Spectral Industries

We develop robust optical sensors for detection of elements Application reliable sorting for mining

Founded in 2015 by

  • Ad Maas

  • Marijn Sandtke

Incubation period

01-12-2015 to 01-12-2017

About Spectral Industries

SPECTRAL is a high-tech start-up accelerating the commercialization of Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) technology. Our inspiration is a spectrometer originally built to search for signs of life on Mars.  We have developed a sensitive and robust sensor and are ready to revolutionize spectrometry. We focus on demanding industrial applications such as reliable sorting for mining & recycling industry. USP is the combination of robustness, mobility and accuracy.

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The challenge

A major challenge occurs in the mining industry. Mining companies have a need for automated ore sorting. Currently all rocks coming from a mine will be processed in the factory, regardless of the concentration of metal/mineral they contain. Typically, 10-20% of the ore coming from a mine has no value and processing worthless rocks wastes a lot of money. Secondly, this results in unnecessary environmental damage, done by machines and chemicals used to process ore that should have been thrown away. In the mining industry, rock containing uneconomic metal/mineral concentration that is sent to the processing plant, is called “dilution”. Dilution never occurs on a single rock scale, but is usually present by a volume of tens or more cubic meters.
The challenge is to develop robust equipment that can characterise ore at the earliest stage possible.

The solution

We apply our LIBS spectrometer. Its extreme robustness is very appealing for operation in harsh environments. If this LIBS-based sensor above a conveyer belt is able to identify that a diluted area is being mined, the rocks can immediately be directed to the waste pile. Once valuable ore starts to get back, the sensor will detect this and tell the operator to start processing the rocks coming from the mine again. Payback time of such a system can be very short, even for a small mine.  The potential annual worldwide cost saving for the iron ore market alone is thousands of M€’s.
This is applicable to aluminium, copper and several other mines. It is the dedicated software library that makes the instrument suitable for a specific mine.
Furthermore, our sensor can also be applied for waste sorting in the recycling industry.