Thermo Fisher Scientific committed to on-time delivery

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a broad range of products to support bulk materials processing and transportation including state-of-the-art sampling systems, highly accurate belt scales, tramp metal detectors and the ability for real time online analysis with its PGNAA coal analyzer product line. The company’s products are marketed worldwide to the coal and minerals mining, utilities, cement, construction, and aggregates industries, among others.

Thermo Fisher Scientific’s solutions are designed to help customers gain efficiencies, improve effectiveness and, ultimately, run more profitable operations. This is all backed by the Thermo Scientific commitment to on-time delivery of products and services.


Sampling systems provide valuable information regarding the quality and composition of the materials going through each specific process. The Thermo ScientificTM SWAX-7000 sweep sampler provides an economical method to procure a representative sample from a material stream, enabling the user to obtain details on the content and quality of the material. Subjected to rigorous in-the-field testing,Thermo Scientific sampling equipment is designed to meet ASTM and ISO specifications. Robust, compactly designed and easy to install, a sampler can be used as a stand-alone device, as a primary device in a multi-mechanical sampling process or with an online analyzer such as the CQM FLEX.


In-motion belt scale systems are used to provide accurate weighing and monitoring of bulk materials throughout a process. The scale model used depends on the application; some are specifically designed for applications involving non-critical or lower value materials, where economy and ease of installation are as important as accuracy. Other models are designed for high accuracy or basis-of-payment applications requiring certification by government and regulatory agencies and are capable of weighing to within 0.125%.

Most belt scale systems comprise three major elements: the weighbridge with load cell(s), the belt speed sensor, and an electronic integrator. The weighbridge attaches to a conveyor’s stringers and supports the weigh idler, while the load cell(s) measure the weight of material on the belt. The speed sensor is mechanically connected to the conveyor’s tail pulley and generates a stream of pulses. Each pulse represents a unit of travel. The frequency of the pulse stream is proportional to belt speed. The electronics integrate the output signals from the load cell(s) and speed sensor to arrive at a rate of material flow and total material passed over the scale.

Belt scale systems provide vital information for the effective management and efficient operation of your processes.


The Thermo ScientificTM Tramp Metal Detector provides an economical and reliable method of protecting expensive crushers, conveyors and other equipment from potentially costly damage by tramp metal, which helps reduce downtime and ensures the production process stays operational. As a result, dry material handlers should consider tramp metal detectors to be an essential part of their operation.

Able to identify all types of metallic scrap including bucket teeth, manganese steel mantles, bore crowns, bar scrap chains, and tools, the tramp metal detector can even detect tramp metal buried in wet conductive materials. Tramp metal detectors are insensitive to materials with high magnetic permeability and electrical conductivity so they can be used in applications where conventional metal detectors produce an unacceptable false alarm rate, further improving your process.

THERMO SCIENTIFIC CQM FLEX (COAL QUALITY MANAGER) The Thermo ScientificTM CQM FLEX provides minute-by- minute quality analysis of a customer’s most critical coal streams. The CQM FLEX allows for the minimization of variations in coal quality, ensuring contract compliance and improved efficiencies. Various uses include, but are not limited to, sorting and blending of various coals, meeting quality specifications, reducing shipment variability, receipt monitoring, improving boiler efficiency at power plants and controlling preparation plant performance.

The CQM FLEX is the next generation of the highly successful CQM product line. The CQM FLEX incorporates the best of the original CQM and adds additional advantages. The ‘FLEX’ in the CQM provides the end user with the ability to use the traditional Cf-252 neutron source or the option to use a neutron generator to supply the neutrons. The neutron generator option allows the user to turn off the Neutron generator when required, whereas the CF-252 is a continuously emitting radioactive source. In addition to this feature, the Neutron generator option provides measurement of Carbon and Oxygen in addition to the normal ash constituents measured by the CF-252 version.

The CQM FLEX is able to analyze the sampled material in totality through a fixed geometry analysis zone providing unsurpassed accuracy and repeatability. The fixed geometry analysis zone design is the only one of its kind available and eliminates all the issues normally associated with the use of standard Cross Belt Analyzers such as irregular belt loading, segregation of material, steel corded belts and chlorinated belts, to name a few.



  • total moisture
  • ash (including the following elements: Fe, Si, Ca,Al,Ti, K, and Na) 
  • sulphur 
  • calorific value (gross and net)
  • SO2 v CO2  
  • nitrogen
  • chlorine
  • carbon
  • hydrogen
  • oxygen
  • volatile matter 
  • fixed carbon 
  • ash fusion temperature
  • base/acid ratio 
  • fuel ratio 
  • fouling/slagging index
On-Line Analyzer Installation: Increased profits through improved efficiency 

By: Michael Evans, Vice President, Energy Minerals for SGS Contributions by Ron Graham, Technical Governance Manager for SGS Minerals Services and Charles Rose, Manager Technical Services for SGS Minerals Services


The buying and selling of coal and other commodities relies on accurate quantity and quality analyses. These activities determine product value, allow process control and ensure contract and specification compliance, resulting in a fair price for sellers and buyers. Traders need to be sure of a consistent analysis each time a shipment is sampled.

