New HPLC Systems and Related Products Introduced in 2019–2020: A Brief Review

April 1, 2020

LCGC Europe

This instalment describes newly introduced high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry (MS), chromatography data systems (CDS), and related products at Pittcon 2020 and the year prior, and summarizes significant features and user benefits.

This instalment describes newly introduced high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), mass spectrometry (MS), chromatography data systems (CDS), and related products at Pittcon 2020 and the year prior, and summarizes significant features and user benefits.

The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon) is one of the world’s largest conferences on laboratory science. The 71st Pittcon was held at McCormick Place in Chicago, USA, from 29 February to 5 March 2020, a week before the semi-shutdowns of Europe and North America from the spreading Covid-19. Previous Pittcons in Chicago were in 2014 and 2017-in rotation every three years as the most frequent venue for Pittcon. Chicago is an industrial, agricultural, financial, transportation, and communication centre, as well as the 3rd largest city in the US. The city has 2.7 million residents, and the Greater Chicago area boasts a population of 9.5 million. Chicago is home to 69 of the 1000 most prominent companies in the US, which include Boeing, Abbott Laboratories, Caterpillar, and Kraft Foods. Nevertheless, one potential issue for this location is the unpredictable weather of this midwestern city near the Great Lakes in early March. We were lucky this year with moderate temperatures and no precipitation, though the meeting attendance was reduced due to travel bans.

The technical programme remained strong this year with 200 plus technical sessions, plenary lectures, invited, contributed, or award symposia, workshops, posters, networking sessions, and approximately 90 short courses. The 3-day exposition, however, was visibly smaller, with the number of exhibitors from the United States dropping from 630+ in prior years to about 400. The number of international exhibitors was also dramatically reduced due to the travel bans from China and many European countries (1).

 

New High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Mass Spectrometry (MS), and Chromatography Data Systems (CDS) Product Introductions in 2019–2020

While introductions of new UHPLC (ultrahigh-pressure liquid chromatography) systems appear to be slowing down (1,2), manufacturers are turning their attention to high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system extensions, chromatography data systems (CDS), and mass spectrometers (MS) for LC–MS or direct liquid and solid sampling.

Table 1 lists new product introductions ordered alphabetically by the vendor at Pittcon 2020 or in the prior year, followed by descriptions and commentaries of each product, categorized as systems, modules, CDS, MS, software, or accessories.

 

HPLC/UHPLC Systems and Line Extensions

New UHPLC systems introductions have slowed as manufacturers appeared to focus more on HPLC line extensions and customized systems for specific applications (1).

Agilent 1290 Infinity II Preparative Open-Bed Sampler/Collector: Agilent offers a new extension to InfinityLab Purification Solutions to allow analytical‑scale compound isolation through preparative-scale purification from a few milligrams to multiple grams of material. This instrument combines analytical and preparative tasks in one instrument. It has the unique capability to sample from any position of the fraction collector and allow purification and fraction reanalysis to be combined and homogenized before reinjections.

Knauer Automated Quality Control of LC Columns: Knauer introduced a dedicated HPLC system capable of generating test certificates automatically for HPLC and FPLC (fast protein LC) columns at a column manufacturing facility.

Shimadzu Nexera Series LC-40: Shimadzu Nexera Series LC-40 employs concepts of AI and IoT (artificial intelligence and internet of things) to incorporate innovative features such as auto-start, auto‑purge, auto‑shutdown, flow pilot, mobile phase/maintenance monitoring, multiplexing with dual injectors, and remote user control and service diagnostics. The ultra‑compact system consists of these modules: system controller SCL-40, CBM‑40; absorbance detector SPD-40/SPD-40V and photodiode detector SPD-M40; solvent delivery unit LC-40 series (XS, XR, or X3, with pressure rating of 80, 105, and 130 MPa, respectively); autosampler SIL-40 series/plate changer; column oven CTO-40 series.

