Monday 11 April 2011

New spectrophotometer to revolutionise water analysis

Hach Lange has launched a major new spectrophotometer, the DR 3900, that Marketing Manager Sarah Blayds says "is light years ahead of anything else in the market."

The DR 3900 employs the latest RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to ensure that an accurate, reliable, traceable record is created for every sample. However, as Sarah Blayds explains: "Improved traceability is not the only benefit of the technology; users are now able to define their own 'set points' for specific sampling locations, so that any results falling outside of these points will be flagged immediately. This facility will be of great benefit to staff such as application scientists who may wish to be alerted to specific conditions such as deviation from normal C:N:P ratios."

How it works
In order to establish a fully traceable system, users will undertake the following procedure:
1. Place RFID tags in monitoring locations
2. Provide sampling staff with personal RFID keyring fobs
3. Utilise a portable, pocket-sized RFID Locator to assign location and sampler ID data to the sample bottle RFID label
4. Utilise cuvettes with new 2D Barcode

The DR3900 will then read sample RFIDs and assign traceability data to the analytical result – date, time, sampler, location and test method.
It will also read the sample barcode to determine the batch number and expiry date, and this data will also be assigned to the analytical result.

Eliminating potential errors
Small changes are sometimes made to analytical methods and these represent an opportunity for test errors to occur. However, the introduction of the advanced Barcode 2 and RFID can prevent such errors because the DR3900 will issue a warning if a test requires an update. By simply holding the cuvette box RFID label in front of the instrument, the user is then able to update the test methodology in the spectrophotometer. The new barcodes also contribute to accuracy by alerting the user if reagents have expired.

Automatic calibration of online instruments
A further benefit of the DR3900 is made possible when the device is networked via Ethernet to facilitate the automatic calibration of Hach Lange online process monitoring instruments. First, a 'job' is entered on the SC controller of the process instruments and a manual sample is taken. The job (process measurement value, time etc) is sent to the DR 3900 in the laboratory and the sample is analysed using a cuvette test. The result is then compared with the process analyser and the calibration of the process probe is adjusted accordingly (when necessary).

Summarising the advantages of the new spectrophotometer, Sarah Blayds says "When we introduced pre-filled cuvettes, we dramatically reduced the potential for error in the preparation of reagents. The addition of barcodes then helped to reduce error further by making it almost impossible to conduct a test with an incorrect program. However, the addition of RFID technology has effectively closed the loop on traceability and the elimination of error; HACH LANGE customers will now have complete visibility of every aspect of the analytical process."

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