Since its initial development in the mid-20th century, gas chromatography (GC) has advanced to meet the demands of a range of applications, from pharma and forensics, to environmental and petrochemical analysis. Analysts are constantly striving for faster, more accurate results with better sensitivity. At the same time, smaller footprints and energy efficiency are becoming increasingly important for laboratories around the world. Intuvo GC systems include a suite of innovative enabling technologies such as fast direct heating no-trim columns, Guard Chip retention gap technology, and ferrule-free fittings. The novel ability of the Intuvo to heat columns via direct heating, enables users to analyze samples with faster cycle times. It also makes it possible to achieve a higher throughput for the laboratory, while minimizing energy use and heat output into the lab.
How to increase GC efficiency
There are several steps that labs can take to increase productivity and stay cost effective. Instrument efficiency has a huge bearing on throughput. Many lab managers are not aware of how much their old instruments are impacting their lab’s effectiveness. One way to tackle this challenge is rethinking the design of GC ovens. By eliminating the traditional air-bath oven and turning to direct heating technology, heat up and cool down times are minimized, improving time of analysis. Direct heating also saves energy, as these GCs require less than half the power of other systems. In addition to refining the heating system, you can gain GC efficiencies through:
– No-trim columns
Intuvo GC columns, although they look different, are identical in dimensions, construction materials, and separation phase to existing Agilent J&W GC capillary columns. They allow for easy transfer of existing GC methods over to the Intuvo system. Their compact, planar design works efficiently with the fast, direct heating and cooling technology of the Intuvo system. Protected by the Intuvo Guard Chip, these columns never need to be trimmed, eliminating costly retention time adjustment. Besides, they include a smart key, enabling the system to immediately identify column information (part number and serial number), column configuration, and temperature limits. It also tracks the use of the column and can be easily installed using Agilent’s patented Intuvo click-and-run connections.
The rapidly growing family of Intuvo GC columns includes an expanded range of Ultra Inert, GC/MS, standard, and application-specific GC columns in various dimensions, and configurations. The range of options makes it easy to select the right GC column for rapid reliable results.
– Redefined gap retention technology
Most GCs require periodical column trimming to remove contamination by sample matrix material. This process is a time-consuming element of GC maintenance and requires a high level of skill. Chromatographic performance also diminishes as the column length decreases, and analyte retention time shifts. By eliminating the need for column trimming, for example using a disposable Guard Chip with the Agilent Intuvo 9000 GC system (https://www.agilent.com/en/products/gas-chromatography/gc-systems/intuvo-9000-gc-system), labs can save time on this task and extend the lifetime of the analytical column.
– Ferrule-free sample paths
Faulty ferrule-based GC connections can cause leaks in the flowpath, which disrupts the workflow during troubleshooting, repair, and verification. Ultimately, this results in sample and productivity losses. The Intuvo system uses ferrule-free connections, with an audible and tactile ‘click’ telling the operator that the connection is secure. Automatic leak detection complements this.
Innovative GC systems are especially beneficial to personnel performing hands-on GC analysis. Older instruments often require specialist training and troubleshooting is lengthy. New GCs can automatically measure various key instrument touch points simultaneously, with advanced status reporting. This information keeps instruments running in top condition, regardless of skill level.
Lab managers and business owners also benefit from an evolved GC system that is higher throughput, energy-efficient, and intuitive, minimizing the need for specialist training while maximizing profitability and ROI.
Impacting the bottom line
Many labs are expected to increase productivity, with the same amount of space and resources. Huge value comes from the ability to achieve more without having to expand lab space. Increased productivity is possible by investing in instruments with smaller footprints, such as the Agilent Intuvo 9000 GC system. Both space and energy savings reduce operating costs and increase throughput, helping labs achieve optimal ROI.
By combining the estimated cost savings from leak-free connections, directing heating, and eliminating the need for column trimming, it is thought that switching to the Intuvo could provide over 50,000 USD in annual incremental economic value. By far one of the most valuable assets of this system is the increased business certainty resulting from reducing unplanned downtime. This business certainty enables more predictable and consistent business results, across multiple operational sites globally.
A return on innovation
Modern GC labs face constant pressure to solve challenges like handling difficult sample matrices, maintaining the integrity of critical data, and accommodating user training needs. These obstacles can lead to a significant investment in time and resources. By incorporating a completely redesigned innovative GC system such as Intuvo, lab technicians free up more time for important analyses, while lab managers and business owners receive a return on innovation.
For more information on the Agilent Intuvo 9000 GC system, download the brochure here: https://www.agilent.com/cs/library/brochures/5991-7273EN.pdf.
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