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Tribogenics Unveils Lighter Watson with Quick Release X-Ray Cartridge

August 24, 2017

Tribogenics’ new and improved version of Watson, a handheld alloy identifier, will be available for demo in September 2017.

The Watson M1 was a game-changer. You only pay for what you need due to its patented X-ray source, making it the most affordable metal analyzer on the market. The Watson M2 has all of those same great traits plus some excellent new ones:

  • Quick release X-ray cartridge
  • 1000 shot life warranty
  • Removable battery pack
  • More precise
  • Smaller size
  • Weighs only 6.0 lbs

With no downtime and field exchangeable X-ray cartridge and battery, metal analysis has never been easier. Ready to see for yourself? Request a demo and we’ll come to you, or stop by our booth at an upcoming trade show.

Visit us at the upcoming tradeshows

  • WESTEC booth #2825 – Sep 12-14, 2017 | Los Angeles, CA
  • The Quality Show booth #1820 – Oct 24-26, 2017 | Rosemont, IL
  • FABTECH booth #C40923 – Nov 6-9, 2017 | Chicago, IL

Tribogenics Rolls Out Next-Generation Watson™ XRF Metal Analyzer for Positive Materials Identification (PMI)

July 25, 2016

Game Changing X-ray Source Enables 200 Percent Improvement in Cost-of-Ownership; Company Begins Global Distribution of First Watson™ Volume Production Units 

LOS ANGELES, Calif., July 25, 2016 — X-ray technology innovator Tribogenics today introduced a powerful next-generation Watson™ XRF metal analyzer following up on last year’s unveiling of the industry’s lowest cost hand-held XRF analyzer. Despite a range of highly robust enhancements, such as a field-exchangeable and auto-calibrated source cartridge, automated upload of data to the cloud,  and a newly attained CE Mark that makes it available to a worldwide growth market, the next-generation Watson XRF device continues to be priced one-half that of competing handheld solutions.

Watson, which is now shipping in volume production worldwide — requires only seconds to complete positive material identification (PMI) of 423 metal alloys.  Tribogenics executives report that the device is already generating substantial demand among quality assurance and control manufacturers, metal fabricators, machinists and recyclers throughout the world.

“This next-generation Watson XRF represents an unrivaled combination of power, performance and price that is poised to upend the mobility X-ray market,” said Dale Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Tribogenics.  “Customers and partners ranging from manufacturers to energy companies are reporting that our new volume production Watson device includes precisely the attributes they have been clamoring for.” Industrial users frequently point to a number of Watson’s attributes that are demonstrably unsurpassed in the marketplace:

  • Positive Material Identification – Watson has unrivaled accuracy in identifying 423 alloys, minimizing risks of using incorrect or out-of-specification alloys.


  • No-downtime – Watson’s field-exchangeable and auto-calibrated source cartridge is changed easily in both the field and lab.


  • Seamless Reporting – A cloud-based data reporting system, available on Android OS, ensures compliance with seamless reporting, testing and analysis.


  • Ease of use – No operator training required. Watson is simple to operate and up and running in a matter of minutes.


“For anyone working with metals in there manufacturing process, particularly those supplying to aerospace, automotive and medical customers where conformance of certification is mission-critical, the Watson metal analyzer is an affordable, ‘must have’ verification technology,” commented Stewart Chalmers, vice president of marketing, Tribogenics.  “Our proprietary technology for producing X-rays enables us to deliver customers a breakthrough, highly accurate device with more than 100 percent improvement in cost of ownership, and guaranteed uptime – a big win for the customer.” 

Watson Serves

Watson serves industrial users who require verification to determine the quality of their metals. Hand-held XRF represents the hyper-growth segment of a worldwide market comprised of a wide range of industrial Quality Control and Assurance users in manufacturing, machining, surface engineering, coating service providers, metal fabrication precision and laser-beam welders.   

Beyond Industrial XRF

Tribogenics’ underlying technology was developed in collaboration with DARPA and the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). The most recent leap forward in this world-class development, the next-generation Watson XRF, maximizes the performance and minimizes the cost of generating X-rays by using the so-called Triboelectric Effect — a process similar to static electricity – to eliminate the industry’s typical requirements for expensive, high voltage devices.

“Tribogenics fully intends to drive significant growth in a global market that has long been demanding a product like Watson,” said Mark Valentine, Tribogenics COO and Vice President of Worldwide Sales.

As Tribogenics’ extendable technology platform increases the power and broadens the applicability of its X-ray innovations, the company intends to serve adjacent and related multi-billion-dollar markets.

“While we have our sights set firmly on the industrial XRF market, our robust product roadmap will create new sales growth opportunities going beyond industrial XRF into medical and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), where early prototyping results are positive,” added Valentine.


