The HazMat Guys

In this bonus episode, Bob and Mike discuss new hazmat technology with Nancy Otto from Rigaku.

Complete Show Notes

1:30 Background on Rigaku Analytical Devices

  • U.S. subsidy of a larger company called Rigaku that’s located in Japan
  • Located just north of Boston – everything is made in the U.S.
  • Rigaku has been around for 60 years and is well known for their bench top equipment
  • Subsidiary in Boston is focused on manufacturing handheld detection equipment – handheld is the way of the future
  • Focused on providing innovative solutions – company is made up of people who have expertise in the field of Raman technology and detection in general
  • They bring something new and advanced to the market, unlike other companies who may be stale

4:20 Nancy’s Background

  • She’s been in the safety and security market for 15 years
  • 25 years of research and development experience – developing new products and applications of all different scientific technologies
  • Listens to pain points and uses that to guide development of software and features to make them more beneficial to the customer

5:30 What Makes the 1064nm Unique?

  • Uses 1064 nanometer laser technology instead of the currently accepted 785nm technology
  • Some people don’t realize that Raman offers a choice in the type of laser that’s used
  • These components only become available with the miniaturization of computers and cell phones – made components readily available
  • 785 has known limitations – when you have a sample with a color component or an impurity, it takes a long time to sample due to a phenomenon called fluorescence
  • Fluorescence impedes analysis, which means it take several to hundreds of minutes to perform – many times where you can’t make the identification at all
  • 1064 shifts the profile and frequency of that laser away from where fluorescence occurs – takes less than 45 seconds for the entire analysis process
  • One drawback is that it’s more sensitive, but they’re working on overcoming that sensitivity with design
  • Smaller devices can also be easier to steal and have smaller fonts, which is something to consider
  • Mike is annoyed by super small meters, but he doesn’t have this issue with the 1064nm – it’s the perfect size for its function and is feature-rich
  • You don’t have to open containers to meter them with Raman devices – the 1064 does mixture analysis because there’s no interference to overcome
  • You can analyze more than what’s in the sales kit – Rigaku encourages evaluation and a head-to-head comparison

16:10 Rigaku’s 4C Technology

  • Software program added to the unit – it monitors in the background while you’re running samples – most other units don’t do this
  • Software is built on 3 tiers:
    • If you put the unit in the hands of a novice user, he may only be capable of running a sample with 3 taps of a button – information he receives if just one basic screen of pertinent information
    • You can progress from that screen to another screen with more information – spectrum, wavelengths, overlays, library information, etc.
    • At the highest level, you can manually override and have the unit run specific applications

20:05 The 1064 Unit’s Library

  • The 1064’s library has close to 12,000 compounds
  • Composed of narcotics, explosives, precursors for both, chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, toxic industrial materials, controlled substances, and pharmaceuticals
  • The 4C uses an additional library that contains 135 threat recipes, like how to make a homemade explosive, how to make a narcotic, how to make a chemical warfare agent, etc.
  • When you turn on the 4C software, you’re also monitoring for these precursors

22:45 Other Features

  • 5-megapixel camera – you can take a sample, analyze it, and embed pictures into your final report to create an evidence file
  • Ergonomics of the unit are very well balanced – you can hold it in one hand and operate the buttons
  • Touch screen is usable in blue latex gloves and black butyl gloves up to 12mm
  • Screen also duplicates the buttons and it’s well-lit and visible in sunlight
  • Buttons are hard sided and edged so you can feel them even in thick Level A

25:50 Reach-Back Support

  • Customer support package is free for the life of the product – 24/7, 365-day reach-back support
  • They try to add in as much support to their package as possible in the upfront cost of the unit
  • Two-year warranty
  • Free software and library upgrades for the life of the product

27:25 Keeping the Unit Up-to-Date

  • Updates are included free-of-charge
  • You’ll receive a link in an email – connect the unit to a computer and download the update
  • Takes anywhere from a few minutes to 15 minutes depending on the size of the upgrade
  • Upgrades available whenever new features or library updates come out – not yearly
  • They encourage ideas and suggestions for new features and functionalities that customers would like to see

Have a question? Send an email to or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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