Sampling is one of the most important steps in the analysis of bulk cargo. As it is impractical to test an entire lot, representative samples are tested. When proper sampling procedures are used, bias is eliminated. The result is a non-bias representation of the overall quality of the entire cargo with a level of precision that can be measured.

ISO and ASTM standards recognize that mechanical sampling is the only method for the collection of representative samples. Automated operations ensure consistent sampling operations with no human bias.


Real Time Analysis refers to the ability to acquire moisture, ash and sulphur data of your coal within minutes allowing operational changes to be made based on this data in near real time. This improves sorting and blending efficiency and profitability. Real Time Analysis combines the capabilities of on- line analyzers, mechanical sampling systems and advanced computer technology to allow buyers, sellers or traders to monitor and correct loading or blending while these activities are in progress.

Real Time Analysis is made possible by On-Line Analysis (OLA) systems, which can be integrated into an efficient mechanical sampling system. In this configuration, the mechanical sampling system takes an automated sample from a conveyor belt at defined time intervals and the OLA performs an analysis.The OLA sends the feedback directly to a controller that can make adjustments in real-time if necessary.

SGS has years of experience designing and manufacturing mechanical sampling system equipment and has managed the construction of these systems with On-Line Analyzers included.


OLA systems allow mining operations, coke facilities, loading facilities, coal preparation plants and thermal power generators to monitor, control and optimize their loading, product sorting and blending processes. OLAs can indicate when modifications must be made that are beneficial to operations.This can have a substantial impact on a facility’s efficiency and overall financial bottom line.

An OLA system, properly configured to a site’s specifications and cost requirements, can generate additional revenue streams for the owner.This is accomplished by:


  • lowering the cost of producing the commodity; 
  • increasing the capacity of the facilities; 
  • increasing the value of the product sold; and 
  • eliminating contract or government penalties.


When analyzers are used to improve the operation of a mine, preparation plant or power plant, the project justification should be based on the additional profits that will result from using the analyzers to improve the performance of the operation. Usually the economic returns from an analyzer project are remarkable.


Most sizeable operations that mine, process or use significant amounts of commodities such as coal and cement can benefit from using OLA and real time measurement systems.


A successful OLA installation is the result of a team effort between the owner, the supplier of the analyzer, the engineering and construction partner and a designated technical partner such as SGS. This team, all experienced in designing and supporting on-line analyzer systems for the coal industry, will install commission and calibrate the system in accordance with specified standards. After start-up and acceptance, the system must be supported with a continuous calibration and surveillance programme. This entire process is overseen by the OLA technical partner.

When choosing the members of this team, the owner must be confident that they will be provided with a system that meets their specific requirements and has the service capability to meet their ongoing needs. The effect of analyzer accuracy on project economics, manufacturing and calibration processes used, and radiation and licensing issues must be understood by all parties. SGS, who has years of relevant experience with these systems, acts as a consultant in all aspects of this process.


To determine the most efficient, cost effective OLA with the potential for the greatest return, the owner and the OLA technical partner must gather a variety of specific information. They must also learn and understand each other’s needs and capabilities.

The owner must understand: v how the analyzer works; v what it can and cannot do. v how other companies with the same analytical requirements

design, manufacture and calibrate their units; v what the system installation and design needs are; and v what, in the owner’s system, can affect the analyzer performance. Most of this information can be obtained from SGS and will  ensure that the owner purchases a system with optimal performance suited for their specific needs and location.

An OLA technical partner, such as SGS, must understand: 

  • the owner’s process; 
  • how the analyzer can be used to generate more value for the owner;
  • the process problems, constraints and control objectives; 
  • the coal qualities and expected ranges; and 
  • the constraints imposed by the owner’s system.

When the OLA technical partner understands the owner’s issues, they can then be an effective part of the team, developing solutions and ultimately the financial justification for an OLA.


Based on the common understanding of the capabilities of the OLA and the process needs of the current or future system, a plan is developed. Both the owner and the OLA technical partner need to be sure that their contributions to the project not only complement each other, but also lead to obtaining the goals specified. Additionally, the following must be addressed:


  • what the process improvements are and what value they will generate?
  • where the OLA is located to optimally control the process and allow calibration and maintenance? and
  • how it will be used to control the process and the control equipment?



