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Posted by: In: Uncategorized 30 Mar 2016 0 comments

I’m continually amazed at just how many XRD users we encounter who are only vaguely aware of what their machines can do. These instruments are relatively simple in mechanical terms, but the data they generate can unlock an amazing array of information about the sample. We’ve traveled all over the country over the last 40 years and spoken with countless XRD and XRF users. Many of these are novice users who understand the basics of their application, but little more. Some were relying on courses they’d taken in college many years before. Many had attended one class or another, but rarely felt they came away prepared for the work they’d be doing. I’ve heard so many people describe the information going “straight over my head” that I’m convinced there’s a better way to train users on the broad scope of analyses their diffractometer can perform.

We began offering training classes as soon as we started Texray hoping to fill the gap between tedious trial-and-error and, for some, ineffective large format courses. Along the way we’ve expanded our class offerings to include everything from basic theory (even general chemistry) to advanced analytical techniques such as Rietveld refinement among others. Texray is also certified by MDI to offer field training classes on all their analytical software. This allows us to arrange for demo licenses of some very powerful software for all attendees for the duration of the class.


Many of the clients we’ve worked with have small gaps in their knowledge which leaves them lost on the first day of a large format class. In our small groups, the curriculum is determined by the current knowledge level of the attendees and their own goals. No time needs to be spent on applications which they’ll never use and no one gets “left in the dust” on day one. Multi-stage classes begin with basic theory and progress to advanced techniques to allow for new users to get their feet wet and experienced users to broaden their skills all in a single session. Attendees may jump in and out according to their skill level.


When a company is asked to send an employee for outside training, it usually requires a full week of their time during which they’re not covering their usual responsibilities. Travel costs and down time usually mean that a given lab will only send one or two primary users to the training class. With an on-site course from Texray, attendance is unlimited. Training two or more users represents a huge cost savings. There’s no faster or more economical way to bring your whole team up to speed.


A highly skilled instructor comes to your site. You’ll work with your own hardware and software to eliminate the learning curve which can become an significant obstacle after large group courses. You’ll receive training targeted specifically to your applications and at a pace dictated by the attendees, not a fixed curriculum. All attendees will be provided with temporary licenses for Jade 2010 software for hands-on work throughout the class.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 24 Mar 2016 0 comments

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time. I think about it every time we get a call or email from someone who wants to talk about an application that’s a little “outside the box” or just making contact to learn more about what we do. The conversation always follows a similar pattern through which they explain what’s needed and I get to offer advice based on my experience, or lack there of, with that type of work. Every time I think I’ve heard it all, I’ll get a call for something completely new. It’s a fascinating world we live in and a great time to be a scientist. That brings me to my point, these callers always seem surprised that when they call, the phone is answered by someone who is technically knowledgeable, at least familiar with the science and quite happy to talk at length about their needs. I tell them all the same thing, “This isn’t just a job, we live for this stuff.”


CNC machining is a relatively small part of what we do at KSA and Texray, but it’s a personal hobby I enjoy quite a bit. I’ve cut many of these SS branding iron heads friends and charity auctions. They’re fun, not too complicated and really cool.


Posted by: In: Uncategorized 24 Mar 2016 0 comments

Preventative maintenance has always been a difficult subject for me. The manufacturers all recommend an annual visit to go over their instruments in the hopes that small issues would be dealt with before they became large issues, but it’s never easy to tell a client that their perfectly functional system requires thousands of dollars in maintenance. That being said, over the last 40 years, we’ve performed countless PM routines all over the world on at least 13 different models of XRD and XRF instrumentation and almost every one of those visits has turned up at least one issue which needed attention for one reason or another. This will be the first of several posts detailing various problems we’ve encountered during these visits.

A long time client at one of our most prestigious national laboratories had gone several years without any maintenance being performed on their Siemens D500. Over that time, corrosion built up in this small receiving area before the incident beam optics. I should be very clear that this has no effect on the shutter assembly, fail-safe features or safety in general. However, if left unchecked, flakes will eventually fall into the beam path. The symptom is simply that intensities are lower. This is not the first time we’ve been called out to replace a tube only to find that the low intensities were due to attenuation. Running through a basic PM before installing the new tube saved $6000 of your tax dollars.