Product: FREE PGNA online analyzer

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Project product is FREE PGNA, an online analyzer of cement raw materials based on the neutron activation analysis

  • Ensures the continuous non-contact analysis of cement raw materials with the display of composition information;
  • Used in the automated process flow management system to correct and optimize the cement raw material composition on a real-time basis;
  • Measurement accuracy – not more than 10% at the mix moisture content up to 23%;
  • Has a built-in temperature stabilization system;
  • Enables to optimize the raw material utilization, reduce the production costs and save.


Operating principle:

  • A neutron source (2.35 MeV) irradiates an object with a neutron flux;
  • Neutron-irradiate elements emit secondary gamma radiation registered by gamma detectors;
  • Gamma radiation range allows to determine the composition and percentage content of each element.

Operating peculiarities:

  1. The neutron source (Cf-252 source or neutron generator) is required;
  1. Biological protection is required.

Location: downstream of the raw mixture formulation site and upstream of the drier-crusher.

Purpose of analysis: generate the information for the Production Management Centre to decide on the raw mixture correction


Continuous analyser composition:

 The analyser consists of the software and hardware, made of the following major components:

  1. Detector unit (is made as the frame structure protecting from the radiation);
  2. Neutron source 252Cf (stainless steel body, with a one- way radiation directed at the measuring area);
  3. Detector (designed to detect gamma radiation generated by the neutron activation of material);
  4. Signal processing unit (processes the detector signal and divides it into spectral components);
  5. Main unit (designed to analyse the gamma ray spectrum generated by the signal processing It calculates the content of various elements and other related parameters to control the cement manufacturing quality).

Technical parameters of FREE PGNA:  



Conveyor belt width

500 to 1600 mm

Neutron source

30-60 μkg, 252Cf

Ambient temperature

-40 to +60°С

Power voltage

220 VAC 50 Hz, 6А


Oxide content determination

SiO2,Al2O3, Fe2O3, CaO,

MgO, K2O, Na2O, SO3, TiO3

Determination of quality parameters

KH, SM, IM, C3S, C2S, C3A,

C4AF etc.

  • The radiation detector by the world leading manufacturer is used in FREE PGNA
  • The radiation protection system ensures that the radioactive background around the device is lower than in other similar devices.


Neutron analysis method advantages: 

  • The neutron analysis works at the level of neutron content of substance and ensures the continuity;
  • The neutron analysis provides for the accurate measurement of elemental material composition without the effect of particle size or mineralogy (any form, size, composition);
  • The penetrating nature of neutrons and gamma radiation provides for almost ideal uniformity of sensitivity along the whole sample, regardless of the material particle size;
  • The real-time (online) data provides for the rapid process management by tracking the value of certain element and necessary calculation parameters;
  • Operation stability and accuracy.

Sampling method disadvantages comparative to the neutron analysis method:

  • Round-the-clock laboratory monitoring of material composition in real time is impossible;
  • Periodic measurements of material characteristics may not show essential changes in material composition;
  • Average long-term data with delayed acquisition cannot be used for the prompt process flow management;
  • The individual sample analysis accuracy is of less importance than the real-time data in the neutron analysis.


Comparison between the FREE PGNA analyzer and OMNI – the market leader and major competitor device


FREE PGNA analyser (RATEK)

OMNI analyser (THERMO, USA)


(from complex to simple)

Higher accuracy – due to the use of original algorithms based on reference measurements

(from simple to complex)

Lower accuracy due to the use of algorithms of search of several elements in the known volume.

Measurement accuracy

Operation with the set accuracy at different raw material moisture content values 

The measurement accuracy degrades significantly at the raw material moisture content above 23%

Quick configuration option

Quick software and structure modifications. The analyser re- adjustment to new mixes is up to 10% of its cost

Time-consuming and costly; it is required to engage the US qualified staff. The analyser re-adjustment to new mixes is 30-40% of its cost

Customer assistance in radiation source handling

Complex analyser support: source delivery/loading and assistance in the enterprise preparation to the work with the ionizing radiation source in compliance with laws

“Install and forget”: No assistance in the source purchase/delivery/loading and enterprise preparation to the work with it

Reliability of 24/7 operation

4 detector units (DU) . In case of failure of the 1 DU, up to 10% of useful signal is lost.

Remote troubleshooting is available.

2 detector units . In case of failure of the 1 DU, up to 50% of useful signal is lost. Remote troubleshooting is unavailable.

Cost of finished product

Price: from 350 000 euro depending on a particular specification

Price: from  570 000 euro. However, the radiation source should be purchased separately in the country of installation. The cost of radiation source with neutron output of 2*108n/s  starts from 28 000 euro.

Operating cost of finished product

Raw material analysers do not require any operating costs, except for the system re-adjustment due to the change of the required raw material composition. In such a case, it is necessary to invite the qualified specialists of the developer to take measurements for the device calibration. Americans may charge several dozens thousand dollars. These figures are much lower in RATEK.


The FREE PGNA analyser is used at the cement plant in Slantsy city (capacity of 500 tons of raw material per hour in a non-stop operation mode) since January 2016.

The analyser has processed 6,570,000 tons of raw materials

for the 1.5 years of regular operation in Slantsy.

By now:

  • The operational testing of FREE PGNA cement raw material analyser has been completed successfully;
  • The experimental operation showed      that         FREE PGNA analyser fully meets the stated specifications;
  • All necessary    plant  certification   procedures    have   been completed successfully;
  • Currently the equipment is integrated in the process flow and operates in a routine mode;
  • The FREE PGNA equipment operates without additional control of preliminary installed similar equipment

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project

FREE PGNAA project