With the OLA location selected, the details can be developed. These details need to clarify how the OLA will physically fit into the owner’s system, what the structural requirements are, and what modifications to the present system have to be designed to support the OLA and meet the project’s objectives.

Other details that need to be defined include the level of accuracy required for the timed measurements and whether the main focus is on directly measured results or inferred results. A consensus must be met on reasonable expectations of analyzer performance and these expectations must be clearly stated in terms that can be measured and assessed during acceptance tests. This expertise will be used when preparing system and equipment specifications.

The location of the OLA computer must be defined to optimize communications between the analyzer, its control computer and the owner’s control system. Additionally, the solution developed may require additional software to meet special needs in the process solution. These must be defined and a plan developed so the software can be coded and tested.


Both teams designate a person to be their point of contact. The owner assigns a site champion with the operational responsibility for the project at their site. SGS will appoint a single person with the ability to handle technical and scheduling issues as a single point of contact for the owner. With single points of contact, there will be no confusion by either party.

A kick-off meeting at the owner’s site is scheduled as soon as practical to ensure that all important topics are addressed, including:


  • technical details;
  • sampling requirements;  
  • licensing; 
  • layout engineering; 
  • power requirements; 
  • communication interfaces;  commissioning needs; and
  • schedules.


This meeting will confirm the technical agreements reached in the purchasing phase and address the technical details needed to actually design, construct and commission the project.


At the end of the construction period, a pre-commissioning site inspection should be scheduled with the owner, the contractor and the OLA technical partner prior to commissioning. This usually saves the owner time and money as last minute details can be sorted out and wiring checked so, when commissioning begins, the analyzer system is complete.

The OLA is then commissioned which brings the OLA on-line and confirms that the analyzer is working properly.


In determining calibration parameters, measurement uncertainties of the OLA, physical sampling and analysis are taken into account. This is a more robust calibration than can be obtained with ordinary least squares regression, which is based on the premise of no error in measurements of the independent variable. Unbiased estimates of calibration parameters and measurement precision are calculated using a latent variable statistical model. No assumption about the status of the current analyzer calibration during the initial test period is required.

SGS has a robust calibration algorithm that recognizes uncertainty in the sampling and analysis and the OLA. It produces a more accurate calibration with precise measurements, than what is achieved by typical linear calibrations from OLA suppliers.


Ongoing support and troubleshooting are integral components of a successful OLA system. Continuous surveillance ensures that when updated laboratory and coal OLA data is received, selected statistical routines are applied to detect potential analyzer and sampling/sample assay problems. This allows for a structured investigation into the cause of the problem.The solution could involve calibrating the OLA, correct a mechanical, electrical or procedural fault, or adjusting sample collection or analytical parameters.

A qualified SGS inspector performs an annual on-site physical inspection of the OLA and associated coal sampling system. After the inspection, a report is provided, detailing any deficiencies and offering recommendations for enhancements and improvements to the system and procedures.


An OLA system can be an integral component of many mechanical sampling systems, generating smoother operations for producers, consumers and traders of coal and other commodities. It increases profits and reduces costs.

SGS is a leading global supplier in innovative and technologically advanced sampling, sorting and blending services with decades of experience. Our technical team can install and provide complete support services for your new or existing On-Line Analysis system to provide the accuracy you need to run your facility at maximum efficiency. The process involved in providing on-line analysis is complex and a full economic evaluation requires experienced engineers. SGS offers you trusted world-class technical expertise and experience.


Evans, M. (2004, November 8-10). Cost Justification for a Coal Analyzer Installation. Paper presented at the International On-Line Coal Analyzer Technical Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. Evans, M. (2004, November 8-10). Ensuring a Successful Analyzer Installation Project. Paper presented at the International On-Line Coal Analyzer Technical Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

Graham, R. D. (2001, December). Probability and Risk Management in Coal Sampling and Analysis. World Coal. Rose, C. D. (2004). Calibration and Testing of On-Line Coal Analyzers. Journal of ASTM, 1(4).

Real-time online truck tracing now possible, with a new SGS system 

SGS has introduced a new online truck tracing system that effectively manages and records the movement of vehicles in real time.

Created by the company’s own technical staff at SGS Bulgaria, the Goods Monitoring Tracing System (GMTS) took six months to develop and install. Three months of finalization and training followed, with the system going live at SGS in June 2014. Within a month, several of Bulgaria’s major trade exporters had started using GMTS for both accumulation and export activities.

Users are already finding the system a valuable tool for monitoring the movement, quantity and quality of countless shipments, and for examining the performance of numerous suppliers.


The tracking process begins when a user creates an electronic order within GMTS, and associates it with a particular truck. There’s also an option to generate barcode information for each element within an order, and for each vehicle.

