A new type of elemental on-line analyzer was developed by Laser Detect Systems (LDS) of Israel. The new analyzer, called ‘MAYA’, uses Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to determine the quality of coal on a moving conveyor belt. LDS and Coaltech agreed to cooperate in testing the unit at Optimum Colliery. The results of the test were favorable.

Laser Detect Systems (LDS), based in Israel, developed a new on-line elemental analyzer called ’Maya’. The analyzer differs from other elemental on-line analyzers presently in use in that it utilizes Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to measure the quality of coal on a conveyor belt instead of Prompt Gamma Neutron
Activation Analysis (PGNAA) used by the other analyzers. The analyzer is much smaller and lighter than the on-line analyzers currently in use and, most importantly, does not use radioactive sources.

Maya on-line analyzer

Maya on-line analyzer

LDS and Coaltech agreed to co-operate to test the analyzer in South Africa in order to evaluate its potential. The local agent for the Maya, World Focus, handled the installation and operation of the unit and Coaltech assisted in the evaluation of the performance of the unit.

It was decided to install the analyzer on the Wemco product conveyor at Optimum Colliery. A Coalscan 9500X PGNAA analyzer is in operation on the same conveyor. The
conveyor is also equipped with an automatic sampler and two-hourly composite samples are procured and analyzed by the Optimum laboratory routinely. The data from the
Coalscan and the laboratory analyses were used to provide a comparison with the readings obtained from the Maya.

The Maya analyzer was installed at Optimum on 22 March 2007. It is worth commenting that the installation was carried out in less than a day. A communication link was provided which allowed the data to be downloaded in Israel and also to facilitate adjustments to the calibration to be made from Israel. The unit was commissioned on 26
March and has been in operation since. Figure 1 shows the Maya analyzer at Optimum.

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