Precise lab-monitoring of OES, XRF, XRD sample analysis and preparation in labs with SAMCOS software



QCS can look back on nearly a decade of experience in process control and optimization for the automation of OES, XRF, and XRD analysis. For this reason, our systems achieve optimal process reliability. The shop-floor network displays real-time performance, allowing all components at the field level, such as analysis instruments, machines, and sensors, to communicate without delay and with reproducible transmission rates. Automation control is realized both through sophisticated PLC programs and – at a higher level – through the SAMCOS software modules. Additionally, the universality and openness of QCS solutions make communication with all customer office floor applications at the management and planning level very easy. Typical IT systems on the office floor include ERP or LIMS applications.

Structural Overview

This minimizes unforeseen shutdowns, long downtimes, and extensive maintenance work on the system.

Main Functions

Control and Visualization of the System:

QCS software systems reduce complexity for users and enable informed decisions. They visualize all relevant processes in real-time, giving the user complete control over individual components and the entire system.

Data Reporting and Analysis:

SAMCOS software systematically collects all laboratory and plant data, displays it, and forwards it to other systems as needed. Thanks to a wide range of drivers and open interfaces, third-party components can be easily integrated.

Engineering and Maintenance:

The parameterization and programming of QCS software projects are carried out with engineering modules. Additionally, the implemented automatic error detection significantly reduces the time required for installation and commissioning, among other things. With the help of service routers, QCS technicians can connect to the system, in consultation with the laboratory, to perform all necessary maintenance and repair work. As with the installation of the automation system, the highest safety and security standards are observed.

Application Area of the Software

SAMCOS is a fully integrated SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) used for automation control, monitoring, and evaluation of all processes in the laboratory and plant. The SAMCOS software is fully scalable, modular, and easily expandable. It is designed to integrate a wide range of application-specific machines and instruments from various original equipment manufacturers. SAMCOS can be easily integrated into the customer’s IT infrastructure and offers powerful interfaces for inter-process communication. This allows SAMCOS to easily connect with other instances on the shop floor and office floor, such as Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) or Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).

SAMCOS Functions

For automation systems with up to two spectrometers and sample preparation unit:

Sample Registration:

Automatic and manual registration of samples.

Sample Routing:

Routing of samples through the system according to sample priority.

Management of Working Process:

  • Overview of sample status.
  • Overview of the processing status of all samples in the system.
  • Overview of the operational status of the system.
  • Setup of interfaces to all system components and office floor systems.
  • Setup of interfaces to all integrated system components and office floor systems.
  • Management of recal samples.

Sample Management

Comprehensive overview of all key performance indicators and improvement of process efficiency as well as the reproducibility of sample preparation and analysis:

Processing of Analysis Data:

Recording, displaying, and processing of analysis results.

Validation of Analysis Data:

Determination of measurement uncertainty.

Monitoring of System Performance:

Summary of all sample data (Sample Vita).

System Logic

SAMCOS has integrated communication channels for Siemens programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Connections to other components are generally established using TCP/IP-based techniques, including standardized communication interfaces like XML, JSON, and OPC. Additionally, proprietary interfaces based on peer-to-peer socket applications are typically set up for analysis and handling instruments. SAMCOS comes standard with a comprehensive interface library for all leading instrument manufacturers, such as ThermoFisher, SPECTRO, Bruker, and OBLF. Besides TCP/IP networks, SAMCOS can also be used for implementing serial connections in the form of point-to-point connections and fieldbus systems.

SAMCOS Structure

The shop-floor network is generally based on an industrial TCP/IP standard, allowing connections via cable, fiber optic, or wireless. The network is designed for full interoperability, meaning that not only QCS machines but also all other components can be easily integrated, regardless of the manufacturer. Deterministic networks and real-time communication ensure that all time-critical and process-relevant applications can be executed with high reliability. The topology of the shop-floor network can be individually tailored to meet the requirements of each customer. If necessary, redundant ring structures can be provided for the customer’s processes to enable seamless switching. The integration of the shop-floor network into the analysis and enterprise communication of the office floor can be done in various ways.

Configuration 1

The optimal solution (Configuration 1) is that SAMCOS computers or servers are integrated into both the shop-floor and office-floor networks. In this case, SAMCOS receives the data from the analysis instruments integrated into the shop-floor network and then forwards the data to the appropriate instances on the office floor. This configuration offers a high level of cybersecurity, as both the hardware and all shop-floor components are completely isolated from internet access. SAMCOS is integrated into both the shop-floor network and the office-floor network, receiving analysis data and forwarding it to the appropriate office-floor instances. This is the preferred solution.

