Hello and welcome to another post in a series of blogs about our automated permeation systems! In this post we will highlight the key differences between the manual and automated challenge chemical introduction options available for our systems, and take a look at what additional functionality that brings. For something that sounds so simple it really does have a big impact on what you can do with the systems.
If you haven't already read our post about what equipment makes up a permeation testing system we'd highly recommend checking that out from the link below.
UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCES
Manual Challenge chemical Introduction
An insightful overview
At Ellutia, we pride ourselves in having helped companies all over the world transform their permeation testing and are eager to impart our knowledge. So, let's start with the most common configuration of the permeation system - the six-cell automated system with manual challenge chemical introduction, specifically designed for EN-374 analysis.
In this setup, we have six analysis cells. At the start of an experiment, the user will need to manually introduce challenge chemicals into the relevant cell.
Every cell comes equipped with a dedicated flow controller. This device ensures the collection gas maintains a constant flow, which is then guided by the stream selection valve to the gas chromatograph for sampling and analysis.
This system uses a discrete sampling method rather than continuously monitoring a signal. Instead, it measures multiple samples at specific intervals. The frequency of these measurements is determined by the expected breakthrough time of the sample as specified in the relevant standard.
If we’re testing a combination of material and challenge chemical that are expected to permeate quickly, we will need to sample every 60 seconds, to ensure we have the required data to view the permeation process. We will set up 3 cells with the same material to get our results in triplicate. The experiments will be configured in the software, then once the system is ready to run, the software will instruct the operator to introduce the challenge chemical into the first cell and then begin testing. The system will then take a sample every 60 seconds. Once the end conditions of the experiment are met the system will end the experiment. The system will then need to wait for the operator to manually introduce the challenge chemical into the second cell and begin the next test.
If there is a combination of challenge chemical and material that is expected to take longer to break through, we can adjust our method. Here we can employ three cells simultaneously. The Challenge chemical will be manually added to the first cell, then 1 minute later to the second cell then a minute later to the 3rd. Then rather than sampling a single cell repeatedly, a sample is taken from each of the 3 cells in sequence. This means we are still sampling every 60 seconds just from different cells and that a sample is taken from each cell every three minutes. This approach enables us to conduct multiple experiments at the same time while still collecting the data we need, thus optimizing our time.
It's important to note that this is a manual system. It requires an operator's presence at the beginning and end to ensure the chemical is added at the correct time. While it's an excellent fit for customers that require fewer tests, it does have certain limitations in terms of automation.
Tell us about your Permeation Challenges
We understand that navigating the intricacies of permeation systems might seem challenging. That's why we're here, ready to lend our expertise. Whether you're aiming to optimize your current processes or considering an upgrade, we invite you to reach out to us. Our combined knowledge and experience can help you make your permeation testing more efficient, accurate, and tailored to your needs.
Even if your current setup seems to be working just fine, there's always room for improvement, right? Let's join forces and take your permeation testing operations to the next level.
Automated Challenge chemical introduction
a step towards efficiency!
Let's now take a look at the difference adding an automatic challenge chemical introduction can make to a system. It's a brilliant piece of modern engineering that makes that opens up a much wider range of possibilities for automation.
Our automated challenge chemical introduction system, is configured much like its manual sibling. But with the addition of a dedicated reservoir perched above each cell, these are filled with challenge chemicals and have an electronic control module that takes charge of introducing the sample to the cell at the correct time. When paired with our state-of-the-art software, and you get a system that takes automation to a whole new level.
So what does this mean for you the user? It means you can run multiple experiments without being tethered to your equipment. You are able to set up your experiments and the system can continue to run overnight long after you've clocked out for the day. This convenience maximizes your resources and boosts your testing throughput.
Let's delve into an example. Say we have a material and challenge chemical that are expected to break through quickly. We will set up 3 cells with the same material and challenge chemical. The experiments will be configured in the software, then once the system is ready to run, and it has been told to start the challenge chemical will automatically be introduced into the first cell. The system will then begin analysing that cell, capturing a sample every 60 seconds. Once the end conditions of the experiment are met the system will end the experiment. The system will then run a series of checks on the gas line, once it is verified as clean it will move on to the next experiment. This essential step helps prevent any potential cross-contamination. The system will then automatically introduce the challenge chemical into the second cell and begin the testing process and so on.
What truly sets automated challenge chemical introduction systems apart is their flexibility. These systems are able to transition from one test to the next based on pre-determined end conditions. You can configure the system with different materials and challenge chemicals with different required sample testing frequencies and GC Methods the system will handle everything switching between them
Feel free to reach out and we'll be glad to dive deeper into this exciting feature!
For those who find themselves in high-volume testing scenarios, the automated challenge chemical systems offer an impressive expansion capacity. You can increase your setup with additional blocks of 6 cells, accommodating up to 18 cells in total. This configuration empowers you to really take advantage of the automation and run individual or multiple experiments concurrently, using an array of challenge chemicals and methods.
So, if you're feeling that there could be a better, more efficient way to manage your permeation testing, please get in touch. We'd love to chat about how we can help transform your testing processes.
choosing the right system for you!
Our exploration of manual and automated challenge chemical introduction systems has taken through some examples of how the systems operate and the potential benefits automated introduction brings. But remember, what we've discussed today is just a glimpse into the vast array of permeation systems. Each has its unique strengths, tailored to serve different operational needs.
Here's where things get exciting - if you're starting to envision how these systems could revolutionize your own testing procedures, we can help make that a reality. Here at Ellutia, we believe in creating solutions that are just as unique as your challenges. We offer a free, no-commitment consultation to dive into your specific needs and work together to find the best permeation system for you. Click the link below to schedule a call today.