Watson is now available across United States and overseas. Customers can order online at or contact or call + 1 855-972-9123 or visit

About Tribogenics

Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Tribogenics is a leading innovator of triboluminescence based X-ray technology for industrial, medical, and scientific industries. It’s new Watson™ XRF hand-held analyzers remove the risk of error in QC/QA manufacturing environments by performing non-destructive testing (NDT) and PMI of metals and alloys in seconds. Watson™ is ideal for anyone concerned about the quality of their metals commonly used in metal fabrication, machining, welding, and manufacturing products for use in the aerospace, automotive, construction, medical, military, scientific and industrial sectors. For more information, visit. or call 1-855-972-9123.


Using Hand-Held X-Ray Fluorescence Analyzer for On-Demand Measurements

May 11, 2016

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Multiple Users for XRF Technology
  • Low-Cost XRF Spectrometer
  • Conclusion Authors



X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry is a non-destructive, non-invasive testing procedure, employed to verify and identify the chemical composition of solid, liquid, and powder metal coatings and alloys. Reducing the cost and size of XRF instruments has been a crucial focus of developments in this technology.

In 2015, the commercial launch of Tribogenics’ triboluminescence technology was a big step in the field of XRF technology, as it reduces the usage cost of XRF technology by almost half, without compromising the capability (Figure 1).

The users who initially benefited from the development are machine shop operators, who were able to add or transition to on-demand use of the XRF spectrometry for their processes. This article presents the benefits Plasma Technology (PTI) experienced when transitioning from batch-basis usage of XRF spectrometry to on-demand use.

The surface engineering services provided by PTI include custom tailored precision coatings with different combinations of properties, such as cost, weight, hardness, and also electrical, corrosion, and thermal resistance of the base materials, which improve the lifespan of the parts. PTI began making aircraft segments, however non-aircraft segments account to roughly 60% of its current market.

PTI provides more than 300 coatings that are applied using eight different techniques. These include Combustion Coating, High Velocity Oxy-Fuel Coating (HVOF), Wire Arc Coating, and Plasma Coating.

Multiple Users for XRF Technology

As standard in many job shops, many departments in PTI are required to carry out positive material identification (PMI), but the cost of having an XRF instrument in-house outweighs the total number of XRF measurements carried out each year. Previously PTI would use a mobile XRF spectrometer on lease twice a year after they were able to batch together adequate measurements to cover the lease cost.

The customers send their parts to PTI, and the coating is applied. As the received parts may pass through multiple companies before reaching PTI there may be a discrepancy between the items received and the paperwork, as a metal could of been changed in the upstream process, but this may not be accurately reflected in the part’s documentation.
Quality control (QC) should be able to positively verify the material composition of the part, as the process for each coating should match the material of the part. The use of an XRF spectrometer allows the QC staff to rapidly identify such discrepancies between the part and the paperwork, and prevent the application of an unsuitable coating, enabling the application of accurate coatings, especially when applying different multiple coatings on the same part.

PTI’s surfacing services are supported by the part-specific tooling and equipment manipulators created by the tooling group, who typically use titanium, steel, and aluminum alloys. Making sure that the metal alloys do not interfere with the coating process is a crucial step, because the markings used to identify the metal alloy stock are often cut off upon usage of the stock, which can lead to unintentional misidentification of the stock. The use of an XRF spectrometer ensures that the staff confidently select and use the appropriate stock for each part (Figure 2).

Novel coating materials are developed by the research and development group at PTI according to the customers’ requirements. Coating formulations include powders of different materials that are mixed and blended together. It is crucial to ensure that different powders are mixed properly because of the manner in which the resulting powder mix is sprayed on a part.

The XRF spectrometers are highly suitable to positively verify if the powders are mixed consistently to the required proportions, if the coatings are accurately applied onto the coupons, and if the correct bond slugs and coupons are used for testing.

When the coatings are applied using a grit blasting technique a considerable amount of coating powder is transformed as dust waste, which is collected from the spray booths, deposited in barrels, and ultimately recycled. As is takes many jobs to fill a barrel, keeping track of the dust deposited in each barrel is necessary.

If an incompatible or a low value metal is routed to a barrel with metal dust of a high value, then the money recovered through recycling will be reduced. The use of an XRF spectrometer not only enables the plant manager to correctly track the barrel contents and schedule the filling of appropriate metal dust, but also provides him with the knowledge of the barrel composition before sending it for recycling.

Low-Cost XRF Spectrometer

As PTI carries out nearly 100 XRF spectrometry measurements in a year, owning a XRF instrument was not justifiable.

PTI would lease an XRF spectrometer for a single day after collecting an adequate number of barrels to process to justify the cost.

The overall cost of collecting and storing the barrels until a complete batch is complete was incurred by the plant manager. While leasing an instrument, additional costs were also incurred in terms of traveling to collect and return the instrument.

