Introduction & Problem Description
Sharing HPLC hardware components with independently running chromatographic lines (“time bases”) is not easily achieved with the majority of chromatographic software platforms. Not any of them allows a ‘bundling’ of multiple time bases.
The simultaneous utilization of different HPLC lines can significantly rise the throughput and the failure safety of chromatographic processes, and obviously reduces laboratory space and the number of required HPLC components.
A new software application, named “ChromCommander”™ allows the concomitant use of multiple independently running chromatographic systems (up to 10 time bases) to be served by only one HPLC auto-sampler, using the Thermo (former Dionex) Chromeleon™ chromatographic software platform.
A sample sequence is organized under this “ChromCommander”™ software surface and samples are assigned to dedicated Chromeleon™ timebases automatically.
Description of the Software
The novel software tool named ”ChromCommander” was developed with the Thermo (former Dionex) Chromeleon SDK™ software development tool. It allows the user in a separate master window to control a (variable number) of independent chromatographic lines concomitantly (up to 10 ‘timebases’ at the same time), served by only one single HPLC auto-sampler. The software applet is programmed in Microsoft Visual Basic but is running under the Chromeleon™ surface which always provides a good overview over all actively running Chromeleon™ times bases.
As a key feature this software application actively copies all sample information into the corresponding Chromeleon™ time bases, so all sample processing can either be done via the ChromCommander.or inside Chromeleon™ in the corresponding sequence. The collection of data takes place at the level of the individual Chromeleon™ time base, but for integration purposes analytical results can also be opened directly from the “ChromCommander”. Nevertheless it is always possible to perform all activities also in the individual Chromeleon™ time bases.
As the ChromCommander tool controls the workflow of all chromatographic lines and sends sample data to Chromeleon™ only when the corresponding timesbase is ready for the next sample, it is easy to redirect samples to parallel, but chromatographic identical, timebases. Based on this, the throughput is optimized automatically and fail save procedures redirect samples when one chromatographic line goes offline fault related , e.g. because of leak detection or overpressure. Furthermore, by this way samples can be analyzed by chromatographic lines utilizing complementary separation techniques.
Practical features of the ‘ChromCommander’ software
(many not available in the standard Chromeleon™ software)
- Freely moving samples up and down in the sample table, which represents the injection priority of samples
- Defining and changing the order of injections into the different HPLC lines
- Freely defining sample positions in the sample injector (automatically routed to the correct designated Chromeleon™ Sequence)
- Activation and deactivation of individual samples, waiting for injection
- Centrally controlling all batches (via Stop/(re)Start Batch) of all chromatographic lines. The program automatically synchronizes the autosampler
- Deleting and inserting samples into the sample table (while running the sequence)
- Re-injecting samples (multiple times), also into different chromatographic lines, which enables the possibility to analyze a sample with complementary separation techniques
- Indication of the current status of each sample in the injection and chromatography process
- Allowing the input of comments and other sample information (which will be automatically copied into the Chromeleon Sequence of the used time bases)
- Opening samples from the corresponding Chromeleon™ sequences
- The analysis time of the whole batch is automatically minimized by an optimization algorithm
Hardware Requirements and offers
The “ChromCommander”™ software can control any HPLC hardware (provided certain signal input & output features), as long as it is configured in the Standard Thermo (former Dionex) Chromeleon™ software (Version 6.8).
To successfully run N chromatographic time bases (HPLC-systems) in parallel under “ChromCommander” , additionally (N-1) six-port switching (motor) valves have to be integrated into the HPLC system.
We offer fully integrated Hardware solutions for this purpose which can either be controlled via Chromeleon™ or directly with the ChromCommander software.
The work-flow, failure safety procedures and throughput optimization can be adapted individually upon request.
Integration of other HPLC platforms (e.g. Analyst™ of ABSciex) into ChromCommander is under development.
Prices for Software- and Hardware integration upon request.