No Need For a Night Shift with Automated GCMS Sample Prep

As one of the world’s largest providers of industrial hygiene, infection control, microbiology quality management, and other products, Schülke and Mayr GmbH must follow an array of strict national and international rules on quality control and product monitoring. The 126-year-old company is in fact considered a pharmaceutical manufacturer, so high levels of precision and accuracy are necessary.

The maintenance of strict standards of quality means the company’s employees conduct all their chemical analyses in-house. Gas chromatography (GC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) form the backbone of their analytical work.

Schülke and Mayr analyze about 40,000 samples each year. The GERSTEL MultiPurpose Sampler (MPS) performs automated sample preparation on about 10,000 of these.

Schülke and Mayr is growing rapidly. Increases in the number of samples tested over the past five years has required the company to double its analytical laboratory staff, but even the additional staff could not satisfy the productivity requirements and the company considered adding an overnight shift to handle the workload, but this was deemed too disruptive.

The company turned to automated sample preparation for a better solution. Now, the night shift is run by just one “staff member,” the GERSTEL MPS.

When staff members arrive at the lab in the morning, data can be processed and evaluated quickly, and production batches that were created overnight can be released.

The MPS prepares samples, generates standards, and monitors processes, ultimately analyzing large numbers of samples overnight with no human oversight needed. In order to provide all these functions, it was crucial that the automation system include an integrated balance (to weigh samples, generate standard and reagent solutions and dilution series), so the company replaced the use of manual standard pipettes with precise liquid dispensing syringes used by the MPS and its automated Weighing Option. The MPS, in fact, provides more accurate dispensing and analytical results than standard manual pipetting.

GERSTEL equipment is used extensively in the Schülke and Mayr analytical lab. A basic MPS WorkStation adds internal standards and generates dilution series, an XL version of the MPS prepares samples for two GCs, and every MPS is equipped with the Weighing Option. Finally, GERSTEL MAESTRO Software allows selection of weighing steps.

The systems also provide monitoring of instrument performance, which is a critical workflow step in any pharmaceutical manufacturing facility. The GERSTEL MPS can control variations in analytical data and help the lab determine the sources of those variations.

Learn more about how the GERSTEL MPS system could work automatically and autonomously all night in the article, “The MPS handles the Night Shift,” in GERSTEL Solutions Worldwide. Then feel free to contact us for deeper conversation about how the MPS system improves quality control while increasing productivity.