850 Professional IC System

Metrohm, Ltd., a Swiss based company, recently introduced a new Ion Chromatography (IC) System – ProfIC.
Metrohm claims it as “the first professional IC system with intelligent system components:

Wow… When I got to this part about intelligence in iColumns I burst into laugher. Is this a joke? Are they trying advertise this IC to teenagers or scientists? I can just picture some PR/Marketing guy from Metrohm trying to come up with a new name:

“Hmm, what’s the most popular and trendy name these days? Aha! Anything that has “i” in the front like iPod, iPhone and etc, so why don’t we name our first “intelligent” IC column – iColumn! ”

Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like a great system and I would trade it in a second for my old and dying Lachat IC that we use for water analysis.

The system has three major components:

  1. Module – 850 Professional IC
  2. Autosample – 858 Professional Sample Processor
  3. Software – MagIC Net

850 Module

The 850 Professional IC is compact and modular:

  • iPump (yes, another “i”) – contains computer chip that enables it to communicate with iColumn regarding the optimum pressure, reports its own serial number and monitors correct functioning and service intervals via software. The pump has flow rates 0.001 to 20 mL/min, capable of nano, standard and preparative scale with various gradients.
  • iColumn – apparently is capable of determining the eluent it operates optimally as well as the pressure and records the data. It is automatically recognized by the software as soon as you install it.
  • Metrohm Suppression Module – comes with 10 year warranty.
  • iDetector – an intelligent conductivity detector with digital signal processing, outstanding temperature stability, and works for both electronic and chemical suppression.

These intelligent hardware components are monitored through the MagIC Net software that observes the entire system and ensures that the control cards for calibration and samples are adhered to and documented in an FDA compliant form. Should an important control parameter deviate from a predefined range than the analyst is informed by email or even SMS(!). Particular attention has been give to the long service interval of the ProfIC instruments and these can be observed by the MagIC Net software.

The ultrafiltration cell can be directly mounted onto the sample processor and equipped with a membrane filter of pore size 0.15µm as standard is suitable for samples containing a light to medium particle load. As the sample is delivered continuously at a high flow rate this alleviates the formation of filter cake on the membrane and increases the working lifetime.