Shimadzu Anion Suppressor Ion Chromatograph (IC): Shimadzu’s entry into the ion chromatography market is a compact and low-dispersion 3000‑psi PEEK IC designed for quantitative analysis of anions. It is controlled by the LabSolutions CDS with auto-shutdown, data processing, and report generation.

Thermo Scientific Vanquish Core HPLC System: Thermo Scientific introduced the new 700‑bar HPLC system to complement its family of Vanquish HPLCs (Flex, Duo, and Horizon with pressure ratings ranging from 1000 to 1500 bar). The Vanquish Core HPLC system targets routine analysis and quality control laboratories with a selection of quaternary, binary, dual‑gradient, or isocratic pumps paired with a full line of detectors including UV–vis, diode array, fluorescence, charged aerosol, and MS detectors. The Vanquish Core HPLC system integrates SmartInject with additional intelligent features such as a fully automated solvent monitor and integrated automatic system health checks. Transitioning to this system from other HPLC systems is made simple with customizable injection programs, a fully tunable gradient delay volume, and enhanced method translation/transfer tools.

Thermo Scientific Vanquish

UHPLC Online 2D-LC: This customizable 2D-LC system supports two independent workflows and several standardized 2D‑LC configurations. It can also function as two independent HPLC systems without manual replumbing.

Thermo Scientific Automated

Peptide Mapping: Thermo Scientific introduced an automated peptide mapping system capable of performing online digestion of a protein sample with reproducibility of ~3%.

Young In Chromass ChroZen UHPLC System: Young In Chromass (YL Instruments from Korea) introduced a slimline ChroZen UHPLC system with a binary pump (18,800 psi), equipped with UV–vis or photodiode array detector (2.4 µL flow cell), autosampler (injection volumes up to 10 µL), and column oven (4–90 °C, which accommodates up to three 15‑cm columns). It can be controlled by Clarity’s DataApex CDS.

HPLC Modules

Antec Scientific Decade Elite Electrochemical Detector (ECD): Antec Scientific introduced an ECD compatible with UHPLC and micro‑LC for the selective and sensitive detection of neurotransmitters, (poly)phenols, carbohydrates, and many pharmaceutical compounds. It is capable of a wide linear dynamic range of six orders of magnitude.

ARC (Activated Research Company) Solvere Carbon Selective Detector: The Solvere carbon selective detector is a universal detector using a flame ionization detector that converts compounds with carbon atoms to methane for HPLC and UHPLC applications. It is capable of a linear dynamic range of 5 orders of magnitude from 10 ppm to 100% and allows an absolute calibration using a reference standard such as sucrose. The detector is compatible with most organic or volatile buffer mobile phases at flow rates of 0.3–0.5 mL/min. It is applicable to proteins, polymers, sugars, and other nonvolatile carbon-containing analytes.

Pickering Laboratories ONYX PCX: Pickering Laboratories introduced a new optimized postcolumn derivatization system with pulseless dual-syringe reagent pumps for targeted analysis of amino acids, glyphosate, carbamates, toxins, antibiotics, and cannabinoids.

Wyatt DAWN, miniDAWN, and microDAWN Multi-Angle Light Scattering Detectors (MALS): Wyatt Technology introduced a new generation of MALS detectors designed with updated optical, electrical, and mechanical components and enhanced interfacing for ease-of-use.

DAWN is the premier size-exclusion-MALS detector for absolute molecular mass and size measurement of 200 Da to 1 GDa with 18 angle measurements and temperature control. This detector is indispensable for use with gel permeation (GPC) and size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) to obtain reliable molecular mass distributions and information on molecular conformation, branching ratio, fragments, and aggregates.

miniDAWN and microDAWN have a 200 Da to 10 MDa range with three angles of measurements that operate at ambient only. microDAWN is equipped with a microflow cell and is compatible with most UHPLC systems and an optional microOptilab refractive index detector. It uses an ultra-stable laser with a sensitivity performance of 1.0 µg/mL of bovine serum albumin or 50 ng/mL 100 kDa polystyrene.