Other departments would schedule measurements using the XRF instrument during the same lease window, but sometimes there would not be enough time to complete all the required measurements in a single day. This means the company would incur a second day of rental cost.

Tribogenics’ Watson XRF spectrometers can be purchased for nearly half of the cost of traditional hand-held XRF spectrometers. As the Watson instruments utilize triboluminescence to produce X-rays, they offer capabilities similar to the highly expensive units but at a comparatively lower cost.


PTI has determined that the new Watson™ hand-held XRF analyzer is easy to learn, operate, and use. This inexpensive XRF device is available in the market at a price point that is less than half that of older units.

When operators carry out multiple scans, they do not have to stop after each reading and write the result down as Watson™ records multiple readings, sends a sequential report to the user’s computer using the Wi-Fi feature, and generates reports within a few seconds. Watson also provides free cloud storage for a year.



In addition to all of the above features, Watson™ is a first of its kind hand-held XRF analyzer that is embedded with a field exchangeable X-ray cartridge that can be swapped in the field within a few seconds, which means there is no downtime.

PTI came to the conclusion that the value of replacing batch measurements with on-demand measurements at the price point of the Watson XRF spectrometer warranted buying Watson™ units for its California and Connecticut sites.


Steve Norris, Director of Quality, Plasma Technology, Inc.

Stewart Chalmers, VP of Marketing, Tribogenics.

Tribogenics Expands Sales Channel to Meet Demand for Breakthrough Hand-Held XRF Technology

May 02, 2016

Adds coverage in San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah to cope with heightening demand for new XRF Spectrometers

LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 2, 2016 –Tribogenics, the inventor of triboluminescence-based X-ray technology for industrial, medical and scientific applications, today announced that it has added new sales and distribution coverage to meet the growing demand for the X-ray industry’s lowest cost hand-held XRF spectrometer device. The new Watson™ hand-held XRF instrument performs positive material identification (PMI) of more than 430 metal alloys in a matter of seconds. New manufacturers representatives PE Systems, PSS and Hiltech will now sell and support Watson™ XRF devices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

Tribogenics’ proprietary triboluminescence based X-ray technology generates X-rays at a fraction of the cost of other X-ray technologies most of which have seen no innovation for more than 50 years and are three times more costly.

“Our new sales channel partners not only have a deep background in instrumentation; they have unsurpassed expertise in hand-held XRF, which is the hyper-growth segment of the market,” said Tribogenics Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dale Fox. “Between our new channel partners and our in-house team of experts, Tribogenics industrial customers in the Western United States are served by the most experienced professionals in America.”

The technology behind Watson™ XRF spectrometers was developed by Tribogenics and physicists at UCLA. Tribogenics successfully launched the product several months ago, substantially reducing the cost of hand-held XRF devices by half. Since then it has quickly added sales and distribution centers across the United States to cope with demand.

“We are excited to add PE Systems, PSS and Hiltech to service our customers in the Western United States,” said Mark Valentine, COO and head of worldwide sales at Tribogenics. “These companies and their principals have a wealth of knowledge and experience having worked in the X-ray arena for industry leading companies for many years. Their technical know how and unique customer experiences will serve us well as we drive adoption of the Watson™ hand-held XRF products.

Watson™ XRF solutions are designed to serve a wide range of industrial users, including QC/QA manufacturing, machining, surface engineering, coating service providers, metal fabrication precision and laser beam welders; and any setting where users or their customers require verification to determine the quality of their metals.

About the Technology

Tribogenics’ discovery eliminates the need for a high voltage power supply by using a process similar to static electricity (known as the Triboelectric effect) to generate X-rays directly in a small source at a fraction of the cost of current technology. Tribogenics outperforms high-priced and high-voltage solutions by harnessing the power of the triboelectric effect, a process similar to static electricity. The company’s spectrometer is priced at half that of competing handheld solutions.

About Tribogenics

Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Tribogenics is a leading innovator of triboluminescence based X-ray technology for industrial, medical, and scientific industries. It’s new Watson™ XRF hand-held analyzers remove the risk of error in QC/QA manufacturing environments by performing non-destructive testing (NDT) and PMI of metals and alloys in seconds. Watson™ is an ideally concern quality used in scrap metal recycling, metal fabrication, machining and manufacturing products for use in the aerospace, automotive, medical, military, scientific and industrial sectors. Watson™ is the X-ray industry’s lowest cost hand-held XRF analyzer. or call 1-855-972-9123.

