How to Accelerate and Optimize for 600,000 ICP Tests, Annually
At a recent open house, held in Veghel, Netherlands, NutriControl BV and PerkinElmer officially launched a new demonstration laboratory that features some of the most advanced analytical testing instruments available to the global food, feed, nutritional, and dairy industries.
“It is a win-win situation,” says Gert Wilgenhof, BeNeLux Sales Leader for PerkinElmer’s Discovery & Analytical Solutions business unit. “When NutriControl first began thinking about redesigning and expanding its spectroscopy lab, it started a discussion with PerkinElmer to see how the new lab might be designed to accommodate a growing collaboration between the two companies.”
The result is an expansive new space that includes a PerkinElmer Avio® 500 ICP-OES and two NexION® 2000 ICP-MS instruments. These are in addition to two Optima® ICP-OES instruments that are already in use at the lab. With the addition of these newest instruments NutriControl is now positioned to become one of the leading food, feed, and nutritional analytical laboratories in Europe (the Benelux).
Storied Past; Promising Future
NutriControl traces its origins to the early 1970s when the Cooperative Central Laboratory of Netherlands was established to support the nation’s growing cooperative trade organizations in the animal feed, food, and dairy industries. Following a series of mergers that combined regional cooperatives, NutriControl emerged in 2010 as the core analytical lab of Royal Agrifirm Group, a Dutch cooperative enterprise with business interests throughout Europe, Ukraine, China, and South America.
Today, NutriControl is acknowledged for its wealth of experience, expertise, and quality service. Beyond serving as the core lab and analytical competence center for its parent company, it is serving as an independent laboratory for its customers in the feed, food, and dairy industry. NutriControl has a growing list of global feed, food and dairy customers with services in the areas of sample logistics, chromatography, spectroscopy, microbiology, near infrared technology, and nutritional analyses.
In this last-mentioned area, NutriControl uses a number of techniques, including spectroscopy, to measure feeds and foods, beverages, and dairy products in areas from fiber, fat content, and protein parameters to nutrients, contaminants, and animal treatment tracer agents, such as titanium oxide, yttrium oxide and chromium (III) oxide.
According to Henk Lamers, Manager Analytical Services at NutriControl, that is where PerkinElmer’s ICP-OES is making a big difference. “It offers high reproducibility, where you can measure simultaneously a lot of tracers with little disruption” and that all adds up to faster scans, service, and improved profitability.1 “These are the reasons why we decided for PerkinElmer Equipment” adds Lamers, “NutriControl is a demo lab for these analytical solutions and PerkinElmer prospects visit our lab for a demonstration and PerkinElmer supports us with their knowledge expert Wim van Bussel.”
PerkinElmer has not only provided NutriControl with spectroscopy training for some time, but also ensures their processes are always optimized. This is vitally important to NutriControl, which conducts between 500,000 to 600,000 analytical tests a year.2 To handle that volume of work, NutriControl’s staff of 90 employees is dedicated to running its analytical services at an optimal level using applied LEAN principles. In essence, these principles are meant to eliminate waste and improve productivity and quality by embracing change for the better in lab optimization and workflow.
Advanced Savings And Services
Nowhere is that change and optimized workflow better reflected than in NutriControl’s choice of PerkinElmer’s latest instrumentation. The Avio 500 ICP-OES, for example, allows for multi-element analyses in the UV and Vis range simultaneously, saving valuable time. In addition, “its matrix-tolerant plasma is generated and maintained with only 8 liters of argon due to the flat plate technology to generate the plasma” says Henk Lamers. The result is a 50% argon reduction compared to the previous instruments with helical load coils we used, Lamers adds.
“The addition of the NexION 2000 ICP-MS is also a game changer for NutriControl. “It offers extended dynamic range capabilities to detect high-and low-level elements in a single sample run,” NutriControl’s Henk Lamers says. “It not only offers the fastest and most accurate data acquisition speeds available, the NexION’s advanced technologies make it virtually maintenance free, which is a perfect complement to our focus on optimization and uptime.” Gert Wilgenhof adds, “NutriControl even added a second NexION 2000 that is meant to provide backup services, and it allows PerkinElmer the opportunity to use the instrument to schedule on-site demonstrations as well and to further deepen the two companies longstanding collaborative relationship.”
For a company that measures success in terms of precision and speed, NutriControl is quick to point out that it really boils down to a simple equation. It is all about exceptional staff, their sense of real commitment to continual improvement, and the technological advancements of companies like PerkinElmer.
- Jörgen van den Ende, NutriControl, BV: Opening PerkinElmer Demo Lab,” NutriControl PowerPoint Presentation, October 23, 2017.