Ever given someone a blank stare when you don’t understand what they are saying? Just last week, a very uninteresting Auto Center employee was rattling off a bunch of convoluted, technical terms to explain the issue with my car brakes. I sighed to myself as I was already irked that my otherwise reliable, inexpensive SUV had disappointed me! In my mind, items for routine use (vehicles, electric toothbrushes, my pillow, etc.) should just get the job done right and quickly…all day, every day.
Performing routine ion analysis is becoming a lot like driving your car (unless you are a car buff). Analytical labs are constantly dealing with decreasing turnaround times on sample results. There is simply less time to spend hours on resolving issues if an Ion Chromatography (IC) system goes down. Otherwise, an analytical lab runs the risk of dealing with lost productivity and very frustrated employees and customers. Additionally, many labs are facing frequent employee turnover, leaving less time to train new hires that may not be familiar with operating IC systems. Do they simply just pray that their new hire learns quickly? Maybe.
It really comes down to the simplicity of the system’s design so a new operator can quickly become familiar with their instrument. Thermo Fisher Scientific recently launched the Thermo Scientific Integrion HPIC system. The system can be used by labs running the same IC method day in and day out for a variety of applications including environmental, food/beverage and chemical analysis. There is a logical, flow-based plumbing layout so an operator can easily follow the fluidic connections and access system components. You are able to monitor runs using a detachable tablet which is available in local language – it’s a gadget that speaks your talk! One of the coolest features (or at least I think so) is the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ IC PEEK Viper Fittings. They provide “worry-free”, finger-tight connections with virtually zero dead volume. You know what that means? No more ferrules flying off in the lab!
The thing is…design isn’t everything. My SUV is very easy and comfortable to drive. When my brakes started to act up, I was still subject to a sleep-inducing, overcomplicated rant by the auto center employee. Back in the lab when issues do arise, educational tools or guides should be available to help resolve issues quicker. With the launch of the Dionex Integrion HPIC system, there is a new Troubleshooting Knowledge Base available in the Thermo Scientific™ Dionex™ Chromeleon™ 7.2 Chromatography Data System. The feature is designed to help a user determine what went wrong with a run and how to rectify the issue. About 95% of the common issues are listed and clearly explained for 3 areas: peak results, baseline and column pressures with solution recommendations.
Another educational tool in the Dionex™ Chromeleon™ 7.2 CDS system are the Consumables Installation Guides which provide a written step-by-step guide as well as a companion video to install IC consumables.
I could only imagine how much more enjoyable and productive my conversation would have been with that employee if I had such tools at my disposal. I’d encourage you to learn more about what other IC system operators are saying about the new system by visiting the dedicated website. I’ll leave you to that while I finish making plans to visit the Mercedez Benz car dealership this weekend.