Contact Our Reps:

PSS – Northern CaliforniaHiltech – AZ, Southern NV, UTPE Systems – Southern/Central CA
James SteeleBill HillTim Scott
(925) 846-4897(928) 308-0367(714) 671-0660

Tribogenics Receives Strategic Investment from Nikon

February 04, 2016

TOKYO AND LOS ANGELES, February 4, 2016 —Tribogenics, the inventor of triboluminescence based X-ray technology for industrial, security and scientific applications announced today that Nikon Americas Inc., a subsidiary company of Nikon Corporation has made a strategic investment in Tribogenics.  Nikon Group’s investment will help speed the commercialization of Tribogenics’ Watson™, hand-held XRF analyzer products, using its proprietary new X-ray technology perfected by scientists at Tribogenics and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Together, Nikon Group and Tribogenics aim to strengthen Watson™ XRF product competitiveness and to develop a strong presence in the non-destructive testing (NDT) market. In recent years, there has been an increasing need for X-ray technology for non-destructive testing. Nikon Group and Tribogenics will work together to expand the sales channel with handheld XRF analyzers, cabinet-type X-ray and CT products.

Both companies will collaborate by sharing information on joint technology, business and marketing development programs. Nikon Group will expand its non-destructive and non-contact testing business. Collaboration with Tribogenics makes it possible to strengthen its X-ray business and to generate new business.

According to Dale Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Tribogenics, “Last year, we first commercialized our technology and deployed Watson™ XRF analyzers to customers in the Western United States. Our value proposition caught on, especially by customers using Watson™ for fast and affordable positive materials identification (PMI) of metals and alloys. Now, together with Nikon Group we will expand our growth to customers across the USA and eventually into the overseas market.

About the Technology

X-rays from friction see the light of day as first products go to the market.  Tribogenics has developed a new and better way to make X-rays at a fraction of the cost of current technology, which has seen very little innovation since the turn of the 20th century. Tribogenics’ discovery eliminates the need for a high voltage power supply by using a process similar to static electricity (known as the Triboelectric Effect) to generate X-rays directly in a small source. 12 international patents protect this technology.  Tribogenics launched its first products for industrial markets in August last year.

About Tribogenics:

Based in Los Angeles, Calif., Tribogenics is a leading innovator of triboluminescence based X-ray technology for industrial, medical, and scientific industries. It’s new Watson™ XRF hand-held analyzers remove the risk of error in manufacturing QA/QC environments by performing non-destructive testing (NDT) and PMI of metals and alloys. Initially, Watson™ is used in scrap metal recycling, metal fabrication, machining and manufacturing products for use in the aerospace, automotive, medical, military, scientific and industrial sectors. Watson™ is the X-ray industry’s lowest cost hand-held XRF analyzer. or call 1-855-972-9123.

The Next Big Step in X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF): An Interview with Dale Fox

November 04, 2015

Dale Fox, Co-Founder and CEO at Tribogenics, talks to AZoM about how they have achieved the next big step in X-ray fluorescence technology.

AC: Could you provide our readers with a summary of the history of Tribogenics and explain how the company has evolved since it was founded in 2011?

DF: Tribogenics was born out of a fascinating research project that was underwritten by an agency of the US government called DARPA. It’s well-known over here. This is an advanced research group. DARPA is responsible for spearheading major innovation in core science.

What I had realized is that the entire X-ray industry, whether it’s medical equipment or XRF equipment, all runs on a technology that essentially dates back to the late 1800s. Our electronics have been innovated through transistors and microchips but the X-ray industry really never evolved since it was first observed.

DARPA said let’s find a better way to do this. They started funding research at national laboratories and universities across the United States. One of those projects was at UCLA here in Los Angeles. In the physics department, those physicists made a significant breakthrough, one that was actually published on the cover of Nature Magazine in October of 2008.

What they discovered is that the principle we think of as static electricity is actually called tribocharging. It involves charges moving between various surfaces, basic material science. They realized that this phenomena is much more powerful than we previously thought, and if harvested correctly, could be used to make X-rays.

One of the scientists on the team, a gentleman named Dr. Carlos Camara, who was my co-founder, had the forethought to say, “I want to start a company around this technology.” He went to the university and then got in touch with me, and we came together and founded Tribogenics in 2011.We received backing from world-class venture capitalists like Peter Thiels’ Founder’s Fun

AC: Could you outline the history of XRF spectrometry and explain the theoretical principle of X-ray fluorescence spectrometry?

DF: XRF is a really fascinating phenomena. It was first observed earlier in this last century. What it involves is taking a very, very small burst of X-rays, less than a thousandth of what you’d have in a dental X-ray, and shining them at any substance. Typically this is done with metals, so anything from aluminium up to uranium.

When you shine the small amounts of X-rays onto substances the individual atoms inside of that give off a unique fingerprint depending on where they are in the periodic table. This unique fingerprint can then be read by the XRF device, which figures out what is present and in what quantities.

