Faster analysis, smaller analyzers and smarter software are extending gas chromatography’s role.
Chemical companies are striving for more complete and reliable process control information to tighten adherence to product specifications, reduce waste and identify areas ripe for process improvement. This is spurring a drive to build more capable and agile process instrumentation and, with it, recasting the role of instrumentation in production.
Chemometric software advances like InfoMetrix® LineUp™ are playing a strategic role in this movement, providing active, interpretive data processing links from sampling and analytical hardware to the control system.
Over the last ten years, a substantial effort has focused on making online gas chromatography more responsive to the control world. Throughout, the goals have been to:
- speed the response time;
- reduce an on-line chromatograph’s footprint; and
- better utilize computational advances to extract the information content of the data
stream . . . this is where software like LineUp comes in to play.
Ultimately, we want to turn a process GC into an appliance. As we work to attain this goal, some fundamental changes are needed both in our approach to hardware and the scope of the software.
It’s not practical in a process setting to manually manipulate the chromatographic conditions to keep retention times constant. This leads to the first role for software: to adjust for retention time drift. A number of software techniques can address the problem; all use a multivariate correlation algorithm to bring the retention times under sufficient control, even when matching results from more than one chromatograph.
LineUp allows us to generate consistent run-to-run results for more than one
chromatograph and over an extended period of time. This capability can positively impact maintenance – by reducing the time spent on instrument calibration. For instance, taking three similar chromatographs (same nominal method, column and detectors) fresh off the production line and applying the alignment technology, we should be able to superimpose the results, as shown in figure 1 above.
With instrument calibration and other manual adjustments to correct for retention time shifts reduced, the speed and efficiency of the measurement process are increased significantly, as well as any process dependent on sample analysis.
Production and product quality can be increased as the software not only reduces unneeded maintenance callouts but also frees the system to identify true problems with a significantly higher success rate.
Read more about this topic in these suggested links.
Brian Rohrback, President of InfoMetrix provides more detail on this topic in an article published by Chemical Processing, including the role of the NeSSI platform in this movement. Here is a quick link to that article: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/articles/2013/gc-stands-for-greater-control/
Brian also gave a talk on the field of Chemometrics in Chromatography at the 2013 Eastern Analytical Symposium. Here is a link to the presentation: Chemometrics in Chromatography EAS 112013
LineUp works with most chromatography systems including software packages from Agilent, PerkinElmer, Waters and Shimadzu. Special integration has been developed for ChromPerfect, EZChrom and ChemStation.
To discuss the extraordinary value of InfoMetrix LineUp software directly with our staff, please contact us.