Mass Spectrometers

The marketing landscape for mass spectrometers has been described elsewhere (1). There is no slowing down of new MS introductions this year as manufacturers continued to upgrade their product offerings in high-resolution, hybrid, and tribrid MS-such as time-of-flight (TOF), quadrupole-TOF (QTOF), and orbital trap. Also, there are more offerings in compact MS with unit resolution such as single-quadrupole (SQ), triple-quadrupole (TQ), and ion-mobility MS (IMS) (1,3). There are also newer startup companies focusing on unique application systems such as analyzers for fermentation media or solid sampling.

908 Devices Rebel: The Rebel is an integrated online MS analyzer for fresh and spent media analysis in the biopharmaceutical industry. It is capable of a 7-min assay of 32 analytes (amino acids, bioamines, vitamins, dipeptides) with a 10 µL sample volume. The system is good manufacturing practices (GMP) compliant and can include automated sample preparation steps such as filtration and dilution.

Agilent InfinityLab LC–MSD iQ: One of three new MS systems introduced by Agilent Technologies in 2019–2020, the iQ is a compact single-quadrupole mass selective detector (MSD) for HPLC with auto data acquisition/reporting in auto acquire mode, which automatically establishes optimal MS parameters with automatic tuning. The instrument can also help with maintenance tasks by its ability to track instrument health. It can be controlled by OpenLab CDS or a simpler open-access software. It is designed for small molecule drug development and quality control, food/materials laboratories, academic, chemical, or food industries. The iQ has a mass range of 2 to 1450 m/z, ~1 pg sensitivity, a maximum scan speed of 10,400 Da/s, unit resolution, and mass accuracy of 0.13 Da.

Agilent 6495C TQ LC/MS: The 6495C triple quadrupole (TQ) is a third‑generation design of Agilent’s most sensitive TQ‑MS with easy maintenance to reduce downtime. The system is ideally suited for peptide quantitation as well as applications that require part‑per‑trillion sensitivity. It has a mass range to 3000 m/z allowing flexibility to handle any MRM transition.

Agilent 6546 LC/QTOF: This QTOF-MS has an accelerated workflow with high mass resolution and wide dynamic range to deliver high-quality data for quick and simplified data review. With a mass resolution over 60,000 (for high masses) and over 30,000 (for low masses), sub-ppm mass accuracy, and isotope fidelity within 5%, it can provide quick answers for complex samples in metabolomics research, food safety, food authenticity, and environmental screening.

EXUM Instruments Massbox: EXUM introduced the new Massbox, which couples a TOF-MS with a mass range of 1000 to 14,000 with an innovative laser ablation ionization system for solid sampling.

Shimadzu LCMS-9030 QTOF: Shimadzu introduced a high‑resolution QTOF-MS with a resolution up to 30,000 and a mass accuracy ~1 ppm. It has an internal 3-m flight path for better thermal stability and can maintain a mass accuracy of 1 ppm with calibration every 48 h. It is controlled by LabSolutions CDS and supports many ionization modes, including a dual source.

Shimadzu MALDImini-1 Digital Ion Trap (DIT) MS: The MALDImini-1 is a compact bench-top ion trap MS that allows the user to check MS results right next to the sample preparation area. The system’s digital ion trap uses rectangular wave radio frequency to enable ion trapping up to 70,000 Da. Furthermore, the MS/MS and MS3 functionality of the DIT allows researchers to perform comprehensive structural analysis.

Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Exploris 480: The soundness of data is assured with high‑resolution accurate-mass (HRAM) selectivity (resolution up to 480,000), high scan speed (up to 40 Hz), and best-in-class mass spectral quality, all within a compact footprint. The standard mass range for the instrument is m/z 40–6000 and up to m/z 8000 with the BioPharma option.