For example, if I point an XRF device at a small piece of metal, it may tell me that there’s 68% nickel, 14% iron and 11% chromium.  It will then look that up and identify that as a particular grade of metal. It’s fantastic for everything in the life cycle of metals, everything from mining and mineralogy to fabrication and retaining down to recycling and reprocessing and then putting that all back in the value chain again.

AC: What is triboluminescence and how does it work?

DF: Triboluminescence, or also known as tribocharging, involves the exchange of electrical charges between two surfaces. It turns out that everything in the world, when it comes into contact, naturally exchanges electrical charges.

This is what’s responsible for lightning, when two large clouds simply brush past each other in the sky and one becomes more positively charged than the other. It’s responsible for when you’re walking across the carpet in a pair of socks in wintertime, and you reach for the doorknob. You get a shock.

What’s actually happened here is that electrical charges are being exchanged, and you become charged relative to ground, so when you get close to the doorknob, there is a rush of electrons off of your body and onto ground.

This same phenomena can be replicated using very small systems. We have built devices that are smaller than a woman’s lipstick container that are entirely self-contained X-ray sources. The way they work is they have two specially designed materials inside, and we use a small motor to bring them in and out of contact. That process creates large amounts of electrical charge, which we then use to generate X-rays inside of this container.

It’s a fascinatingly elegant and simple process, but as you can imagine there’s a lot of challenges that we encountered over the years, behind getting it into a commercial form. We feel very lucky that we have such a wonderful technology and so may patents behind it. It’s a real honor to be able to bring this to the world.

AC: Why is the commercial release of Tribogenics’ triboluminescence technology the next big step in XRF technology?

DF: In XRF, the market has been around for a long time, and frankly hasn’t seen much innovation lately. All of the current market devices, especially the handheld devices from all of the major companies are essentially commodity products. There’s not that much delineation between them. On top of that, they’re very expensive, and this is one of the big complaints that we’ve heard from the market and from customers.

With our unique technology, we are able to do something that no one else has ever been able to do. We built Watson. Watson is different that all the other X-ray devices in the marketplace, in three key ways.

Firstly, generally speaking, XRF handheld devices range in price from about $25,000 up to about $65,000. Watson is $10,000. We broke that magical price barrier. We’ve heard so many people tell us, “I’d love to have an XRF device, but it’s simply too expensive for me.” We’re democratizing the technology by making it available to whoever needs it at its first ever price point. That’s a big breakthrough.

The second breakthrough is that every other XRF device in the world uses an electronic X-ray source that has a tube inside of it. These are expensive and they burn out every couple of years. When the XRF device’s tube burns out, you have to take your device and send it back to the manufacturer. You’re without it for 4 or 5 weeks, and you end up getting a repair bill that could be as high as $7,000 or $8,000. This is a real pain point for customers.

What we did instead is we said, “Let’s make X-rays into an exchangeable cartridge,” something like the inkjet printer cartridge you have today. Now our customers are able to take a simple X-ray source and plug and play into their device, and they’re able to do two things. One, they maintain constant up time. There is no more downed X-ray source and the need to send back to the manufacturer, because you’ll always have a spare on hand just like a battery.

The other thing, and this is where it really gets interesting, is our X-ray cartridges can be made in different energy levels and with different target materials so that you can do different kinds of analysis. With a traditional XRF device if you wanted a different kind of X-ray source, you’d have to buy a whole new device at $25,000 or $30,000. With Watson, you simply plug in a new cartridge, $299, and you have an entirely new tool capable of doing new types of analysis. This is a powerful shift.

Finally, the third difference here is that traditional XRF systems are built around a small handheld computer that displays the results. If you’re lucky this computer might be able to tether to a laptop so that you can export that file. Other than that, these are simply analytical instruments.

Watson is based around Android, the same technology that’s in the smartphone in your pocket. Watson is a fully connected device. It’s connected to the Cloud and to the internet, so we can do things that no one else can do. We can build business intelligence tools that help track your inventory or gain latest market pricing or provide reports into management straight from the device.

We can also download updated software at all times and improve your analytical accuracy by changing the tables inside of your device based on what you’re seeing. This is a really powerful way that Watson differs from the marketplace. Over time this is an area of growth where we add a tremendous degree of functionality that positions us further ahead of the competition.

AC: What are the main application areas for the Watson XRF and could you explain how this instrument can be used in each of these areas?

DF: Watson is used to identify metals. The primary area for us is machining, manufacturing, and scrap recycling. In the machining and manufacturing industry, and we’ve seen this with our customers, there are materials that arrive that are processed into finished goods. Those materials arrive with certifications that say this is 347 stainless steel or this is 315 stainless steel.

