Gas Chromatography Discussions at Analytica 2022: Connectivity, Automation, Ease of Use
After two years, the world-leading scientific trade fair Analytica was held in person again, bringing together the laboratory community to share scientific ideas and advancements.
One notion that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light is the importance and significant role lab productivity, remote control, sustainability, and staff safety play in the analytical workflow. This is especially important for established techniques such as Gas Chromatography (GC), which are very versatile and used by a very high percentage of labs.
Alessandro Baldi Talini, Portfolio Director for GC, PerkinElmer, addressed some of the more common questions regarding innovation, productivity, and sustainable practices for GC workflows, as well as what he saw at Analytica 2022.
Q: How did it feel to be together again, seeing the analytical community face to face after two years of virtual events?
Baldi Talini: It was refreshing! And very important. I was excited to see familiar faces, share ideas and especially hear feedback about improving lab efficiency. It was also exciting to demonstrate the innovative user experience of our new GC 2400 Platform. Analytica 2022 is its proud premiere.
Q: What did you hear most from the community about future trends for GC?
Baldi Talini: The message is clear: it is of the essence for the post-pandemic lab to integrate new modes of operational efficiency. Certainly, remote capabilities are essential, along with connectivity. For example, the GC 2400 Platform offers smart connectivity features allowing remote monitoring of the GC workflow with its own detachable touchscreen, as well as other interfaces.
Sustainability is another hot topic. Unfortunately, as we know, there is a worldwide shortage of helium. To address this supply chain problem, the GC 2400 has an optional built-in hydrogen sensor for working with the less expensive, and greener alternative, hydrogen instead of helium as a carrier gas. Labs can benefit from this sustainability option on both an environmental and economic level.
Q: Did you receive any feedback about automation and repetitive tasks?
Baldi Talini: Everyone working in a laboratory wants to avoid time-consuming, repetitive tasks.
First, being digitally connected for remote control helps a lab intervene earlier or prevent cases of unexpected analytical situations.
Secondly, remote connectivity combined with automated set-ups can help minimize errors, especially for repeated and manual tasks. We know that sample processing and preparation take time and impact the final outcome of the GC analysis. The GC 2400 Platform can help labs increase productivity by automating repeated tasks and providing scalable solutions to grow alongside the business.
By being exchangeable from different positions in the same GC 2400 System or on multiple GC 2400 Systems, the AS 2400 Liquid Autosampler maximizes the use of sampling capabilities. These exchange capabilities are supported by self-configuration and self-recognition, removing the need for manual intervention on the SimplicityChrom CDS Software.
Q: Labs try to minimize adoption costs for new technology. How do you think this can be done for GC?
Baldi Talini: Today’s lab staff are digitally savvy. During personal downtime, they consume technology in many different ways. The common trait is a user-intuitive interface driving an efficient user experience.
The SimplicityChrom CDS Software’s intuitive interface and icon menus reduce if not mitigate the adoption costs for laboratories while ensuring a harmonized software approach. Again, ease-of-use is at the center, offering simplified and easy-to-learn workflows.
Data processing and instrument control are combined in an easy-to-use application, making learning and designing workflows easy for both new staff and experienced GC operators. Data tables and chromatograms for a given analyte can be viewed across multiple samples to identify trends, save time, and perform better data analysis.
Q: Are there any challenges to the user experience? If so, how can they be addressed?
Baldi Talini: Yes, there are challenges… because not all users process or visualize data the same way.
But there are clever solutions. For example, individual users can create their own customized layouts and workflows in SimplicityChrom CDS Software.
Q: Analytica 2022 was enlightening. Where else can we go to learn more about GC?
Baldi Talini: PerkinElmer, of course!