QuikChem® with Ion Chromatography Option

Complementary Analytical Techniques
Flow injection analysis (FIA) and ion chromatography (IC) are complementary analytical techniques. FIA is used for high-productivity applications, while IC is used to profile samples for their component ions. Both techniques play important roles in the environmental testing laboratory. The QuikChem 8500 incorporates both multichannel flow injection analysis (FIA) and chemically suppressed ion chromatography (IC).
A unique software algorithm called the Shared Peripheral System (SPS) enables operation of FIA and IC simultaneously and independently on the same instrument. The SPS enables FIA and IC to share the use of several peripherals, including the sampler, sampling pump, system unit, and data station. This way, there can be two, three or even four separate instruments operating on the same hardware platform. A typical instrument configuration for this product could be a system unit with three sample processing modules, two allocated to an FIA instrument, and one allocated to an IC instrument.
FIA and IC are similar in that they both involve injection of a sample into an unsegmented, continuously flowing stream. The difference is that FIA determines single analytes in parallel on multiple channels while IC separates a sample into its component analyte ions and determines them serially on a single channel.
The use of the SPS is best illustrated by example. In practice, a user could start the FIA instrument for determining total Kjeldahl nitrogen and total phosphorus in acid digests. The IC instrument could then be started to perform separations of anions including fluoride, chloride, nitrite, phosphate, bromide, nitrate, and sulfate. With FIA, a sample is processed once every 30 to 40 seconds whereas with IC, a sample is processed approximately once every 10 minutes. As a result, when the IC needs to inject a sample, it will cause the FIA instrument to pause while it uses the sampler. Once the sample is injected into the IC instrument, control is relinquished to the FIA instrument and sample processing resumes. This interleaving concept is the key to SPS.
Before introduction of the QuikChem 8500, in order to run both FIA and IC in the same laboratory, two separate instruments were required, usually run by two different operators. This required training, applications, and technical support of two people by two companies, and the operation and support of two different software packages. In contrast, with the QuikChem 8500, one company provides everything , and the software package to run FIA and IC is thoroughly integrated. Also, by combining FIA and IC into one instrument, footprint is reduced by 50%. The net result is that the costs for hardware, software, training, support, and benchspace are all significantly reduced with a concurrent increase in productivity.
The Omnion 3.0 Software System offers a computing environment that seamlessly integrates control, data acquisition and reporting functions for both FIA and IC. With the Omnion graphical method development feature, manual timing and peak characteristic estimations are eliminated. To optimize data collection parameters, simply run a set of peaks, then click and drag on portions of them to specify peak detection for one or several peaks. This can immediately be viewed on the screen. Results of individual runs can also be optimized by rerunning peak detection after the run is finished. You can then review new reports on-screen or send them to a printer.
Running and evaluating calibration standards is very flexible, and can be done at any time, or as a result of a check standard test. Also, with the dilutor option, Omnion will automatically prepare working standards. This is done by directing the sampler and diluter to perform sequential injections of a stock concentrate to form a calibration series. This feature increases accuracy and precision while relieving the operator from manual preparation of standards.
Omnion's unique Data Quality Management (DQM) software provides closed-loop control of data quality. DQM enables the operator to specify QC samples and standards (spikes, duplicates, spiked duplicates, check standards, blanks, etc.), quality control limits, and corrective action to be taken if QC limits are exceeded. This results in out-of-control data being detected promptly, and corrective action being taken automatically with no user intervention.
Customized reports can also be created to provide the format and content most appropriate for each laboratory. Other custom report features include headers and footers, peak charts, and result tables, which can be formatted to include only the necessary information. All charts and tables can be exported in Rich Text Format (RTF) or HTML format, for further editing or copying into MS Word, web sites, or other programs.
Omnion has also been carefully written to be in compliance with Good Automated Laboratory Practices (GALP). The original method is saved with the raw data when they are acquired so the original method parameters are reproduced, even if the method file has been modified. In addition, a system log keeps track of who has used the system and notes the time of any extraordinary events. Password and user log-in control can be added by running Omnion under a security-oriented operating systems. Omnion will always log which user has run samples or is authoring reports.
In summary, the QuikChem 8500 enables both multichannel FIA and chemically suppressed IC to be operated simultaneously and independently. This results in significant savings in hardware, software, bench space, training, applications, and technical support. These increased efficiencies translate into improved productivity for today's competitive analytical environment.