These machinists and fabricators trust those certifications, but they aren’t always accurate. When they’re not, you can end up in a disaster costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the wrong material arrives, and finds its way into finished goods, the customer says, “Thank you, but these don’t meet our specifications.” They are then rejected. The cost and damage to your reputation and to your client is huge.

With Watson, especially in the machining and manufacturing segments, it’s about having a really cheap insurance policy.  We want to make sure that, from the moment any material arrives in your facility, you can validate that it is what it is and then trace it through the entire life cycle of conversion from a raw good into a finished good and then be able to provide that traceability to your client as validation that you’re doing great work.

This is resonating very deeply with your audience. It’s something that hasn’t been possible until now, because the other units have simply been too expensive and haven’t had the additional features of being able to create these kinds of interactive reports for management. That’s one big one.

In scrap recycling, it’s about being able to identify something and then buy it at a good price, and here Watson shines. Watson can identify various elements, various materials, so that when someone brings something in you know what it is, but since Watson’s connected, Watson can also go online and pull up the latest market pricing for that material.

Other applications for Watson include mining and mineralogy. We’re going to be releasing some advanced technology later in 2016 that allows Watson to detect rare earth elements and other elements that are important for mining.

Also, we’re going to be moving into precious metal identification, developing a really low cost system that will be designed for jewellers and anyone who buys and sells precious metals to be able to do an accurate analysis and get beyond the plating down to the underlying metal. This is really exciting for us. There are a number of applications here that are exciting.

AC: In which countries around the world is the Watson XRF available for order?

DF: We’ve just launched in the USA.  In the first half of 2016 we will begin to move internationally through partnerships with distributors and companies. If you’re local you can get in touch with Tribogenics, or just simply hit our website. We have reps all around the country who are able to demonstrate the unit and answer any questions.

AC: How do you see Tribogenics’ sales and marketing activities growing over the next few years?

DF: We’re really excited about the response we have had to date, and simply right now, we’re fielding requests as fast as possible. We’ve created a backlog of orders and we are trying to ship units as quickly as we can to beat the demand in the marketplace. We’re scaling up and adding staff both internally and externally in order to meet all of those demands.

AC: Where can our readers find out more information about Watson XRF and Tribogenics more generally?

DF: The easiest place is our website. If you go to, you’ll hit our main website, and there’s a subsection called Products, which has a lot of detailed information on Watson including case studies, white papers, demonstration videos, interviews. It’s just a really rich repository of information, and it should answer most people’s questions.

Then, of course, there’s the opportunity on there to get in touch with us directly. You can always talk to somebody at Tribogenics. We’re based in the US, in California. All of our products are made in the US. We’re able to answer all the detailed questions you have, and you’ll get directly in touch with our own technical staff, no call centers with us.

About Dale Fox

As the CEO of Tribogenics, Dale Fox leads an exceptional team that is revolutionizing X-ray technology across a $20B market space encompassing major industries such as recycling, mining, military, medical imaging, and security.

Tribogenics has developed a technology that eliminates the need for high voltage, allowing them to create miniature, low-cost X-ray sources that drive products and solutions unattainable with existing X-ray sources. Tribogenics technology is based on a DARPA-funded initiative that originated at UCLA and the company is venture-backed by prominent investors, including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

Dale is a seasoned startup entrepreneur and inventor with a proven record of turning ideas into revenue generating businesses. Dale has successfully launched multiple companies, brought over two dozen products to market, built world-class executive and advisory teams, raised numerous rounds of venture and debt funding and enjoyed a successful exit.

Dale loves helping young entrepreneurs get off the ground and routinely mentor a handful of promising early-stage companies. Dale is a perpetual optimist and a believer in a brighter future through technology. Dale loves golden retrievers, great food, mid-century design, amazing coffee, sunny destinations, and nearly every electronic gadget he has laid his eyes upon.

Tribogenics Adds High Speed, High Accuracy Aluminum Alloy ID With Industry’s Lowest Cost Hand-held XRF Analyzer

November 03, 2015

Watson Improves COO by 50 Percent, Cutting Test Times in half versus Higher Cost LIBS Products and Older XRF Devices

LOS ANGELES, Calif., November 3, 2015 – Tribogenics, a leading innovator of portable XRF analyzers for metal alloy identification, announced today that it has added new high speed, high precision aluminum alloy ID to its rapidly growing Watson XRF software library.  In field tests with scrap recycling customers, Watson cuts XRF test times for aluminum alloy identification in half with almost 100 percent accuracy.  Watson is far more affordable than LIBS units, typically priced at $40,000, and is much cheaper than competing hand-held XRF devices, typically priced north of $25,000. This makes the Watson a great new addition for small and mid sized American scrap recyclers since it reduces costs and improves productivity in a market facing constant pricing pressure.

