1. #1
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    Default Smiths Haz Mat ID vs. Ramen laser technology

    We are looking into the purchase of a Smiths Hazmat ID or a ramen laser unit
    I am wondering what you guys think about the two. I myself am leaning towards the haz-mat ID due to proven technology and an expansive library.I was also impressed at how well it identified substances.

    The 2 ramen laser units we looked at were impressive (i.e. shooting through glass.) that seemed to be it. The salesman failed to identify: brake Fluid, Ethelyne Glycol, Windshield washer fluid, and other commons. the rep said that it also has a 5000-6000 library limit.

    Any help would be appreciated

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    I'm not familar with these units, but it looks like you have answered your own question.
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    yeah

    but want facts in line, before we dump alot of cabbage into one of these

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    The local community college bought two of the Smiths, so they came out and did their training program.

    We all fell in love with the HazmatID! The built in protein alarm is nice, as is the fact that if you find a chemical not in the library, you can add it! You can also make a Training Library. This way, you could have flour come up as an agent for training, but not during an actual event.

    It was very easy to use and extremely easy to clean. We put everything from used motor oil to really nasty stuff, wet and dry, and with just a wipe of alchohol, it was ready to go again.

    I really wish I could go to the training Smith is putting on this year, but the vacation time I have won't allow for it!

    That is my $0.02

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    yeah a D.C. Luft said that they were spending upto 3 hours on white powder calls, and with the hazmat ID it was down to minutes. I think that we are going to go that route. The only drawback, that we dont really care about is there is a problem with the laptop/ unit communication according to the repair guy with FDNY.

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    Default hazmat ID

    We have both and and they both have a function. The Hazmat ID would probably best suit your needs, but if you have need of identifing water based products such as corrosives the raman unit is much better. Right know the raman unit only has a library of about 120 products, where the Hazmat ID has up to about 30,000 products. To get that library though costs an extra $15,000. You get 5,000 to 6,000 in the normal unit. I will tell you that everyone I know would rather have the Hazmat ID than the raman unit due to library size, but that will change with time. You can also get the extract IR for the Hazmat ID if you need to ID water based products, but that also has limitations. Best advise is to research. Cost alone might be a factor, Hazmat ID = $62,500 vs. Raman = $23,000. Research also says that the future might be raman, I have been told that it might be able to ID a single spore of anthrax in the future.

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    This is my understanding of the two technologies.

    The HazmatID uses Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Basically an infrared beam is “bounced” against the sample that is in contact with the diamond window. The beams intensity changes as it interacts with the sample and the differences in the intensity and frequency are measured. These measurements are plotted to create the spectrum, which is then compared with the library to determine the closest match.

    The AHURA uses Raman spectroscopy, which sends a laser beam into and through the sample. Samples that do not react to infrared can be measured using Raman, this includes carbon-carbon bonds (alkanes/alkenes/alkynes). The Raman focuses more on the “finger print” region of the spectrum, while the FTIR looks at the bigger picture.

    Both have their benefits and limitations, that’s why we have both. I realize that having both is a huge expense. Depending on use the HazmatID would likely be the best choice due to its learning curve and larger library at this time.

    Don’t know if any of this helps, but I figured it can’t hurt.

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    We own a Smiths hazmatid and it works well.
    We haven't used the customer support yet, but just used it for an incident last week.
    Ease of use, the huge library, easy decon, uplink with a remote laptop. All strong reasons to go with the Smiths, also the State purchased ours so we have compatability with every class A team in IL.

    On that incident last week, we had a white powder and were able to rule out a biological prior to even getting the Smiths out. Stick with the simple and work your way up from there. That incident we had a problem because of a lack of powder to sample. Not a machine problem, but if we haden't ruled out biologicals first we could have had no more sample and no idea what it was.

    http://www.sensir.com/Smiths/Home.htm

    Also it is easy to put additional known chemicals into the library.

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    Thanks fellas,
    We have decided to go with the haz-mat id, your comments helped alot

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    This just in..........

    Smiths now offers a RAMAN unit that commincates with the HazMatID and GasID. It will communicate wirelessly AND can compare the spectra of BOTH technologies to possibly get a more definitive match.

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    Quote Originally Posted by irons308
    We are looking into the purchase of a Smiths Hazmat ID or a ramen laser unit
    I am wondering what you guys think about the two. I myself am leaning towards the haz-mat ID due to proven technology and an expansive library.I was also impressed at how well it identified substances.

    The 2 ramen laser units we looked at were impressive (i.e. shooting through glass.) that seemed to be it. The salesman failed to identify: brake Fluid, Ethelyne Glycol, Windshield washer fluid, and other commons. the rep said that it also has a 5000-6000 library limit.

    Any help would be appreciated
    HazMat ID and RAMAN are both made by Smiths Detection. The technologies are different. They are meant to compliment each other. ID can detect some things that RAMAN can't and vice versa. Advantage of RAMAN, it can be used as a stand-off analyzer (don't have to handle the product sample) just use the point and shoot feature. If I could only purchase one, I'd probably get the HazMAtID and add the RAMAN later if funds allowed.

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    Default FTIR vs. Raman

    Quote Originally Posted by OFDfireman101 View Post
    This is my understanding of the two technologies.

