Continuous Flow Analysis & Discrete Analyzers

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E-Separation Solutions

E-Separation Solutions-07-13-2010, Volume 0, Issue 0

In continuous flow analysis (CFA), a sample is injected into a flowing carrier solution passing rapidly through small-bore tubing.

In continuous flow analysis (CFA), a sample is injected into a flowing carrier solution passing rapidly through small-bore tubing. The sample is mixed with a reagent, which reacts with the sample to develop a color and determine the sample concentration. The use of carefully controlled flow conditions ensures that the color development reaction is reproducible, so that the color measurement need not wait until the reaction has gone to completion.

CFA & Discrete Analyzer Market by Industry.

There are several technologies of CFA such as segmented flow analysis (SFA), which uses turbulent flow conditions that allow for complete sample dispersion. Other technologies include flow injected analysis (FIA) and sequential injection analysis, which uses laminar flow existing in the narrow-bore tubing to mix with the reagent to eliminate the need for air bubble partitioning.


Contrast to CFA, discrete analyzers keep sample separate throughout the testing process, dispensing precise amounts when required. Rotating individual cuvettes through the instrument instead of releasing the sample in a continuous stream cuts down on reagent waste and can produce hundreds of results per h.

CFA and discrete analyzers are used in environmental applications for measuring analytes like ammonia, chloride, nitrite, and phosphate, etc. The systems are also used in food and beverage, chemical testing, and pharmaceutical laboratories. Although CFA is a well-established technique for industrial applications, the prospect of cutting testing and consumable costs, and the ease of operation have prompted many laboratories to transfer methods from CFA to discrete analyzers.

Currently, the US and Europe account for about nearly three quarters of the worldwide market for CFA & discrete analyzers mainly because of regulatory mandates from the environmental sector. Although the Latin America and Asia Pacific markets are comparatively smaller for CFA & discrete analyzers, these regions continue to expand rapidly and offer solid growth opportunities. Environmental applications are estimated to account for nearly a third of the overall demand driven by wastewater and drinking water analysis. Agriculture/food and beverage is also a significant market with more than one-forth of the market share.

The foregoing data was extracted and adapted from SDi’s Global Assessment Report, 10.5 Edition. For more information, contact Glenn Cudiamat, VP of Research Services, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, tel. (310) 641-4982, fax (310) 641-8851,