Improve Efficiency and Minimize Downtime of Your GCMS System

Operational Issues Impacting the Environmental Laboratory Industry
Oral Presentation

Prepared by A. Smith Henry, C. Hemmerich
Agilent Technologies Inc., 2850 Centerville Road, Wilmington, DE, 19808, United States

Contact Information: [email protected]; 302-636-8252


Taking a GC or GC/MS system offline to complete maintenance can be a frustrating venture. Whether a user needs to trim a column, find a leak, or clean the source, maintenance seems to take more time than it should resulting in a loss of revenue. For example, new column installation typically requires venting the MS, opening the analyzer door, and making new connections. These steps open the system to the possibility of leaks, if the connections are not securely made. Leaks at the detector may not be discovered until fully pumped down, causing another partial or full day of downtime. Following column maintenance, method variations can occur. This may also affect compound retention times, which must be reconfirmed prior to resuming sample analysis. Employing the optimal consumables and method procedures will minimize instrument downtime. A set of collared self-tightening nuts facilitates faster column changes and reduction in leaks. Utilizing retention time locking allows the user to reset the flow rate and avoid changing retention times in the quantitative method that occur from trimming the head of the column. Additionally, guard columns can be an excellent way to reduce column trims and replacement, but they still require regular trimming and replacing. The application of backflush, with or without a guard column, can further increase the lab productivity.