An instrument needs to satisfy certain practical requirements and stand-up to stringent economic evaluation in order to earn a place in today’s busy analytical laboratories. In laboratories that require particle sizing, laser diffraction systems are the technology of choice, providing accurate and reliable data for a wide range of sample types
This article discusses the Mastersizer 3000, a laboratory particle size analyzer offered by Malvern Panalytical, and how it can help to achieve significant savings on resources, money, and time and eventually a healthy return on investment.
When each measurement is carried out accurately data integrity is safe, and there is no need to repeat the analysis, which improves productivity. Consistent production of accurate data removes the need for repeat measurements and forms the basis for high lab productivity. The first step is developing a robust technique that can function reliably, which relies on scoping out the effect of all parameters with a potential impact.
The Mastersizer 3000 has multiple features that support direct exploration of the sensitivity of a technique to key parameters. For example, users can rapidly evaluate the sensitivity of results to the analysis parameters applied in the calculation of particle size distributions using the Optical Property Optimizer. The Hydro Sight accessory also enables visual scrutiny, and statistical analysis of the state of dispersion. With these capabilities, an inherently robust method can be easily developed for any specific sample.
From day-to-day measurement, it is important that a selected method can be effectively used by every operator to produce reliable results. Here, the Data Quality Tool is helpful to assess:
- Whether a method is correctly implemented
- Whether the sample is measured at an adequately high concentration
- Whether repeatability satisfies defined pharmacopoeia or ISO standards
As a result, poor quality data is immediately identified, enabling fast remedial action and guaranteeing that compromised data does not leave the laboratory. Also, less repeat analysis leads to higher lab throughput, and assured analysis ensures high data integrity, which accelerates progress in research and development, reduces the risk of a product recall, and leads to more effective troubleshooting.
The ability to deliver measurements quickly can provide crucial data rapidly to make swift and sound decisions. Rapid measurement means improved sample throughput for lab managers and quick delivery of much needed data for customers. Following the development of a method, it takes less than a minute for the Mastersizer 3000 to deliver the reliable results.
The time taken by the Mastersizer 3000 is up to 10 times faster than other particle sizing methods, such as sieving. Such speed is helpful when decision-making relies heavily on the measurement data. For example, reducing the duration between receipt of the sample and delivery of the result is important for streamlining QA/QC and shortening waiting times relative to raw material intake or product release. A fast turnaround is also a critical factor for responsive plant control and efficient troubleshooting in order to improve manufacturing efficiency.
The Mastersizer 3000 not only reduces the measurement time, but also shortens the time taken for method development and reduces the effort needed to handle various sample types. For example, the Measurement Manager tool accelerates the method development by offering a live result trend view, and reliable real-time feedback. This consistent flow of data about measurement stability, and how results are affected by the changes in measurement conditions, facilitates rapid switching to a robust method for a new sample.
The capability to switch quickly between dry and wet sample types using plug and play accessories is also essential for accelerating the sample flow through a busy laboratory handling a variety of materials. A faster time to obtain results leads to optimized lab throughput and ensures a more responsive service for all types of samples, including new samples. Quicker sample turnaround aligns analysis with the production needs, improving the effectiveness of plant control and accelerating QA/QC.
The time and money required for training can be saved, and high-quality data can be reliably produced when the full potential of an analyzer is made accessible to every user. Low maintenance requirements further improve the time available to handle higher value tasks. The drive to improve the profitability of a laboratory is to keep staff levels at a minimum, while increasing productivity to handle the increasing range of routine analysis. Not every operator can be can be an expert on every instrument, but the system can help.
The Mastersizer 3000 has inviting software with integrated expert support, providing a trouble-free experience for users with minimal training requirements, saving a considerable amount of money. It can perform routine measurement with a click of a button and provide real-time feedback throughout the analysis to evaluate the performance and determining any potential problems with data quality. The capability to present data in a customized manner to meet industry practices allows all users to easily understand the results produced.
Savings on training are increased when a method needs to be transferred from, for example, research and development to a production site, or from an internal lab to an outsourcing company, or when ramping up production via a global network of facilities. Here, in addition to achieving cost savings due to the lower training burden, the key advantage is the ability of every analyst to acquire sound data, which is crucial for the secure transfer and application of a specification.
The low maintenance requirement of the Mastersizer 3000 is another advantage that allows users to seamlessly handle the routine analytical workload. The Mastersizer 3000 requires around an hour a month of maintenance, allowing analysts to concentrate on productive activity. Low maintenance requirements and minimal training requirements free up staff for higher value work. Accessible analysis ensures high-quality data for each user, removing the risk from the data flow and method transfer.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Malvern Panalytical.
For more information on this source, please visit Malvern Panalytical.