The Industry Standard in Automated Sample Preparation of Metals for OES and XRF

The PAL-MIL is an automated milling machine uniquely designed for optimal preparation of metallic samples for analysis by Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) or X-ray Fluorescence (XRF).

The design of the machine and its sub-systems eliminates successfully symptoms related to the cutting forces common to samples that are treated with rotary cutters.

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The Problem with Machining Samples

For the sake of an even, reproducible sample surface, the process of face milling is used. A milling head with multiple cutting points distributes the process of removing small material parts.

For hard and even very hard materials such as pig iron, the stability of the overall system needs to be very high in order to get an even surface and prevent samples from having chatter marks which is also a cause of premature failure of milling cutters. For decades, these issues have been addressed by grinding samples. While effective, this technique has nevertheless its drawback in the emission of dust and the inclusion of matrix materials of the grinding media into the sample surface. Grinding can also smear the surface of metals containing soft elements, such as lead, which is a significant problem for copper based matrices.

 

The PAL-MIL Difference

The PAL-MIL was designed to have the whole range of metallic samples prepared on one single machine. This vertical mill type bed mill incorporates a solid and stiff machine frame which takes up the forces and vibration during cutting operation to prevent chatter marks. Rock solid spindle guides and a dedicated automatic clamping device with height control are the key ingredients to form a highly reliable single purpose sample preparation machine.

 

Functionality

The PAL-MIL automated sample milling machine is equipped with two computer numeric controlled (CNC) axis, a height control and a sophisticated sample clamping device. A three way fluid less cooling system keeps the sample temperature down. The sample is prepared in a one-cut operation with pre-set values in one out of 99 different programs. For reference samples (standards), a smaller cutting depth is set-up other than for production samples where this rate is usually in the 0.8 mm range for ferrous materials and up to a few mm for non-ferrous applications. Typical preparation cycle lasts less than 30 seconds at one of the 2 spindles. An automatic tool changer is optional available.

 

 

 

 The PAL-MIL prepares stainless steel, pig iron, steel and nonferrous metal samples for X-ray and OE-analysis. The milling preparation procedure drastically and effectively reduces the contamination influence and the memory effect.

Preparation of plain and reproducible sample surfaces in one milling step

The clamping devices of the PAL-MIL are designed to handle a wide variety of sample sizes and shapes, for example cylinders, mushrooms or squares. Material can be milled from the sample surface until the homogeneous area of the sample is reached.


Preparation of production sample.

Using a manual, automatic or robot handling system the sample is inserted into the machine and clamped. The milling machine is standard equipped with a second milling spindle with separate driveDepending on which sample is introduced to the PAL-MIL the first or second milling head is used. The major advantage of PAL-MIL is the one milling step preparation of the analytical surface and the air cooling of the samples. Liquid cooling is not necessary. No dedusting system is required. The milling cuts are collected in an easily-removable box within the machine. The cutting speed and the sample feed are stored as parameters in a preparation program, ensuring optimum setting for each sample type.

 

 

 

 

 

Dimensions and weight

Machine: W x L x H: 1204 x 1152 x 2243 mm

Weight: 1900 kg

Electrical cabinet: W x L x H: 800 x 400 x 1600 mm

Weight: 250 kg

Electrical power supply

3 x 400 V, 50 Hz, PE, 12 kW; other voltages on request

Compressed air

Pressure: 6-8 bar, max. 1100 Ndm3/ sample

Electronic controller

PLC: S7; Control voltage: 24 V DC

Preparation programs: 16

Milling head

Quick release milling head: variable number of cutting blades,

each with variable cutting edges

Sample clamping device

Clamping range: 32 - 50 mm

 

 

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 PAL-Mil Milling Machine