In the $45 billion scrap recycling market, handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometers are commonly used to identify and sort a broad range of metal alloys. The price point for these devices hasn’t always been attractive.  In addition, competing XRF devices have traditionally done a poor job of identifying aluminum grade alloys in a timely manner. Watson overcomes these challenges offering fast, high precision aluminum alloy ID.

“Improved light element ID, better software and improved usability have been identified as major pain points for users of hand-held XRF analyzers,” commented Stewart Chalmers, Head of Marketing for Tribogenics.  “Watson overcomes these challenges, offering customers a superior solution in terms of price, speed and accuracy for aluminum grade ID.”

Tribogenics launched the first commercial Watson hand-held XRF devices in the summer.  Most conventional XRF devices use technology originally developed in the 1800s that relies on expensive high voltage transformers, and fragile, costly X-ray tubes to make X-rays.  Working with physicists at UCLA, Tribogenics new technology uses a process similar to static electricity (known as the triboelectric effect) to generate X-rays.  As a result, Tribogenics lowers costs considerably, making it affordable and allowing thousands of new customers from industrial, security, and scientific markets to access XRF technology.  Key to the new technology’s success is the industry’s first replaceable, interchangeable X-ray sources that function much like inkjet cartridges.

About Tribogenics

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., Tribogenics is a leading innovator of X-ray technology for industrial, security and scientific industries.  It’s new Watson XRF hand-held spectrometers remove the risk of error in performing non-destructive, positive material identification (PMI) analysis and testing of metals and alloys for scrap metal recycling, metal fabrication, machining and manufacturing. Leveraging its proprietary X-ray technology, Tribogenics eliminates the need for costly, high voltage transformers by using a process similar to static electricity (known as the triboelectric effect) to generate X-rays. Visit or call 1-855-972-9123.

Tribogenics hand-held analyzer offers aluminum alloy ID capabilities

Los Angeles-based Tribogenics, a manufacturer of portable XRF (X-ray fluorescence) analyzers for metal alloy identification, has added high-speed, high-precision aluminum alloy identification to the software library for its Watson analyzer. The company says in field tests with scrap recycling customers, Watson cuts XRF test times for aluminum alloy identification in half with almost 100 percent accuracy.

At $9,999 Watson is four times cheaper than LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) units typically priced at $40,000 and 2.5 times cheaper than competing hand-held XRF devices typically priced north of $25,000, Tribogenics says, making the technology well-suited to small and midsized recyclers.

“Improved light element ID, better software and improved usability have been identified as major pain points for users of hand-held XRF analyzers,” says Stewart Chalmers, head of marketing for Tribogenics.  “Watson overcomes these challenges, offering customers a superior solution in terms of price, speed and accuracy for aluminum grade ID.”

Tribogenics launched the first commercial Watson hand-held XRF devices this summer. Conventional XRF devices use technology that relies on high-voltage transformers and X-ray tubes to produce X-rays.  Working with physicists at UCLA, Tribogenics new technology uses a process similar to static electricity (known as the triboelectric effect) to generate X-rays, the company says. Key to the new technology’s success are the industry’s first replaceable, interchangeable X-ray sources that function much like inkjet cartridges, according to Tribogenics.

X-Ray Technology In The Palm Of Your Hand

September 22, 2015

In August, Tribogenics began nationwide shipping of its Watson XRF, a handheld tool that identifies materials by means of X-ray fluorescence. The device works by using triboluminescence — the generation of a charge imbalance through friction — to create high voltage in a small package.

Tribogenics was on hand at  SPIE Optics + Photonics last month, as well; Dr. Carlos Camara, one of the technology’s co-creators, and a colleague presented papers at one of the technical meetings, discussing advances in current and new X-ray source technology.

While the technology’s current capabilities include applications in manufacturing, recycling, and oil and gas production, its designers envision lead detection, precious jewel identification, security, and portable medical imaging among its future applications.

Pistol-Grip Power

In a recent interview with Photonics Online, Camara — also co-founder and chief scientist at Tribogenics — compared the Watson XRF to a cordless power tool: It is powered by a 24V lithium ion battery, which the user simply charges at the end of the work day. Since users need different characteristic X-ray emissions for different applications, the instrument also features user-exchangeable X-ray sources, which swap in and out like a power tool battery.

“We spent a lot of time and energy developing a user experience that is what you would expect, with a nice touchscreen and very intuitive software — it’s very simple to use,” said Camara.

“You don’t need any education. You don’t need any permits. It’s a very safe instrument. It’s a lot safer than a power drill. Obviously, you don’t want to point it at your head and pull the trigger — again, the same thing as using a power drill.”

Replacing each spent x-ray source cartridge is simple, too — just stuff it in an envelope and return it to the manufacturer to have a fresh cartridge sent. Additionally, Camara noted, the device can (conceptually) support a higher energy source, allowing you to use the same instrument to, for example, perform a lead inspection at a much higher accuracy than is currently possible.

