FAQs

Several new PCB processes have become available recently, including EPAG (Electroless Palladium/ Autocatalytic Gold) and EPIG (Electroless Palladium / Immersion Gold.) I’m certain there will be more. How do we know that an XRF purchased today will accurately quantify all of the new deposit combinations?

Yes, the demand for thicker gold on many PCB designs, and the trend away from nickel for a host of reasons, has given rise to new processes that are certain to become more common.

All Bowman’s benchtop XRF systems precisely measure up to 5 plated layers, from aluminum through uranium on the periodic chart. Bowman optics and detector technology is exceptionally well suited for the specific processes you mentioned- and others we know of that are under development and will debut in the near future.

We have a German XRF system and need a 2nd instrument. What are the advantages of a Bowman XRF?

Bowman systems have important technical and service-related advantages over foreign-made devices! Bowman XRF instruments have lower detection limits and short measurement times. They are powered by leading edge software that combines intuitive, visual controls with time-saving shortcuts, flexible searchability and the industry’s only true one-click report generator. The Bowman XRF tech service team provides comprehensive, same-day service response for every benchtop XRF unit. (No overseas manufacturer can begin to match that commitment!) We also help customers streamline their test processes, and generate the information required, in less time. Learn more.

Does Bowman provide support for Fischer systems?

Bowman has a robust local service network to support every benchtop XRF measurement system, at every customer location, including systems manufactured by Fischer, Hitachi / Oxford, Seiko and CMI. We provide comprehensive, same-day response for service, calibration and repair; we also supply foil and plated standards for every application. Bowman service technicians often work with customers to streamline their testing processes, and to generate the qualitative and quantitative information that’s required, in less time.

Bowman XRF systems have an intuitive SW interface that combines visual controls with time-saving shortcuts, flexible search-ability and the industry’s only true “one-click” report generator. We also have a build-in searchable database that automatically stores readings. Another feature, available first on O Series instruments and currently being rolled out to other models, is our Auto Focus HRS. This unique feature provides a perfect focus on highly reflective surfaces that are difficult or impossible for laser and other conventional focusing methods.

Bowman systems are “3-in-one” XRFs, providing thickness measurement, elemental analysis, and plating solution analysis. For the last, a plating solution is measured by pouring a specified quantity of solution into a specialized cell. Bowman systems simultaneously analyze up to 24 elements.

You can safely keep any Bowman XRF unit on continuously. If you have an issue with power availability in your facility, you may even want to consider an uninterruptible power supply. All of the powered instruments in your quality lab will benefit from this – in major and minor ways. A major advantage is stability, which will always be greater with continuous power. An example of a relatively minor advantage is the life expectancy of instrument lights.

Bowman has a robust local service network to support every benchtop XRF system, at every customer location, whether it’s a Bowman, or a system made by Fischer, Hitachi / Oxford, Seiko – or CMI. We offer applications consulting, instrument installation and operator training, service and repair, plus foils and hard-plated standards for all XRF equipment and applications. XRF calibration is performed at Bowman’s ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited Lab.

We have field partners covering Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Evansville, (actually, every major US city!), and could have an XRF specialist visit your lab, explain to you (and your colleagues, if you like) how the technology works, the differences in XRF systems, etc. If you’re interested, email us at sales@bowmanxrf.com.

The P Series measures the widest variety of shapes, sample sizes, and quantities. It is equipped with a high-precision, programmable X-Y stage that offers several convenience factors over a fixed stage. Pinpoint control is achievable for testing critical areas, and larger sampling volumes are possible through multi-point programming.

Bowman xrf coating measurement systems comply with ASTM B568, DIN 50987 and ISO 3497. For our PCB customers, Bowman equipment is IPC 4552 capable. Also, the Bowman lab is ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited for calibration.

The O Series combines high performance with a small x-ray spot size. The standard configuration includes 80μm optics, along with a high resolution SDD detector that can process high count rates. The camera has a greater magnification compared to other XRFs, with a 45x video magnification and 5x higher digital zoom.

Bowman’s M Series is the ultimate XRF instrument for the smallest x-ray spot sizes, focusing the x-ray beam down to 15μm FWHM. A dual-camera system allows operators to see the entire part, click the image to zoom-in with the higher-mag camera, and pinpoint the feature to be measured.

Poly-capillary Optics is a focusing technology that replaces the collimator assembly installed in many XRF instruments. The system achieves greater than a hundred times higher flux than a collimation system at the same distance from the source. The poly-capillary optics assembly allows almost all of the x-rays from the tube to reach the sample, resulting in much greater sensitivity for testing very small components or thin coatings.

Silicon PIN diode detectors provide spectral resolution superior to prop counters (a common, older technology) so operators can measure thinner deposits and lower elements concentrations. Silicon PIN detectors are low noise, and have excellent resolution and detection limits. Silicon drift detectors – SDDs – produce higher count rates, and have higher spectral resolution – typically 50% higher than PIN diode detectors. They have the lowest baseline noise, and the best detection limits.

XRF analyzers use X-ray fluorescence technology for elemental analysis. They can be applied to measure metal plating thickness and elemental composition. XRD analyzers use X-ray diffraction technology to measure the atomic and molecular structure of crystalline materials. They can be applied to identify and characterize compounds based on their diffraction pattern.

Accommodating parts up to 22” x 24”, the L Series chamber volume is the largest in its class. The large sample stage allows for both large parts, and large sample fixtures holding multiple parts, to be measured.

Bowman XRF analyzers use X-ray fluorescence technology for material thickness and composition analysis. X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation, with a frequency between ultraviolet and gamma rays. X-ray fluorescence is related to photoelectric interaction. When photoelectric interaction occurs, an electron is knocked from its orbit, creating a vacancy. Electrons from higher energy orbits can move to fill this vacancy. The energy difference between the two orbits is released as fluorescence X-rays. Fluorescence X-ray from each element has a signature energy and is called characteristic X-ray.

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