    The HazmatID uses Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Basically an infrared beam is “bounced” against the sample that is in contact with the diamond window. The beams intensity changes as it interacts with the sample and the differences in the intensity and frequency are measured. These measurements are plotted to create the spectrum, which is then compared with the library to determine the closest match.

    The AHURA uses Raman spectroscopy, which sends a laser beam into and through the sample. Samples that do not react to infrared can be measured using Raman, this includes carbon-carbon bonds (alkanes/alkenes/alkynes). The Raman focuses more on the “finger print” region of the spectrum, while the FTIR looks at the bigger picture.

    Both have their benefits and limitations, that’s why we have both. I realize that having both is a huge expense. Depending on use the HazmatID would likely be the best choice due to its learning curve and larger library at this time.

    Don’t know if any of this helps, but I figured it can’t hurt.
    Nice comments from Orlando! Here is some updated info if you are looking into Raman more, which I highly recommend. There are two instruments available - RespondeR RCI from Smiths Detection and the FirstDefender from Ahura. If you already have a HazMatID, the Raman technology is a perfect mate, mostly because Raman ignores water so it only looks at the chemicals in the water. It is also nice because you don't have to expose the chemical to the instrument. You can just take a sample from the hot zone, put it in a vial, decon the vial and perform the analysis in the cold zone.

    As far as Smiths vs. Ahura, I encourage evaluating both side by side and looking at US Army evaluations and other third-party evaluations. They are distinctly different instruments. The software interface with the Smiths Raman is the same as the HazMatID, so it looks familiar and they can communicate between the two, at an added cost. The Ahura interface is different, and in my opinion, much simpler. Ahura is on the Responder Knowledge Base. Smiths is not (i.e. DHS has not approved purchase using their funding). Ahura has been favorably evaluated by US Army ECBC. I could not find a Smiths evaluation. Ahura unit is more rugged. The side by side comparison I saw was clear that the Ahura unit was more accurate, especially with mixtures because it does an automatic mixture analysis (really cool).

    If you don't have an FTIR or Raman, you have a tougher choice. The technologies can see different chemicals. The Raman libraries are now pretty good and still growing. If you really want to identify coffee creamer and tobasco sauce, go with the FTIR. If you are more concerned with real chemicals, especially mixtures, go with the Ahura Raman. It is simpler to use, smaller and less expensive.

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    Default HazMatID FTIR vs. Thermo First Defender Raman

    Quote Originally Posted by HazMatTony View Post
    Nice comments from Orlando! Here is some updated info if you are looking into Raman more, which I highly recommend. There are two instruments available - RespondeR RCI from Smiths Detection and the FirstDefender from Ahura. If you already have a HazMatID, the Raman technology is a perfect mate, mostly because Raman ignores water so it only looks at the chemicals in the water. It is also nice because you don't have to expose the chemical to the instrument. You can just take a sample from the hot zone, put it in a vial, decon the vial and perform the analysis in the cold zone.

    As far as Smiths vs. Ahura, I encourage evaluating both side by side and looking at US Army evaluations and other third-party evaluations. They are distinctly different instruments. The software interface with the Smiths Raman is the same as the HazMatID, so it looks familiar and they can communicate between the two, at an added cost. The Ahura interface is different, and in my opinion, much simpler. Ahura is on the Responder Knowledge Base. Smiths is not (i.e. DHS has not approved purchase using their funding). Ahura has been favorably evaluated by US Army ECBC. I could not find a Smiths evaluation. Ahura unit is more rugged. The side by side comparison I saw was clear that the Ahura unit was more accurate, especially with mixtures because it does an automatic mixture analysis (really cool).

    If you don't have an FTIR or Raman, you have a tougher choice. The technologies can see different chemicals. The Raman libraries are now pretty good and still growing. If you really want to identify coffee creamer and tobasco sauce, go with the FTIR. If you are more concerned with real chemicals, especially mixtures, go with the Ahura Raman. It is simpler to use, smaller and less expensive.
    There are many updates to this field. Remember, FTIR and Raman are complimentary chemical identification techniques. The most important advice I can offer briefly is that practice and training are more important than the actual instrument. Knowing when to use the right instrument and how to interpret the information is essential. Also, the instruments are USUALLY limited to the number of chemicals in their on-board library. Mixtures will ALWAYS be problematic - a mathematical "algorithm" is simply no substitute for a good, preferably pure sample. Since a pure chemical powder sample rarely happens in the field, it takes a good tech. with the guidance of some lab folk to get the best answer from a tough sample. Smiths and Thermo (purchased the Ahura product line) are good companies with demonstrated history. I work with the State of Iowa lab and we work/advise our HazMat teams regularly on what to purchase. We sit in on product demos and ensure that the teams are getting facts, not sales pitches. We bring chemical unknown samples for the teams to test out. We also have a sample testing program where we send the teams practice samples 3 times/year - completely voluntary on their part. We do this for free as part of our mission to assist the taxpaying citizens of Iowa. In 5 years, we have learned a tremendous amount. Lately I've sat in a numerous HazmatIQ presentations. I'd be happy to elaborate further if desired, feel free to contact me offline.

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