dispatches from Pittcon 2017

Ellutia unveils system for conventional, fast and ultra-fast GC

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ellutia 500 series GC launched at Pittcon 2017
Ellutia 500 series GC launched at Pittcon 2017

Related tags: Gas chromatography

Ellutia has launched the 500 Series gas chromatograph at Pittcon.

It can perform conventional and fast gas chromatography with an air blown oven and Ultra-Fast Chromatography with directly heated columns.

In ultra-fast mode, metal capillary columns are directly resistively heated allowing increased ramp rates and upper temperature limits and decreased cool down times and reduced energy consumption.

Shipping is planned for June/July with a launch in countries where the firm has offices to support customers before a rollout through distributors globally.

500 Series range of instruments

Andrew James, marketing director at Ellutia, told FoodQualityNews that the instrument is an exciting new idea for GC.

“So we are combining the techniques of conventional GC which is a conventional GC column in an air blown oven, fast GC which is where you would have a shorter column but still in a conventional air blown oven and ultra-fast GC where you are using resistive heating to rapidly temperature program your column all into one system,” ​he said.

“This gives it the benefits that you can install your existing columns, run your existing methods for conventional and fast GC.

“However, if you want to try ultra-fast GC you can install one of the metal columns, the GC can then apply electricity directly to the column which means it can be resistively heated so you can get massively faster ramps and the column itself is just what has been heated so you can cool down much faster.”

James said compared to conventional GC which might be a 30-40 minute run, users can now achieve runs of four or five minutes.

“So cycle time is reduced which means sample throughput can be increased or if you have an application where you need an answer quicker the ultra-fast side will lend itself to that. You can switch between conventional and ultra-fast depending on your applications.”

When asked about column life, James said it is hard to compare between a conventional column and an ultra-fast column.

“Part of it will depend on how many samples you are putting through it because you may be able to put five to 10 times more samples through it in the same period so chances are it won’t last as long but the number of samples that you will be able to put through it is comparable," ​he said. 

“We are also heating the column directly, whereas other ultra-fast GC manufacturers are looking potentially at column modules.

“This might be a column with a heated bundle with it or a column inside of a steel tube that is heated or a column module where it is all built into one thing so if you dirty the front end of your column or damage it somehow you would have to replace the entire module.

“What we are doing is if you were to dirty the front end of your column you can just take the loop off, snip it like you would a conventional column put it back in the GC would then measure the resistance of the column it knows the diameters of it so it can calibrate the length, recalibrate itself and you can carry on working without having to replace your entire column.”

Recommended gas and detector

The 200 series compact GC, originally designed for education, is seen as an entry GC so people can get used to using such a system – it can’t hit some of the upper temperatures and doesn’t have some of the features of the 500 series.

The 500 is pitched more towards the higher end of the market for more demanding applications but the ultra-fast system lends itself to new application areas which labs haven’t been able to previously target. So application areas with lots of samples or where an answer is needed quicker.

Ellutia recommends when using ultra-fast GC to use hydrogen or helium as a carrier gas.

“At launch it has an FID detector with ECD and FPD detectors planned before transfer lines to other specialist detectors such as TEA or mass spectrometry,” ​said James.

“One of the issues with mass spec detectors, particularly with ultra-fast is finding one that can keep up with the speed at which the components elute. So you really need to look at Time of Flight mass spec to be able to keep up with the speed at which things elute.

“There are a number of TOFs out there at the moment that are very expensive but this is one of the areas we are looking into and hope to have an offering to this which is a bit more cost effective towards the end of this year or early next year.

“From a lot of people that we’ve talked to the ultimate dream scenario for them has been TOF interfaced to ultra-fast GC so you get fast results and full confirmation of what you are looking at.”

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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