Thermo Scientific Orbitrap Eclipse Tribrid: This newest Orbitrap Tribrid MS platform includes advanced ion management technology (AIM+) with the new QR5 segmented quadrupole mass filter, real‑time search, enhanced vacuum technology, optional proton transfer charge reduction (PTCR), and optional high mass range MSn (HMRn) mode. Collectively, these features make this instrument uniquely suited for accurate and high-throughput full‑proteome quantitation, characterization of complex mixtures of protein or small‑molecule drugs, and deciphering higher‑order protein structures.

Sciex Triple TOF 6600+ System: This TQTOF system supports low-flow applications with ultra‑fast scanning acquisition and high-resolution MS data.

Waters Select Series Cyclic Ion Mobility Separation (IMS): This IMS combines innovative design with a circular 98-cm flight path capable of multiple recycling, and a TOF-MS that supports resolution >100,000 for lipids, oligosaccharides, and other isobaric compounds.

Waters SYNAPT XS: The SYNAPT XS is an extended platform of the SYNAPT line of MS, which a tribrid (Q-IMS‑TOF‑MS) with an extended pathlength, improved sensitivity, and flexibility in supporting multiple ion sources and acquisition modes for solving challenging analytical problems.

Chromatography Data System (CDS) and Software Products

The marketing landscape of the chromatography data system (CDS) has been described in a white paper published in LCGC North America’s December issue of 2019 (4). The four leading chromatography manufacturers dominate the global CDS market with their current CDS product offerings of workstations and client‑server systems (Waters Empower 3 feature release 5, Thermo Fisher Scientific Chromeleon 7.3, Agilent OpenLab versions 2.4, and Shimadzu LabSolutions version 5.3).

ACD/Method Selection Suite: The new version for HPLC method development offers improvements such as the generation of robust methods in silico and the capability of predicting the impact of method changes. The software is based on principles of quality by design (QbD) with multivariate analysis, and can utilize databases of archived physicochemical properties.

Agilent InfinityLab LC Companion: This software platform is a mobile LC user interface that allows for remote control, monitoring, signal plotting, and diagnostics of Agilent 1260 and 1290 Infinity II LC systems. It resides on any mobile device (tablet or smartphone) using a compatible web browser.

Clarity DataApex 8.2 CDS: Clarity introduced a new version of its web-based and 21 CFR Part 11 compliant CDS used by many instrument manufacturers. The CDS offers an improved user‑interface with many new instrument control drivers (up to 600), MS extension, compound search, and options for good laboratory practices (GLP) environment. It provides control and data handling for Advion MS and speciation analysis by PerkinElmer NexION ICP-MS (inductively coupled plasma).

S-Matrix Fusion QbD 9.9.0: S-Matrix introduced a new version of its popular HPLC method development software based on the principles of QbD and design of experiments (DoE) as well as new features of PeakTracker (with Waters QDa SQ-MS), an enhanced resolution response map (versus overlaid graph) for method robustness evaluation, and automation support for forced degradation studies.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Chromeleon 7.3 CDS: Thermo Scientific introduced Chromeleon 7.3 CDS, which offers enhanced features for both the laboratory (streamlined user interface with up to 33% higher performance, system health diagnostics for the new Vanquish Core HPLC, superior auditing/review/query/support, and improved e-workflow procedures) and the information technology (IT) department (scalable enterprise solutions for global and in-cloud deployment with improved data security and stability) (4).

Other Accessories

Cornerstone Scientific SOLVFil Disposable Filter Degassers: A disposable, polypropylene device with 90-mm membranes for filtering HPLC mobile phases directly into solvent reservoirs.

IDEX Film Degasser: IDEX introduced a flat film Teflon AF-based membrane online degasser for removal of dissolved air from HPLC mobile phases. It is adaptable to any HPLC system up to 10 mL/min and has either 2 or 4 channels.

ELGA LabWater PURELAB Quest: ELGA LabWater introduced PURELAB Quest, a diverse water purification unit that can produce Type I (HPLC), II (reagent preparation), or III (rinsing) water with a small footprint and low life cycle cost.

