How to achieve a better, smarter, faster GC Analysis using new technologies

01 October, 2020

Gas Chromatography has been around for more than 60 years.

Some of us who are working in the lab for long time, feel that corporates are pushing unnecessarily new technologies for their own interests, and we can probably continue to work using old, obsolete systems without spending to upgrade them.

This approach is only beneficial for a short time. 

As the management guru Stephen Covey once said – I used over and over again, the physical asset I purchased, a lawnmower, without doing anything maintenance. The mower worked well for two seasons, but then it began to break down. When I tried to revive it with service and sharpening, I discovered the engine had lost over half its original power capacity. It was essentially worthless. -Covey, Stephen R.. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

You may delay using new technologies, but not deny them. Using new technologies is the key to stay competitive, enhance productivity & maintain growth. An Agilent survey shows the typical time spent on GC Analysis as …

1. GC Column Technologies:

Fundamentally, all GC Columns are heated & cooled to achieve desired sample separation.

Just imagine a cooking system, where you keep the cooking pan 6 inch above the flame! What a sheer wastage of energy, none of us would prefer to use such an inefficient system.

This is the story of current GC oven we have been using for last few decades. A column is indirectly heated by surrounding 1 cubic foot of air, called Thermal Mass. This has now been replaced by direct heating GC ovens & columns, giving us 3x savings on energy & 9x achieving faster results.

  • Planar Columns are direct heating columns, doesn’t contain any air space between the heater & the column.

  • Smart Key: Now a days, you can procure any GC column with Smart Key which allows self-configuration, usage monitoring & tracking the age of the column.

2. Ultra-Inert Columns and GC Supplies:

Are you performing trace levels analysis of complex mixtures with active analytes like phenols, pesticides, sulfur, very acidic/basic, amines, polar, biphenyls etc.?

Them I am sure that you are very familiar with tailing peak shape, compounds breakdown, gradual loss of response, difficulty in detecting lower limits, bleed problems, columns trimming.

Many of you might want to skip sample prep given a choice, shorten the sample analysis cycle time.
Should not we use GCMSMS for higher sensitivity, sure it does but not always.

There’s a solution at hand, an Ultra Inert Technology. Agilent laid the groundwork for flow path inertness with the acquisition of J&W Scientific (founded by Walter G. Jennings) Ultra Inert columns in 2008, with over 30 years of R&D focused on Surface Deactivation.

Walt Jennings

Ultra-Inert supplies include liners, gold seals, ferrules, columns, inlet weldment, Jets to name a few.

3. Data processing and storage:

As we learn & perform faster GC analysis, we are generating more data than ever before. In the last decade, data has exploded exponentially. So it’s not possible to continue to use traditional methods of working with local PCs or USBs or USB Drives, which are both insecure & unsafe.

Global organizations have invested heavily in creating an OpenLAB software platform to connect all multi-vendor chromatographs into a seamless network of data control & management. This also helped to meet current trend of working from home or anywhere, using a secure remote access.

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