The Watson XRF. Sitting beside it are “X-Change” cartridges, user-exchangeable x-ray sources intended to render fragile, expensive glass X-ray tubes obsolete. Image courtesy of Tribogenics.

Tribogenics’ technology also has the potential to substantially improve resolution for radiography, spectroscopy, and CT imaging, while cutting the costs of those procedures.

“The challenge is that every single application requires a certain amount of development. Determining whether someone has a life-threatening medical condition, using an X-ray picture, that’s generally a harder task than X-ray fluorescence [in an industrial application]. We are walking before running,” said Camara.

Currently, Tribogenics is working with Los Alamos National Lab to develop a portable imaging solution, something that’s going to weigh about ten pounds. But, for now, that initiative is not a front-burner project.

“This is more speculative, but one of the exciting opportunities for us is that we can miniaturize the x-ray source to the point where you can envision building an array of small x-ray sources. Think of LEDs. Lighting solutions with LEDs are, in many cases, based on having many LEDs all shining together, as opposed to one big light bulb,” said Camara.

“That is very exciting in terms of an x-ray source, because all of a sudden you have an array of independently addressable x-ray sources that you can turn on and off as needed, in whatever pattern you might like. That is an increased capability for X-ray imaging. It’s really hard to do that with the technology that is available today.”

Still, Camara said he is most excited about the prospect of making the technology more accessible to more patients.

“As one of the inventors of this new technology, the potential to impact billions of people who don’t currently have access to any x-ray diagnostic, not even for a dental procedure, is part of my motivation.”

However, applications for Watson XRF and other triboluminescence-based technology can only grow as fast as Tribogenics can develop them.

“With different applications, you require different software, so that the device is optimized for that specific thing. There are also other variations, such as changing the properties of the X-Ray detector in the instrument,” said Camara. “As we optimize the systems for those different applications, we will offer an increasing number of solutions, different releases of software, different releases of X-ray sources that you simply replace, et cetera.”

Development Was Simple… In Theory

In 2007, Camara was completing his PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), when he and a team of scientists discovered triboluminescence’s potential as a tool. But triboluminescence has been a known phenomenon since the ancient Greeks; why hadn’t someone else thought of this?

“I think the effect was thought of more as a nuisance. There’s a whole industry whose sole focus is to eliminate the charging of surfaces, because it fries circuit boards and it causes fires,” Camara said.

“Our technology is a close cousin to the Van de Graff generator. Those devices are based on a very similar effect, where you bring the surfaces together and they charge up, and then you carry that charge to a different location. What we did is try to determine the maximum amount of charge you could extract from the surfaces at the nano scale, and we realized that it was a lot more than had previously been appreciated.”

While Camara maintains the technology is “deceivingly simple,” development challenges arose from handling and manipulating the materials themselves.

“Our devices have required us to bring surfaces into contact and then separate them, so it converts mechanical motion into high voltage. That’s the essence of our technology. But that task requires a very precise machine to accomplish. This was one of the challenges, to actually execute such a device in production,” he said.

One challenge with which Camara and his team did not have to contend was radioisotopes, traditionally used in x-ray fluorescence to detect lead in walls or toys, for example.

“Radioisotopes are an alternative way of getting high voltage from a small volume. But, you can imagine all the challenges with radioisotopes. To name a few, you can’t turn them off and they are a security risk — you have to control them much more, since it’s a big risk for them to end up in the wrong hands,” said Camara. “One of our big advantages is that we can generate a high voltage X-ray source from a very small volume, and you can turn it on and off.”

This aspect of the technology could have huge implications in healthcare, as well. According to the World Nuclear Association, between 40 and 45 million medical procedures worldwide are performed annually using radioisotopes. About 90 percent of those procedures involve medical imaging.

Funding, Partnerships, And Getting Off The Ground

From the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Army Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center , and other investors, a multitude of government and private parties have taken an interest in Los Angeles-based Tribogenics.

According to Stewart Chalmers, head of marketing for Tribogenics, “our biggest problem right now is meeting the demand (for Watson XRF).”

At $9,999.00, the Watson XRF is the first handheld analyzer ever available for less than $10,000 — about half the cost of competing models, according to company literature. Furthermore, its source cartridge can be replaced for $299.

“It’s an exciting time for this company, and it’s an exciting time for the technology, because we have that full circle: Invention, technology transfer, forming the company, developing the technology, and launching the first product,” said Camara.

For more information, visit or call the company at 855-972 9123 (855 XRAY 123).

A Triboelectric Closed Loop Band System for the Generation of X-Rays by Dr. Eli Van Cleve

August 21, 2015

Check out the article written by one of our scientists Dr. Eli  Van Cleve Here

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