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Sample Preparation


Sigma is the home of the finest and purest X-Ray Fluxes for more than a quarter of a century.

With the aid of Government institutions and internationally recognised scientists, Sigma CHemiclas continues to seek and offer new and improved fluxes for precision results in borate fusions.

Who uses Sigma flux?

From small specialised commercial laboratories to the giant Iron Ore producers to the largest XRF laboratory in the world. They are all important to Sigma and receive the same respect, service and importance.


Each and every batch of Sigma Ultra Pure X-Ray Flux begins with the finest and purest laboratory tested raw materials, specially selected from the most proven and reliable manufacturers in the world. Once selected and tested these raw materials are fused in laboratory conditions to produce our Ultra Pure Borate Fluxes that are universally accepted.

Our commitment to developing further technologies in X-Ray fluorescence spectrometry continues to produce the finest qualities of flux in the world.


Fusion is simply a method of dissolving an oxide sample with a Lithium Borate Flux at high temperatures to form a fused bead for analysis by XRF or classical wet chemistry.

Typical samples include ceramics, iron ores, cements, slag, soils and metal alloys.

Flux Selection

Lithium Tetraborate

This is known as a light acidic flux used mainly with alkaline samples such as cements and steel.

Norrish 12:22.

This flux named after Dr Keith Norrish, consists of Lithium Tetraborate 35% and Lithium Metaborate 65% and has the lowest melting point of most borate mixtures. This mixture helps prevent crystallisation and cracking of the bead when high concentrations of silica is present.

This blend is highly recommended for iron ore, bauxites and alumina's.

Other Compositions

  • 100% Lithium Tetraborate
  • 100% Lithium Metaborate
  • 20% Lithium Tetraborate : 80% Lithium Metaborate
  • 35.3% Lithium Tetraborate : 64.% Lithium Metaborate (12:22) with additive 5% Sodium Nitrate with additive 5% Sodium Nitrate : 0.04% Potassium Bromide with additive 12.82% Sodium Nitrate with additive 20% Sodium Nitrate
  • 50% Lithium Tetraborate : 50% Lithium Metaborate
  • 57% Lithium Tetraborate : 43% Lithium Metaborate
  • 66% Lithium Tetraborate : 34% Lithium Metaborate
  • 47% Lithium Tetraborate : 36.7% Lithium Carbonate : 16.3% Lanthanum Oxide (Norrish Flux)
  • 81.8% Lithium Tetraborate : 18.2% Lanthanum Oxide
  • 90% Lithium Tetraborate : 10% Lithium Fluoride
  • 90% Lithium Tetraborate : 10% Lithium Bromide
  • 98% Lithium Tetraborate : 2% Sodium Bromide
  • 75.4% Lithium Tetraborate : 21.1% Lanthanum Oxide : 3.5% Boric Acid
  • 100% Sodium Tetraborate

Other compositions can be manufactured to your own specifications.


All Sigma Fluxes are available with additives such as non wetting agents and oxidants as requested.


Low fusion losses
Controlled particle size
High bulk density
Ultra Pure
Free flowing
Non dusty


0-1ppm Na, K, Fe, As, Mn, Al, Se, Cd, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni, Co, Ag, Sn

1-2ppm Ca, Mg, Si, S

Platinum Ware

Sigma Chemicals subsidiary, Sigma Precious Metals manufactures a complete range of standard and custom made laboratory Platinum and Platinum alloy equipment.

Gas Fusion Machines


A new automatic fusion machine - with innovative features:

autofluxer 4 with 4 XRF stations

Comprehensive Safety Features

  • Overheating shut off
  • Gas leakage shut off
  • Emergency shut off
  • Lockable burner control unit
  • Function stop without mould
  • Flame control by temperature sensors

autofluxer Technical Innovations

  • Mould sensor for each station, preventing station start for XRF without mould; simple self locking crucible holder, no mechanism, no pneumatics; advanced agitating function, circular and slightly vertical, forward, backward and pausing, time and speed adjustable
  • ICP/AAS solution module with up to 4 stations easily attachable to the XRF-unit, no tools needed, prepared for different analytical techniques
  • Temperature setting of each individual burner with gas, oxygen and air, unintentional or non-authorised manipulation prevented by lockable control unit
  • Defined positioning of crucibles over burners in melting and in pouring cycle for moulds and beakers
  • Program reset anytime via start/stop button, independent of power or emergency stop
  • Setting of fixed programs for individual applications via memory chips possible
  • Solution module with integrated, speed adjustable, waterproof magnetic stirrer unit
  • Integrated granite surface for intermediate placement of crucibles and samples
  • Minimum in size and movable parts, maximum in applicational versatility

autofluxer 4 with attached solution module and 2 solution stations

Standard Features:

