User Story - Ingevity
Name: William Mccullough
Job Title: Quality Assurance Manager
Company: Ingevity, South Carolina, USA
GC-FID analysis with Precision
Ingevity provides specialty chemicals, high-performance carbon materials and technologies that help customers solve complex problems. These products are used in a variety of demanding applications, such as asphalt paving, oil exploration and production, and automotive components that reduce gasoline vapour emissions. Quality Assurance Manager, William Mccullough and his team use GC -FID to support the manufacture of specialty chemicals derived from lignin, tall oil, and their by-products. Ingevity’s Quality lab hosts 5 Perkin Elmer GC’s and Peak’s Precision series of GC dedicated gas generators provide hydrogen gas and zero air to these units. In this user story William speaks about his analysis and discusses how converting from cylinder gas to Peak gas generators has streamlined his laboratory’s workflow as well as eliminated the potential hazards associated with compressed gas cylinders.
Typically what is the focus of your GC analysis - what sort of applications?
“Our Quality Control team utilizes the gas generators to supply a series of 5 Perkin Elmer GC’s with Flame Ionization Detectors (FID) to support the manufacture of specialty chemicals derived from lignin, tall oil, and their derivatives. The majority of the components are fatty acids, rosin acids, and derivatives of those components. The manufacturing facility operates around the clock so the Quality Control Laboratory must stand ready to support this effort 24-7-365. The gas generators operate in a heavily industrious environment, and any analytical and support equipment that is used in this environment must be able to stand up to this challenge.”
What Peak Scientific generators do you have in your laboratory and what GC instruments do they supply?
“Currently in use are the Precision Hydrogen (450cc) generator and the Precision Zero Air (3.5L) generator with the associated Precision Air Compressor. Since all of the GC’s are now converted to Hydrogen carrier gas, these units support the carrier gas, make-up gas, and FID detectors.”
What prompted you to choose a Peak generator and how long have you used them?
“The QC Lab has now been using the generators for about one year and could not be more satisfied with the decision! This was a bold move for our department which had historically relied upon the use of compressed gas cylinders. There were many factors that went into the decision, with the primary reasons being safety, supply, and savings. Traditionally the laboratory utilized Helium as the carrier gas, but when the supply of Helium with our vendor tightened a few years ago, it started the conversation to convert to hydrogen. Well, that conversation led to another which brought our team to the generator system. We chose Peak due to the superb customer service that was demonstrated during the exploratory process to learn more about the gas generator systems.”
What has been the key benefit of deploying Peak generators as opposed to your previous gas supply solution?
“There have been several key benefits, with one of the most obvious being safety. By using the gas generator system our team has eliminated the risk involved in the manoeuvring of compressed gas cylinders, and reduced other hazards such as pinch-points when handling valves. Handling gas cylinders can present ergonomic challenges, and because our cylinders were stored outside it often required working in foul weather conditions. A hazard analysis was conducted on the gas generator system prior to purchasing and due to the built in safety features it was concluded that the gas generator system was a far safer alternative to the compressed gas cylinders. A significant additional benefit has been in cost savings. We estimated that based on consumption practices and the cost of compressed gas cylinders, the units we purchased would pay for themselves in 1.5 years! Our department is now witnessing those savings! There is also an added benefit of efficiency by having a constant supply of gases on demand, and not having to ‘change out’ cylinders around peak test periods, or during long weekends.”
How would you describe your purchasing experience with Peak in terms of speed of response, ease of ordering, catering for your needs and timing of delivery?
“The experience was very professional and an overall positive experience. Our salesperson was responsive to our questions and patient with our required purchasing process. Along with a solid product, this was one of the major reasons why our company decided to go with Peak.”
Have you ever had a site visit from a Peak engineer? If so, could you describe your experience of this support?
“Our team has found that the support service has lived up to its promise. On the occasion that on-site support is required our team has found the engineers to be responsive to our needs and timelines, and very professional and knowledgeable to work with. They have offered useful guidance and instruction where needed.”
Would you recommend Peak Scientific generators to other laboratories - and if so, what would be your main reason for the recommendation?
“I would definitely recommend Peak Scientific generators to other laboratories, and have already done so. While this was a bold change in our mind set to venture away from the traditional and ‘reliable’ compressed gas cylinders, the decision to incorporate gas generators into our process has been one of the best purchases we’ve made in recent years. It spoke to our commitment to work safely in the workplace by eliminating and minimizing potential hazards with compressed gas cylinders. It also aided our laboratory in the form of cost savings, which could then be utilized to purchase other needed equipment.”
When William and his team made the decision to switch from traditional gas methods to laboratory gas generators it was not a decision they entered into lightly. Many factors went into the decision, such as; lab safety, supply, and cost savings, all of which supported the switchover. William has stated that based on consumption practices and the cost of compressed gas cylinders, the units they purchased would pay for themselves in one and a half years, which for any lab would be a huge cost advantage. There are many additional benefits to support switching over to a Peak gas generator such reduced downtime, consistent purity and convenience, all of which play a part in a productive lab environment.
When changing over from cylinders William and his team also switched carrier gas from helium to hydrogen. With reports stating that helium prices have increased steadily between 2013-2015, many labs have been looking to alternative gases to support their analysis and many, just like William, have made the switch from helium to hydrogen. Peak’s Precision range of laboratory gas generators have been designed specifically for GC analysis and Peak’s Precision hydrogen gas generators are recommended as a safe source of hydrogen that will ensure prolonged column life and the highest quality of analysis.
To learn more about Peak’s Precision range of laboratory gas generators please click here or to read GC Product Specialist Dr Ed Connor’s article titled: 7 Steps to changing carrier gas from helium to hydrogen please click here.