How to Extend Gas Chromatography's Role

Brian G. Rohrback, fron Infometrix, Inc. wrote the article "GC Stands For Greater Control" for ouor sister publication ChemicalProcessing.com. In it he said that chemical companies are striving for more complete and reliable process control information to tighten adherence to product specifications, reduce waste and identify areas ripe for process improvement. This is spurring a drive to build more capable and agile process instrumentation and, with it, recasting the role of instrumentation in production.

Instruments don't provide control information directly, though. An interpretation step is necessary to achieve the control benefit. However, a decreasing number of skilled analysts are available to convert the data into useable information. So, software has to be made smarter.

Read the entire article to find out how smaller instruments, faster analyses and smarter software will extend gas chromatography's role.

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  • Dr. Rohrback’s review of the state-of-the-art as it has developed in practical online GC, serves to illustrate the possibility to “teach old dogs new tricks.” GC was the first analytical technology with a multivariable output to become broadly installed in the petrochemical industry, with the first installations going back over four decades. In terms of numbers installed, it remains unchallenged as top dog. But while techniques and technologies have improved since then, three developments signal what are arguably the first real changes to the process GC paradigm, excluding the advent of capillary columns: sampling technology (NeSSI™); resistively heated capillary columns to replace the column oven (Falcon); and software that performs DHA and chemometric alignment of chromatograms (InfoMetrix). The significance of such software is that it transforms GC from being a largely univariate enterprise to a multivariate one, permitting reliable exploitation of the rich content from chromatograms.

    Seeing these developments, Jimmy Converse (Monsanto) might rejoin Rohrback and say that GC stands for, “Get creative!” Believing that everything we do can be done better, he questioned in 1983, “Why are we still using the same sample preparation techniques that we used forty years ago?” He also anticipated that “We will find a way… to improve reliability and reduce cost!” Twenty years later, NeSSI™ began validating Converse’s optimism while industry embrace today of new paradigm process GC technology suggests that NeSSI™ technology is enabling progress by remaking the sampling enterprise.

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