• How Ultra-Fast GC Can Help Testing Labs Deliver the Best Results for Their Customers
    Ultra-Fast GC can greatly increase sample throughput.


How Ultra-Fast GC Can Help Testing Labs Deliver the Best Results for Their Customers

Oct 15 2021

Analytical Testing Laboratories are seeing ever growing numbers of sample. A highly competitive marketplace means end users are demanding faster turn-around times and lower analysis costs. This means companies need to look at the latest techniques and technology available to ensure they can offer the best service at a competitive price, whilst still achieving good profitability and operating a sustainable business.

One technique that can greatly increase sample throughput is Ultra-Fast GC. The term has been banded around recently with some manufacturers even claiming a conventional GC with 2 channels is Ultra-Fast. So what really is an Ultra-Fast GC?  A True Ultra-Fast GC directly heats the analytical column rather than using a conventional air blown oven. This offers several distinct advantages a conventional air blown GC cannot. The column can be heated at much faster ramp rates, this can help sharpen peaks and decrease analysis time. As only the column is being heated rather than an entire oven the cool down time is greatly decreased, this means that the injection-to-injection cycle time can be a fraction of that of a conventional GC. Directly heating the column rather than an entire oven also mean significantly less energy is consumed per sample, helping companies further reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability goals.

Ellutia has been a pioneer in Ultra-Fast GC technology for over 20 Years. The latest 500 Series GC is an innovative new design that can switch between operating as a conventional air-blown GC with regular fused silica column to an Ultra-Fast GC that directly resistively heats a metal column. The 500 Series GC features a compact footprint that means several GC’s can fit under a single autosampler further increasing the sample throughput of a system.

Ultra-Fast GC in Action - Total Petrochemical Hydrocarbon (TPH) Analysis

Petroleum derived Hydrocarbons are a common ground contaminant that can pose a risk to human health as well as nearby eco systems and water resources. Levels of these compounds are required to be monitored ensure any land used for development is not contaminated with harmful levels.

A typical Conventional GC will usually take between 20 to 25 minutes to perform the GC run with a 5 - 6-minute oven cool-down time giving a total cycle time of 25-30 minutes. The most heavily optimised conventional GC methods can offer a GC run time of 6 to 7 minutes but are still faced with the same lengthy 5–6-minute oven cool down time so can only offer a cycle time of around 12 minutes per Channel.

When operating as a true Ultra-Fast GC utilising a directly heated column the Ellutia 500 Series can perform TPH analysis with a GC runtime of 3 minutes with a cool down time of only 1 minute giving a a cycle time of only 4 minutes per channel. This means when compared to a conventional GC an Ultra-Fast GC can analyse 3-7 times more samples per channel over the same time period.

Maximising Resources 

Laboratory bench space is a premium and when an autosampler can cost as much as a GC system it can seem a waste if it can only serve a single instrument.  The 500 Series GC was designed with a compact footprint so multiple GCs could be served by a single autosampler.  For Example, a system comprising of a single autosampler, and 2 Ultra-fast 500 Series GC systems takes up no more bench space than a conventional GC and Autosampler but could perform over 700 TPH test in a day, the equivalent work of multiple conventional GC systems. 

Taking Ultra-Fast GC for a Test Drive

To truly appreciate the productivity gains an Ultrafast GC system can bring to a business it needs to be seen first hand. Ellutia have number of demonstration systems that are available for customers to try at their business. Systems can be installed and left at the customer’s site for 2 weeks completely free of charge. After the 2 weeks the system will be collected with no obligation to purchase. To register your interest to try an Ultra-Fast 500 Series GC please click here.

To find out more about the 500 Series GC visit Ellutia at the Lab innovations 2021 show Stand B62.

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