GMTS centralizes all of the data within a single system that’s accessible via the web, making it easy and convenient to use from any location. The system also helps to improve the management of the logistical and quality control aspects of cargo accumulation, imports and exports.

Different users along the supply chain have varying levels of access. From warehouse to checkpoint and final location, they can update — in real-time — the information that’s appropriate to them within the order. The system can record and monitor a variety of activities, including the specification and loading of goods, the draft survey, fumigation, and discharge.

GMTS allows users to add the relevant documentation electronically, reducing time-consuming paperwork and the opportunity for errors and omissions. It also makes the transfer of information and instructions to the place of loading and discharge much easier and more secure. Again, this minimizes the scope for human error (and reduces the possibility of fraud), while also improving the traceability and quality of each sample.


If the tested goods fail to meet the terms of the contract, the inspectors will remove the items and change the shipment, or cancel it totally. They will then amend the GMTS records accordingly and, if required (e.g. to provide proof of poor quality), add photographs and other evidence.

Whatever the outcome of the checks, users can analyse the information as it comes online within the system. They can also generate reports on quantities delivered, quality levels, contractual and legal compliance, and many other criteria.


The team in Bulgaria originally created the system to address a local need. Even so, the early feedback from SGS staff and client- users suggests that other markets could use the system successfully too. The company is studying the potential for expanding this service internationally.

Given that GMTS is an open-source application, there is also scope for new features and modules that could reflect the needs of individual users. In addition, the opportunity remains to develop the system to respond to changing legislation, or to address specific client requirements.


Recognized for its quality and integrity, SGS is a leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world. 
Bretby Gammatech celebrates its 20th anniversary 

Melbourne company Bretby Gammatech marked its 20th anniversary with a special event held at its premises attended by South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler on Friday 16 May.

The company, which produces coal quality monitoring equipment for the worldwide mining industry, celebrated with customers,VIPs, past and present staff, the success of the business which pioneers non-radioactive methods for analysing the ash content of coal.

Mrs Heather Wheeler MP said: “I would like to congratulate Bretby Gammatech on its 20th anniversary. It was very inspiring to see the company’s cutting edge coal monitoring technology and to learn about its past and its exciting plans for the future. The journey from the old Coal Board Research site at Bretby to a company that now has 95% of its business exported is a dream come true for us in South Derbyshire”

The visit included a presentation by Gary Wain, general manager of Bretby Gammatech, on the future of the business and the technological advances it is set to introduce, by Mark Henley of President Engineering Group Ltd which acquired the business in 2012 and a history of the business by Paul Taylor, the former managing director of the company.

This was then followed by product demonstrations of the company’s Ash Probe, Lab Ash and Ash/Heat Eye technology. Heather Wheeler MP also performed the official ‘switch on’ of the new Eye Graffix software which is the company’s latest innovation that is set to revolutionize its online systems, such as Ash Eye and Heat Eye, giving customers greater functionality and remote access.

Gary Wain, general manager of Bretby Gammatech, said: “We were delighted to welcome our MP Heather Wheeler plus other local dignitaries to join with us to celebrate our 20th anniversary. WeareasmallDerbyshirecompanyyetwe develop and sell world-leading coal monitoring equipment across the world from Brazil to Mongolia. It was great to be able to showcase our latest technology and demonstrate our exciting plans for the future.”


Bretby Gammatech was founded by four former British Coal staff back in 1994, who developed an ash probe that could be plunged into piles or trucks of coal to monitor the ash content, using natural gamma radiation which has huge health and safety and cost benefits over other methods. Over the last 20 years, the company has innovated within its range and added a number of new products. In 2012 it became part of the President Engineering Group (PEGL), which has enabled it to further exploit opportunities internationally. The company supplies its technology to all the major mining markets across the UK.


Ash Probe: a portable instrument for measuring the ash content of coal, providing the user with highly accurate readings within seconds.


Heat Eye: a fully on-line instrument providing second-by- second measurement of the Ash, Moisture and Nett Calorific Value (Nett CV) i.e. the energy content of conveyed coal.This is produces in real-time rather than by the traditional method of laboratory analysis.

Lab Ash: A Laboratory ash monitor for use with coal samples.
Ash Eye: a coal quality monitoring system that attaches to conveyor belts to monitor the coal as it is moved from the mine to the stockpile or conveyor transportation.
Gamma Eye: for measuring the much larger bulk gamma emissions from, for example, material contaminated with NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) scales, soil contaminated with fission products — using 137Cs as a marker and redundant concrete shielding — using activation 60Co as a marker. 
EyeGraffix: Remote monitoring application for the Bretby Gammatech Ash Eye and Heat Eye ash monitoring systems.