The Advent of Intelligent LC-MS and GC-MS Technologies

New “smart” technology features aim to increase workflow efficiencies and instrument productivity -- while reducing costs and instrument downtime.

The phrase, “self aware”, might conjure images of a machine-dominated world and a mechanized Armageddon. The term “intelligent” is perhaps more fitting to describe the latest trend in new mass spec and gas chromatography technologies.

Capabilities such as touchscreen user interfaces and intuitive software features have served to enhance instrument accessibility and the user experience in general.

Waters recently announced the BioAccord LC-MS BioPharma System as a built-for-purpose solution towards biopharmaceutical development and quality control.

The BioAccord system is meant to enable access to high-resolution time-of-flight mass spectrometry capabilities and more effective analysis of biotherapeutic protein attributes. The ultimate goal is to move routine monitoring out of centralized MS labs and into the hands of more operators in diverse laboratory settings at the point of application.

From the official press release:

“The pace of innovation in the biopharmaceutical industry is accelerating, and with it, the monitoring requirements for biotherapeutics are growing exponentially," said Chris O'Connell, Chairman and CEO, Waters Corporation. "The inherent complexity of these therapies, combined with rising regulatory standards, are driving more intensive and widespread testing requirements. Waters designed the BioAccord System as a fit-for-purpose LC-MS biopharmaceutical solution to deliver rich mass spectrometry data for improved productivity and effective decision-making."

The BioAccord System pairs ACQUITYTM UPLC™ I-Class Plus with the newly-developed ACQUITY RDa™ Detector featuring SmartMS™. This system offers new levels of user experience with automated setup and self-diagnosis delivered through an intuitive user interface, all within a surprisingly small footprint.

Powered by UNIFI™, Waters’ compliance-ready LC-MS informatics platform, the BioAccord System has been optimized for intact protein, released glycan, and peptide monitoring applications, and streamlined by the use of Waters' application-specific chemistries and consumables kits.

Shimadzu recently launched the NX Series of GC-MS and GC-MS/MS instruments. With outstanding functionality, a variety of Smart features, easy maintenance, and intuitive software, these GC-MS systems provide higher levels of efficiency and instrument productivity than previously capable.

From the press release:

The new GC-MS NX series consists of the triple-quad GCMS-TQ8050 NX, the triple-quad GCMS-TQ8040 NX, and the single-quad GCMS-QP2020 NX, combining high accuracy and high sensitivity with easy maintenance and improved operating efficiency. 

The GCMS NX series systems use SSI's latest Nexis GC-2030 as the gas chromatograph (GC) unit, which is equipped with a next-generation flow controller that enables ultra-fast and ultra-precise control and accommodates a variety of applications. Together, the GCMS NX and the Nexis GC-2030 assure high sensitivity and high performance.

For ease of maintenance, the GCMS NX series systems incorporate ClickTek™, a mechanism that allows tool-free attachment and removal of consumables. Maintenance-reducing features include a sample injection port that users can open and close without using tools and a column oven with a light that illuminates the immediate area. ClickTek™ shortens the time required to replace certain parts by 80% and helps to raise productivity at analysis laboratories by eliminating dependency on certain operators to handle the work.

In addition, the GCMS NX series systems improve operating efficiency by reducing standby time. With conventional GC-MS, the operator must check the system during startup, shutdown, maintenance and tuning. With the GCMS NX series, the systems are equipped with an active time management function, which enables control of the total system operating time and shorter standby time, while automating verification operations. Reducing GC-MS verification steps further improves system operating efficiency.

GCMSsolution software provides intuitive control of the GCMS NX Series. Also included is LabSolutions Insight. This data review software enables faster quantitative analysis and higher productivity when analyzing pesticides, forensic toxicological substances, environmental pollutants, and many other substances. In addition, each system can be configured with a variety of sample introduction devices to address specific application requirements.

The “smart” laboratory trend has now expanded to include the “intelligent” high-end analytical devices described above – and will continue to infiltrate advanced instrumentation going forward.

Hardly the stuff of nightmares, these new intelligent functionalities promise to accelerate the pace and bandwidth of scientific productivity.

We’ll check back frequently and report interesting developments around this theme.

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