  • Automatic preparation of XRF-beads and solutions in one machine
  • Individual temperature regulation for crucible and mould burners, operation of each station independently
  • Reproducible temperature setting by standard gas/oxygen burners ranging from low temperature mode of 800°C to 1600°C flame temperature, independent for each burner
  • Pre-warming, pre-melting, agitation, main-melting, pouring, cooling ; all automatic functions with manual override during operation on expert level or blocked on operator level
  • Allows 32 or 40mm moulds, easy heating of thick walled moulds due to oxygen enriched flames
  • Solution unit comes complete with independent speed controlled magnetic stirrers, 150ml PTFE-beakers and stirrer bars
  • Display showing individual function time set and elapsed process time
  • Built in air pressure regulator with visible pressure gauge in side panel, integrated water trap
  • Use of standard Schoeps type crucibles and moulds, available from various suppliers
  • Operation at 110 or 230VAC, 50to60Hz, 150W, mass 29kg

autofluxer - The Ideal Fusion Machine

Because of its high versatility for fusion as solid or liquid samples the autofluxer is the right choice for laboratories with changing applications or for research, working in the open mode.

On the other hand the autofluxer settings can easily be restricted in operational interference, which is a clear advantage for the routine laboratory or for non-expert handling.

The application range of the autofluxer stretches from the mining and mineral raw materials industries to the fields of industrial processing products like cement, glass and ceramics, sinters, slags, ashes and many other oxidised inorganic products.

Base models:

autofluxer 2 with 2 stations XRF, autofluxer 4 with 4 stations XRF

  • Solution module add on for base models available with 1, 2, 3 or 4 solution stations
  • Later upgrading for up to 4 solution stations possible anytime
  • Completely automatic fusion machine for XRF and ICP/AAS, operational interference possible anytime, oxygen enriched flames enable higher temperatures

Electric Fusion Machines

Initiative Scientific Products

The top of the line Beadmaster fusion machine uses mouldibles, a combination crucible and mould, to eliminate the pouring step from the fusion process. The Beadmaster has a four mouldible capacity, giving an out put of 16-32 samples per hour, and is ideal for production situations or busy labs requiring a lot of beads to be produced reliably, with the added safety of mouldibles to eliminate pouring of hot melts. The Beadmaster is fully upgradeable to the Auto-Beadmaster for increase sample loads. The Beadmaster will fuse the most difficult samples easily and repeatedly.

Features of the Beadmaster include:

  • All electric, why electric?
  • No reheating time between samples
  • Cross flow blending during fusion
  • 4 mouldible capacity 16-32 samples per hour output, depending on sample type
  • Variable cooling rate and time
  • Controlled environment during fusion - options
  • Single service, plug and play machine - portable
  • Completely covered fusion process
  • Upgradeable to full automation
  • Unique mould release options
  • Long, maintenance free periods - approx 14000 running hours
  • Fast initial rise time - 20mins to 1050°C from cold
  • Digital temperature control to within 1°C
  • Top temperature of 1200°C, with normal fusion at 1050°C
  • Runs from standard power - 240V or 110V option, single phase 3000W power

Pulverising and Grinding

Ring Mill Pulverisers

Bench Top Ring Mill

Rocklabs Whisper Series Bench Top Ring Mills have been developed for laboratories pulverising 1- 100gram samples. It is used for pulverising rocks, soil, coal, cement, glass, limestone, bricks, wood, plant material, slags, concrete, etc., for XRF, XRD or other instrumental methods or wet chemistry. The noise level is less than 80dB. It provides fast and dust free grinding, homogeneity grinding, very low contamination of samples, easy to clean, low capital cost, long life and maintenance free. The Bench Top Ring Mill is ideal for laboratories as it is small and compact to fit on a work bench.


Depth 420mm
Width 420mm
Height 510mm
Weight 60kg

For information of the range of Heads to suit the Rocklabs Bench Top Ring Mill, please click here.

Standard Ring Mill

Rocklabs Whisper Series Standard Ring Mills have been developed for pulverising 1-1000gram samples. It is used for pulverising rocks, soil, coal, cement, glass, limestone, bricks, wood, plant material, slags, concrete, etc., for subsequent analysis by instrumental methods or wet chemistry. The noise level is less than 85dB. It provides fast and dust free grinding, homogeneity grinding, very low contamination of samples, easy to clean, low capital cost, long life and maintenance free. Rocklabs offers two designs of clamp, manual rotoclamp or pneumatic clamp (compressed air required).


Depth 600mm
Width 840mm
Height 1200mm
Weight 200kg

Continuous Flow Ring Mills

Rocklabs Continuous Flow Ring Mills have been developed for pulverising large samples, from 1kg thru 1ton. It is used for coarse pulverising of large samples for mineral separation (e.g. zircon dating), prepare samples for on-stream analysis, dry or slurries.

This machine provides continuous flow through operation, giving a high productivity. Samples are fed from hopper via a low maintenance variable speed vibrating feeder. For dust extraction, there is a built-in ducting of cyclone with external vent for connection to dust extraction system. The noise level is less than 85dB.

There are 3 options available at Rocklabs.

  1. Sample flows in a 10kg container
  2. Sample flows in a 500gram pottle/container
  3. Samples flows from the CRM into a Rotating Sample Divider (various segments are available)


Depth 880mm
Width 760mm
Height 1500mm
Weight: 380-420kg



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