introduced the world’s first field-worthy handheld LIBS (laser) analyzer to measure carbon, NDT and PMI companies could finally say goodbye to their cart-mounted OES systems. Being able to measure virtually all the elements with a handheld analyzer transformed the industry forever, making it faster, and less costly, to meet critical performance standards. Now, SciAps is making it even less costly by introducing SciAps CSi, a dedicated, high-performance handheld LIBS built strictly to measure carbon and silicon. The unit is a standout in SciAps new Z-900 Series analyzers, featuring all-new ergonomic design, improved heat dissipation, and completely updated software and processing. At 3.5 lbs., it looks, feels and handles nearly identical to XRF.

Before joining SciAps two years ago, James Terrell ran his own PMI testing business. He primarily relied on XRF for its ease of use and great performance on almost every element. He turned to his OES system when he needed it for carbon, but used it for little else.

"So I still needed an analyzer on hand to measure carbon. But was there a way to do that even more economically?" he asked. "For customers who are in the same boat as I was, it doesn’t make sense for them to buy a full-blown LIBS unit, because their XRF already does so much."

Today, Terrell is Director of Business Development - Global NDT at SciAps. He pitched his idea for a laser focused carbon analyzer to Don Sackett, co-founder and CEO of SciAps, who immediately saw the benefit to the PMI industry.

“Success is all about having the best tool for the job, and at SciAps, we want our customers to be successful,” says Sackett. “The accountants actually asked us, ‘Why would you make a carbon-only unit when you could force people to buy a full LIBS unit with carbon and 6-7 alloy bases for $10,000 more?’ But we know that this product has value to our customers. A lot of users are happy with their current XRFs, but occasional jobs require carbon. So, they need just that little bit more to have a competitive edge. So, we do what our customers want. We are going to give them the tools to succeed."
Who will benefit?

Use XRF where it’s great—transition and heavy metals. Add the CSi for carbon and silicon when needed, and efficiently merge the data with SciAps cloud data management and report generation. The CSi is an economical companion for XRF users who need to add carbon to their analysis. Perfect for:

  • PMI people who use XRF every day in the field but, every once in a while, need to measure carbon. It’s a streamlined package that just does carbon and silicon, perfect for people who don’t use an OES instrument or need it on a daily basis.
  • Pipeline engineers who only check the carbon equivalents. Their XRF already identifies tramp elements and residuals much easier. Adding SciAps CSi completes the picture and meets multi-test averaging protocols required by some refineries and pipeline operators.
  • Inspection companies
  • Fabricators that need to grade material (L- and H-grade stainless)
  • Anyone doing silicon surveys: 650 refineries worldwide; adding LIBS in 939C
  • HF Alky units
  • Cast iron customers
Field-worthy, and meets SciAps critical standards

For anyone new to handheld LIBS, www.youtube.com/sciaps features dozens of videos on how the analyzers work and applications for carbon analysis. At www.sciaps.com, users can review application notes and specification sheets, and read true customer stories of people using LIBS for fabrication, weld-testing, and manufacturing in every major industry, including tales of the new series of analyzers that have kept working with only minor physical repairs after a 35-foot drop and a 275-lb. smash test. It’s included in API 578 2nd Edition, accepted at most every major refinery, and in use worldwide by fabricators, pipeline owner/operators, power plants and other users of carbon steels and L- and H-grade stainless. At 3.87 lbs. (1.75 kg), SciAps CSi is the smallest, lightest weight, sleekest analyzer ever designed for carbon analysis in alloys. It has an internal camera for precise targeting of analysis locations, especially welds; a macro camera for photo-documentation of samples, reading barcodes and QR codes; a patented “sample sensor” that allows Class 1 operation (subject to LSO approval); intuitive Android operating system and app-based software; high-resolution, rear-facing display for easy results viewing; rugged metal body for maximum durability; a tapered, narrow snout for welds or difficult-to-access test locations; full-featured report generation and cloud data management; and user-replaceable argon that provides hundreds of carbon tests at pennies per test.“This is the analyzer I would have bought without hesitation when I was running my PMI business,” says James Terrell.

Where's the CSi?

In the operator's hand, exactly where a portable device should be. The Z-901 CSi LIBS analyzer is the first carbon/silicon-only handheld analyzer on the market. Pair it with your XRF to get the data you need ... and true portability.

SciAps automated cloud data merge

With the SciAps cloud platform, creating reports just got easier. Automatically merge XRF and LIBS tests with unlimited data cloud storage, real-time visibility, and custom reports.

  • Combine metals data from XRF and carbon data from the LIBS to see the whole picture.
  • Merge results in one report, with results displayed for specific chemical equations Unlink test results from a bad test and link to the correct test easily.
  • Create pass/fail criteria with color-coded results.

Download the specifications

Adding LIBS to your XRF analysis

SciAps is the world’s leading manufacturer of handheld LIBS units for carbon in steel and stainless, CE, low RE materials and general.

The great folks at AXT wrote up this explainer on positive metals identification (PMI) with XRF and LIBS. The article was published in a recent edition of Materials Australia, which provides technical materials support to those in the materials engineering, manufacturing and research industries. The article, “Handheld XRF, OES, and Portable LIBS Analyzers—Which One Is Best for Your Needs?” in Quality Magazine July 2020 issue, stresses the importance of material verification with the increasing regulations in safety, reliability, traceability, and regulatory compliance. And here’s SciAps full video showing real-time PMI with Z-200 C+, the world’s first handheld for carbon, and the breakthrough X-550 for residuals and sulfidic corrosion. Both instruments are fast, accurate, and field-tested for NDT-PMI.

Our customers want options

So we've spent the past year creating them. Get everything you need in One Box.

We now have a One Box for your needs and your price point. Love using the XRF on metals, but need carbon? Pair the lower-cost Z-901 CSi with one of our XRF models. The CSi is our latest innovation. It's a compact little handheld that measures ONLY C and Si. If you already own XRF, the CSi let’s you add carbon and silicon measurements, including L-grade stainless verification. You just want to use one analyzer for everything? We still make a LIBS system that does it all, the Z-902 C.

Z-901 CSiAn efficient economical companion for XRF users who need C and Si.

Who is it for? For those who only need to measure carbon, like PMI people who use XRF every day in the field but, every once in a while, need to measure carbon. Or, pipeline engineers who need to meet multi-test averaging protocols required by some refineries and pipeline operators. Or, inspection companies, fabricators, and silicon surveys.

X-5Same as X-505, but no calibrations for Al, Mg, P, S, Si.

Who is it for? For many basic PMI activities, operators need to test stainless, Cr/Mo steels, some common Ni and Co alloys, and maybe some titaniums. And of course carbon (for carbon equivalents, residuals or L-grade stainless).

CSi paired with X-5 will do all this at an economical price.

X-505Adds P, S, Si, Al and Mg. Not quite as fast on these elements as the X-550, but still fast.

Who is it for? For PMI engineers who need the precision and performance of the X-550, but don't need the speed. It’s fast on all alloys, including aluminums. It can run all day without requiring down time due to overheating, even in hot climates.

CSi paired with X-505 will do all this for a mid-way price.


Most powerful X-ray tube, 3x the power of other XRFs. Delivers best speed on Si for sulfidic corrosion, and fastest analysis of P, S, Mg, Al too.

Who is it for? For PMI engineers who need high performance for low atomic number measurement applications including sulfidic corrosion, sulfur and phosphorus, and for residuals analysis per API 751 and 5L specifications.

CSi paired with X-550 is the premium package for all alloy needs.

See how SciAps analyzers are working on the job.

Check out SciAps PMI results in these recent blog posts.

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