Optimized Technologies EXP2 All‑in-One TI-LOK: The EXP2 is a hand-tight UHPLC fitting with an integral ferrule capable of connections up to 18,000 psi. It has a slim-fit nut and a wing nut for hand-tightening.

Summary and Commentaries

Pittcon 2020 will be remembered as the chemistry conference “squeezed” by the devastating coronavirus Covid-19. Less than a week later, the World Health Organization declared the spreading virus a global pandemic, and President Trump announced a state of national emergency for the United States. The country was in a semi‑shutdown with travel bans, school closings, and indefinite cancellation of all major public gatherings. The American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in Philadelphia for late March was cancelled, and the Analytica Conference in Munich was postponed from March to October. Still, Pittcon did suffer significantly from many cancellations of exhibitors and conferees, resulting in lower attendance and fewer exhibitors.

One disturbing trend unrelated to the coronavirus was the skipping of Pittcon this year by two major manufacturers (Waters and Thermo Fisher Scientific). While Pittcon as a premier event for new product introductions has been diminishing in recent years from competing conferences and other communication channels, it remains the largest general analytical chemistry conference in North America with global draws for buyers and sellers alike. It is my opinion that skipping Pittcon is a drastic and unpopular move in the eyes of many conferees, who wish to compare new products on the exhibition floor. The opportunities to meet with friends and colleagues, learn new technologies, and see new instrumentation on the exhibition floor are what inspire many analytical chemists to come back to Pittcon year after year.

This instalment summarizes new HPLC and MS product introductions at Pittcon 2020 and in the prior year and describes the pertinent features of these products. Personally, this is my 19th consecutive year of giving Pittcon HPLC short courses, which had a record attendance of 44 this year. My busy schedule included attending symposia, networking sessions, and the exhibition, interspersed with many meetings and social events, such as the board/dinner meetings of LCGC and Chinese American Chromatography Association (CACA), the Separation Community Mixer of the Chrom Forum of Delaware Valley, and the Pittcon Party at the Museum of Science and Technology.

In this unusual time of severe disruptions of conferences and travels, we are all hopeful that the country survives the calamity and return to some normalcy for Pittcon 2021 in New Orleans.

Acknowledgements

The author thanks the marketing staff of all manufacturers who provided timely responses to the LCGC questionnaires. The author is grateful for M. Farooq Wahah of U. Texas Arlington and Adrijana Torbovska of Farmahem DOOEL, Mengling Wong of Genentech, He Meng of Sanofi, and Michael Heidorn, Joel Stradtner, and Susanne Fabel of Thermo Fisher Scientific for providing useful editorial suggestions and comments. The content of this article stemmed from information and opinions gathered from the open literature, websites, and personal networking and observations at Pittcon 2020 and the year prior, and bears no relationship to those from LCGC, Pittcon, or any other organizations.

References

  1. M.W. Dong, LCGC Europe32(4), 196–203 (2019).
  2. C.H. Arnaud, Chem. & Eng. News94(24), 29–35 (2016).
  3. M.W. Dong, HPLC and UHPLC for Practicing Scientists (Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, 2nd Ed., 2019).
  4. R. Mazzarese, S.M. Bird, P.J. Zipfell, and M.W. Dong, LCGC North Am.37(12), 852–866 (2019).

Michael W. Dong is a principal of MWD Consulting, which provides training and consulting services in HPLC and UHPLC, method improvements, pharmaceutical analysis, and drug quality. He was formerly a Senior Scientist at Genentech, Research Fellow at Purdue Pharma, and Senior Staff Scientist at Applied Biosystems/PerkinElmer. He holds a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from City University of New York, USA. He has more than 130 publications and a best-selling book in chromatography. He is an editorial advisory board member of LCGC North America and the Chinese American Chromatography Association. Direct correspondence to: LCGCedit@mmhgroup.com