Positive Material Identification (PMI) is crucial for verifying the chemical composition of metal alloys. Carbon analysis is particularly important because carbon content significantly impacts the properties of steel and other alloys. This article explores the capabilities and limitations of handheld metal analyzers for carbon detection and discusses advancements in portable Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) technology.


Handheld Solutions for Portable Carbon Readings

Current handheld technologies face limitations in accurately detecting carbon in metals due to the necessity of argon shielding for precise measurements. While traditional handheld instruments may not offer direct carbon reading capabilities, advancements in portable OES technology are bridging this gap, providing more reliable and portable solutions.


Portable OES: An Alternative Solution for Portable Carbon Analysis

Mobile OES devices offer a compromise between the portability of handheld analyzers and the analytical performance of lab-based OES systems. These devices are particularly effective for carbon detection in various environments.

Key features of portable OES devices include:

  • High Accuracy: Comparable to laboratory-based systems.
  • Portability: Enhanced mobility for on-site analysis.
  • Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of applications, including metals and alloys.



The GNR E3 Esaport is a portable optical emission spectrometer designed for on-site analysis, making it highly versatile for various applications including metal sorting, positive material identification (PMI), and incoming quality controls. Here’s a detailed analysis of its features and capabilities:


Key Features

1. Portability and Design:

  • The E3 Esaport is compact and lightweight, allowing it to be used in diverse environments, from production departments to warehouses.
  • It comes with an optional trolley for easy mobility, enhancing its practicality for field use.

2. Analytical Performance:

  • Equipped with both arc and spark excitation sources, the E3 Esaport delivers high-precision results that are comparable to laboratory instruments.
  • It uses an argon gas-flushed pistol, ensuring accurate analysis of elements such as carbon (C), aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), and magnesium (Mg).
  • The spectrometer’s optical system includes multi-CCD digital electronic detectors, which are thermally insulated and shock-resistant for robust performance in various conditions.

3. User-Friendly Operation:

  • The device features a user-friendly panel PC and can be operated using the MetalLab32 software, which is designed for ease of use and flexibility.
  • The software supports various functions, including analysis, automatic standardization, printing of certificates, network linking, remote control, and autodiagnosis. It also helps in determining alloys according to international standards.

4. Technical Specifications:

  • Power supply: 220V single phase.
  • Dimensions: 60 cm (W) x 29 cm (D) x 51 cm (H).
  • Weight: 23 kg, including bag and probe (without trolley).
  • The spectrometer can operate independently with an optional battery, which is crucial for field operations.



The E3 Esaport is ideal for:

  • On-Site Analysis: Ideal for environments where laboratory-grade analysis is required on-site.
  • Metal Sorting: Helps in quickly sorting metals based on their composition.
  • Positive Material Identification (PMI): Ensures the correct identification of materials, crucial for quality control and regulatory compliance.

For more information and purchasing options, view the GNR E3 Esaport product.


Practical Applications and Industry Impact

Portable carbon analyzers have substantial practical applications across various industries, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of metal compositions. Here’s a closer look at how these tools are utilized:


Steel Production

In steel production, precise carbon content is crucial for achieving desired mechanical properties such as hardness, ductility, and tensile strength. Portable carbon analyzers allow for on-site verification of carbon content, ensuring that steel products meet the required specifications and standards. This helps in maintaining consistent product quality and minimizing the risk of defects.


Pipeline Integrity Management

The oil and gas industry relies heavily on pipelines to transport materials over long distances. Ensuring the integrity of these pipelines is critical to prevent leaks and failures that could lead to environmental hazards and costly repairs. Portable carbon analyzers are used to verify the material composition of pipeline sections, particularly focusing on carbon content, which affects the strength and durability of the metal. Regular PMI testing helps in early detection of potential issues, ensuring the longevity and safety of the pipelines.


Chemical Plants and Refineries

In chemical plants and refineries, the use of appropriate materials is vital to withstand harsh operating conditions such as high temperatures, pressures, and corrosive environments. Portable carbon analyzers enable on-site material verification, ensuring that pipes, tanks, and other equipment are made from metals with the correct carbon content. This verification process is crucial for maintaining operational safety and compliance with industry regulations.

Accurate carbon measurement is essential for maintaining quality and safety in these sectors, showcasing the versatility and necessity of portable carbon analyzers.


Wrapping Up: Do Handheld Carbon Analyzers Exist?

While traditional handheld analyzers face challenges in directly detecting carbon, advancements in portable OES technology provide effective solutions. These devices offer the portability needed for fieldwork without compromising on accuracy.

For more information on portable carbon analyzers and to explore our services, contact Verichek Technical Services.


Periodic maintenance (PM) and calibration are essential tasks that you need to do on a regular basis to ensure that your equipment continues to function as intended.

Learn How Periodical Maintenance & Calibration Will Save You Money