A Year On…
Last week saw my first anniversary of working at Anatune. During that time I have been privileged to have worked with some great customers and have seen the Anatune team expand, in particular in applications where we have gone from 3 to 6 people in that time, and we are still busy.
When I started I worked with Dan and Anaïs, now Sean, Mark and Maïlie have joined the applications team. Some of the work has been a challenge, but it’s always interesting and we always deliver as a team. There are a few key things that I have realised over the last year.
Firstly, automation is not just about high throughput. Although it delivers an obvious advantage in terms of increasing sample numbers and enables operation 24/7, it also provides improvements in data quality. Machines are more dependable and also allow skilled chemists to do less of the routine tasks.
Secondly, flexibility helps future proof your instruments. How many of us know what the demands on our analysis will be in 5 or even 2 years? One of the things I like about the Anatune MultiFlex systems is the modular nature. This means that one instrument can be set up to run a number of different methods – with little or no re-configuration. Flexibility can also help make an instrument more productive. The more methods that can be run on one system, the more value for money that system becomes.
Thirdly, speed is important. Even if an entire method is automated, there is a finite time of analysis per sample. If the method includes complex sample preparation this can be significant. I recently discovered the benefit of the Maestro Prep-ahead feature and the picture below illustrates this. A simple HS-SPME method of 40 samples would take over 3 days without this unique feature, but using prep ahead resulted in a run of just over a day, meaning the instrument could be reconfigured for the next analysis.
I’m sure in the next year, I will learn many more things and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead!
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