Integrating a Novel Sample Digestion System into an Automated System


Integrating a Novel Sample Digestion System into an Automated System

ColdBlock Technologies

Niagara Falls


Status: Submitted

13 Apr 2023
  • automation platform
  • soil digestion
  • lab equipment


ColdBlock™ Digestion is a unique sample digestion technology that can dissolve geological rock samples into solution, enabling effective multi-element analysis. This technology addresses many of the major issues associated with existing sample digestion methods for both gold and base metals.

ColdBlock™ Digestion is a novel sample digestion technology that utilizes patented focused short-wave infrared radiation (FSWIR). IR lamps are used to emit high energy radiation (heat) to sample particles directly, while a cooling block creates a condensation effect designed to reduce the escape potential of volatile elements and acid.  

Completed in late 2019, the Amira P1196 project confirmed that ColdBlock™ Digestion could deliver a tangible business impact when used alongside analytical instrumentation. It was able to positively impact on the following areas, across all five industry sponsors (Figure 1):

  • Energy - reduced power consumption
  • Environment – reduced toxic waste (for example lead)
  • Safety - reduced exposure to harmful reagents
  • Financials - significant reduction in cost

It was also determined that in gold analysis, the ColdBlock™ Digestion method resulted in comparable analytical outcomes in comparison with fire assay, offering improved reproducibility alongside more consistent recovery.


Figure 1. ROI Conclusions P1196 for Gold Application.

The Proposal

The P1196A project will be managed collaboratively by Amira Global and ColdBlock™ Technologies with support from Nucomat and Queens University.

The project’s core objective is the effective incorporation of ColdBlock™ Digestion systems into an automation platform, which includes built-in ventilation while allowing for automated dispensing of up to four acids.  

A minimum of a 24 -Channel ColdBlock™ Digestion system is to be integrated into a Nucomat automation system, creating automated digestion and work-up system. This automated system will provide high-throughput in corrosive environments while being able to accommodate sample sizes up to 30 g/channel (Figure 2).  



Overview Of System

ColdBlockTM Digestion

Automation Platform

  • FSWIR Heating and Cooling Zone
  • Corrosion resistant materials
  • Samples digested in minutes
  • Hi accuracy and precision
  • Integrated controller with automation system
  • Accessories include two sets of test tubes, racks and transfer tray
  • Small and large sample size applications


  • Accurate and fast liquid dispensing
  • Gravimetric control
  • Modularity (1-4 reagents)
  • Highly resistant to concentrated acids
  • User configurable
  • Single button operated
  • LIMS interfacing
  • Safe Operation
  • Automatic refilling from bulk containers











ColdBlockTM  Digestion

Nucomat Automation