shutterstock_205108651 (1)This third in a blog series on robustness and its role in enhancing lab optimization processes focuses on gas chromatography (GC). The series takes a critical look at the term “robustness” and describes how it relates to a portfolio of analytical instruments (hardware and software) in quantifiable terms and benefits. The working definition for robustness (described in Part 1 of the series) includes three aspects: measurement, instrument, and process.

What Are Instant Connect Modules?

The following describes an example of instrument and measurement robustness that centers on Instant Connect GC modules. These modules include a variety of interchangeable injectors and detectors that provide the flexibility to configure a GC or GCMS for a specific method or workflow. Each module incorporates all the necessary pneumatic hardware, electronic parts, and calibration information to make the injector or detector a completely self-sufficient sub-unit of the instrument. When plugged into the top of the GC, the modules are automatically configured into the system and connected to the gas supply. Installing a module takes only two minutes: the time needed to fix three retaining screws and slide the new injector or detector module into place, as shown in the video:

 

What Is Their Value?

Instant Connect modules enhance your lab efficiencies with the following 4 capabilities:

  • Enables changing a system configuration without incurring the cost of a service call
  • Minimizes alignment considerations for more rapid module installation
  • Reduces downtime by resuming operation within 9 minute of powering down
  • Provides module-to-module performance reproducibility and accuracy

The following provides an example of a robustness study with results obtained from an endurance mechanical test on Instant Connect modules and typical analytical reproducibility using a TRACE 1300 Series GC. Analytical reproducibility was also measured after switching modules of the same type in the same application. The modules included Split/Splitless injectors (SSI) and Flame Ionization Detectors (FID). Run conditions included an automated sequence of 10 injections that were performed immediately after SSI module replacement along with collecting data. The instrument was stopped again and the FID detector module replaced with a new one.

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Test results show that module internal calibration allows module-to-module reproducibility to be within 5% of the variances in absolute peak area and retention times. The compact size and robustness of the module enable the modules to be repeatedly replaced without impacting instrument performance.

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Figure 1. Module to module repeatability. Modules store all of their calibration information providing module-to-module reproducibility and accuracy.

Please look for the next blog in the robustness series that will center on the VirtusoTM, Vial Identificatio System. In the meantime, please visit our growing blog library on analytical instrument robustness in Analyte Guru by typing robustness in the search window.