Chromatography Data Systems

A chromatography data system (CDS) is a software program that automates instrument control, data acquisition, data processing, data filtering, data storage and database management for HPLC, LPLC, IC, GC, SFC and other chromatography instrumentation. CDS allows multi-instrument control and multi-user access for use in secure network environments. With this software, end-users can control menu management, form displays, validation, data entry, text editing, data pre-processing and the generation of reports.

There are two types of CDS architectures available in the market: the workstation (standalone) version and client/server (multi-user) version. A workstation architecture allows CDS software to be run on only one PC and usually can control up to five instruments. A client/server architecture offers multiuser capabilities, increased data storage and a database. This architecture usually involves a dedicated server networked with several PCs or terminals that serve as clients, and additional servers or PCs can be easily added to the network. CDS integration with a cloud-based system provides a better and faster solution for many enterprises.

The market for CDS reached over $400 million in 2018 with a projected low single-digit growth rate for 2019. This market includes standalone software, software packages and add-ons, and training and other technical support. The slow growth expected in the CDS market is partially the result of market maturity, as the software has become a part of the standard package for most initial systems. There is not much room to grow, as CDS technology itself has become customary and ubiquitous.

In recent years, CDS functionality has focused more on system automation and broad integration with other instruments or other lab data management software, such as LIMS and MS software. Some software packages also include informatics and data visualization features to provide a comprehensive results analysis in addition to controlling the chromatography instrument itself. Version upgrades and customized add-ons for specific applications also sustain the growth of the market. Since a CDS is needed to control almost all chromatography systems, typical customers for this software are the same as end-users in the overall chromatography market. In particular, pharmaceutical, chemical and academic labs are the top three end-user markets. The client/server CDS type is common in the pharmaceutical and industrial sectors due to a large number of users involved in R&D or QC, while the standalone version is largely used in academia and other smaller analytical labs.

Users generally employ the CDS that comes with their particular chromatography instruments. That is why top chromatography vendors such as Agilent Technologies Thermo Fisher Scientific and Waters also offer well-known CDS products. Waters leads the market with its Empower 3 software, which provides a complete data management system for HPLC, UHPLC,and GC, along with cloud-based integration. Agilent is competing with its OpenLab product line, while Thermo Fisher offers its popular Chromeleon 7 software. These software packages are usually compatible with both the respective company’s instruments and also other vendors’ products.

CDS at a Glance:

Leading Vendors

  • Waters
  • Agilent Technologies
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific

Largest Markets

  • Academia
  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals

Software Cost

  • $2,000–$30,000


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