Maxxam Analytics recently presented a Kaizen award for productivity improvement to their High Resolution Mass Spectrometry Department at the Mississauga laboratory in Ontario. This award was presented in recognition of process improvements that the group made using an Rtx®-Dioxin2 column for multiple methods, which resulted in increased instrument capacity.
The Mississauga lab gets many requests for analyzing drinking water samples for 2,3,7,8-TCDD only using EPA Method 1613. They had been analyzing these short list samples on the same instrument used for full list PCDD/PCDF and PCB congeners; however, this limited the number of the longer list analyses that could be performed on that instrument. Maxxam also confirms the presence of 2,3,7,8-TCDF using a different column installed on another instrument. Since the Rtx®-Dioxin2 column provides isomer specificity for both 2,3,7,8-TCDD and 2,3,7,8-TCDF and has much greater temperature stability than cyano columns, chemists in the High Resolution Mass Spectrometry group explored using it for both the TCDD-only samples and the 2,3,7,8-TCDF confirmations.
By moving to an Rtx®-Dioxin2 column (60 m x 0.25 mm x 0.25 µm, cat.# 10758) they were able to optimize the EPA 1613 drinking water TCDD-only analysis and reduce the run time from 50 minutes to 30 minutes, saving 20 minutes per analysis! EPA Method 1613 requires a minimum run time of 25 minutes to meet method specifications for the recovery standard, so this was pretty ideal. While the analysis time for the TCDF confirmation analysis was not significantly reduced, run cycle time was decreased by taking advantage of the column’s 340 °C thermal stability. This resulted in lower estimated detection limits and less column bleed compared to the columns that the lab had previously used. In addition, the higher maximum programmable temperature also reduced the potential for carryover contamination between samples.
Since the lab was able to run both the TCDD-only and TCDF confirmation analyses on the Rtx®-Dioxin2 column, they were able to use the same instrument for both analyses which allowed more full-list dioxin and PCB samples to be analyzed on the other instrument. According to Owen Cosby of Maxxam Analytics, “Using the Rtx®-Dioxin2 column allowed us to combine EPA 1613 TCDD-only and TCDF confirmation analyses onto one column and one instrument. This resulted in multiple benefits—we shortened run times, reduced instrument downtime and column changes, and increased instrument capacity for our full list samples.”
The increased productivity and profitability realized by switching to the Rtx®-Dioxin2 column have benefited the entire company and are the basis for Maxxam Analytics’ recognition of the Mississauga lab High Resolution Mass Spectrometry group with a Kaizen award.
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