oil-and-gasIf there’s one industry under a magnifying glass, it’s the oil and gas industry. Production margins are closely watched, and companies are currently being asked to drastically reduce costs while at the same time increase the product output without sacrificing quality or delivery. This increased pressure on the laboratory to deliver results quickly to the various operating units requires continuous, uninterrupted operation regardless of any analytical irregularities, instrument downtime, or internal (e.g. network outage, server failure, instrument outage) or external (e.g. power outage, construction, natural disaster) events.

This also means that the chromatography data system (CDS) in this industry must ensure business continuity. Any downtime can lead to a high cost for demurrage and detention, which in turn impacts the company’s profit margin. There are various areas where laboratory downtime can be reduced.

No matter what’s happening, the CDS should be able to operate during any network outage and should, therefore, have licenses and user management available, prevent data loss, keep instruments running and have acquired data available for reporting. In addition, unauthorized access should be prevented, both by using the security tools from the operating system and the CDS, like Thermo Scientific™ Chromeleon™ CDS. Ideally, the CDS software would also provide its own load balancing and failover capability to handle the data exchange. Load balancing allows distribution of workloads across multiple computing resources, usually servers. With the failover capabilities, the system is kept online in case a server fails or is taken offline for maintenance, as the other server(s) simply take over. This increased reliability through redundancy also provides a capability for server maintenance.

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Another potential source of downtime is instrument failures and analytical irregularities due to changing test conditions, consumable wear or potential human errors. When discovered at the end of the analytical run, valuable time will be wasted. Therefore, the software should be able to automatically react to any abnormal analytical results. With tools like automated System Suitability Tests (SST), the software can determine during the run if the system and analytical results are suitable, based on user-specified criteria. In addition, with the use of Intelligent Run Control (IRC), it is possible to stop, pause, or automatically carry out additional tests during an analytical run, should any of the tests fail. Built-in tools to monitor instrument calibration and maintenance prevent unexpected instrument downtime.

This is a small selection of the tools Chromeleon CDS provides to ensure business continuity for the petrochemical industry and beyond. Find out more at www.thermofisher.com/chromeleon.