Configuration 2

If SAMCOS is not part of the software system (Configuration 2), the analysis results are typically forwarded directly from the analysis instruments to the office-floor network. For this purpose, the spectrometers are usually directly connected to a switch within the office-floor network.

SAMCOS Functions in Detail


QCS offers an excellent overview of all pending, current, and already processed samples.

Clear Graphical User Interface:

  • Clear representation of the functional status of the automation system.
  • Clear symbols for the status of automation machines and samples.
  • Easily accessible functional units.

Overview of All System Components:

  • Overview of all magazines in the system.
  • Listing of all relevant messages, errors, and alarms.
  • Overview of the maintenance status of all system components.

Access to All Relevant Sample and Routing Information:

  • All relevant sample information is available with a click.
  • Ability to centrally retrieve and modify worksheet information.
  • Ability to manually trigger sample movements.

Work Process Configuration:

  • Excellent control of sample preparation via worksheets.
  • Simple and user-friendly configuration of various worksheets.
  • Continuous online updating of worksheet information.


Managing and controlling reference samples, including monitoring and calibration samples, is a significant challenge in laboratory control.

Reference Sample Configuration:

  • Intuitive configuration menu for calibration and monitoring samples.
  • Easy entry of sample dimensions and spark positions for OES analysis.
  • Current overview of sample condition, height, and remaining spark positions.

Configuration of Recal Sample Groups:

  • Grouping of recal samples.
  • Clear menu navigation and sample display.
  • Easy management of parameters for sample preparation and analysis.

Creation of Schedules for Recal Samples:

  • Simple creation of schedules for measuring reference samples.
  • Numerous configuration options.
  • Graphical display of schedules.

Creation of Worksheets for Recal Samples:

  • Easy and convenient creation and editing of worksheets.
  • Numerous configuration options.
  • Easily adaptable to the requirements of the respective analysis instrument.


The module is specifically designed for the automatic inspection of sample surfaces using vision systems. Based on camera images and customer-defined parameters, the SparkPoint module calculates the optimal spark position for optical emission spectroscopy (OES). The SparkPoint module can be used for steel, iron, and non-ferrous samples.

Surface with holes or burrs

Curved surface or non-perpendicular

Humid surface or too hot

Automatic Determination of Spark Position:

  • The SparkPoint module is standard in SAMCOS.
  • Easy configuration of spark positions on the sample surface.

Powerful Configuration Tools:

  • Numerous options for configuring basic parameters and conditions.
  • Easy definition of sample shape and size, spark point diameter, and number of analyses.
  • Specification of the distance between spark points, to the sample edge, and to the pin.

Graphical User Interface:

  • Easy modification of the priority position and size of analysis areas.
  • Determination of exact spark positions.

Documentation of Spark Point Positions:

  • Storage of all data from the SparkPoint module for later evaluation.
  • Transfer of data and camera images to SAMCOS Analytics.


Overview of the Functional Status of the Automation:

  • Remote operation of SAMCOS.
  • Display of unit status, position of individual samples, unit errors, robot positions, etc.
  • Buttons guide the user to overview windows and other forms.

Unit Form:

  • Ability to change the status of individual units (unit mode).
  • Ability to send commands, including all necessary programs to the unit.
  • Ability to read the unit configuration and available commands from SAMCOS.

Sample Form:

  • Ability to move a sample to the desired position.
  • Ability to read possible positions from SAMCOS.
  • Feedback to the user on whether the command was executed or not.

Sample Registration:

  • Manual registration of samples in the system.
  • Entry of various sample information through input fields.
  • Automatic configuration of selection fields by SAMCOS.


  • Easy implementation of handling systems like robots.
  • Simple creation, configuration, and modification of sample positions in the system.


  • SAMCOS includes preconfigured interfaces for a wide range of analytical instruments.
  • Data can be displayed in tabular form on various dashboards and processed manually or automatically, with all changes automatically logged.
  • All data can be tracked and monitored in various ways.

Clear Presentation of Analytical Data:

  • Automatic data collection from all integrated analytical instruments via network connections (SMB, TCP, FTP).
  • Tabular display with extensive functionality (grouping, color coding, etc.).

Processing and Forwarding of Analytical Data:

  • Easy data processing for users with appropriate permissions.
  • Manual or automatic data transfer to higher-level systems based on configurable rules.

Automatic Monitoring of Analytical Data:

  • Monitoring according to defined or transmitted thresholds.
  • Display on easy-to-understand dashboards.
  • Automatic notification of authorized users about threshold violations.

Individual Dashboards:

  • Customizable configuration of dashboards.
  • Quick overview of the system’s performance status.

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