Show Stoppers: Best New Product Introductions

Numerous new products are introduced each year at Pittcon. However, Pittcon is not what it used to be for product introductions (see page 4). Thus, while IBO always has plenty of new products to choose from for its annual pick of the top product introductions at the show, Pittcon is not the first exhibition for many of these products. Increasingly, instrumentation is introduced at specialized shows to better target a particular set of end-users or when it is ready to ship, in order to get the product to market as soon as possible.

In this light, IBO has changed its criteria this year for selecting its top three Pittcon products. In the past, IBO selected products that were first introduced at Pittcon or that were introduced within recent months. This year, our criteria have been expanded and include any product that is new to Pittcon. As usual, IBO chose only from the new systems exhibited, not accessories or consumables, and judged the products on their technical achievements, innovation, packaging and commercial potential. The top three products encompass advances in technology, market response and ease of use, and they all have the potential to impact their respective markets and improve the end-user’s experience.

First Place

Waters showed its new Synapt High Definition Mass Spectrometer (HDMS) at Pittcon for the first time, although it was introduced at the ASMS meeting last summer (see IBO 6/15/06). The Synapt is a quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) MS to which Waters has attached its Triwave technology, which adds three traveling wave devices prior to the mass analyzers. These traveling wave devices trap and separate the ions based on ion mobility, which can differentiate ions that have the same mass-to-charge ratio by size and shape. This effectively adds another dimension of differentiation to the overall system. As opposed to many of the new instruments introduced each year that merely build upon previous models with new electronics, software and other incremental improvements, the Synapt’s incorporation of Triwave technology makes the Synapt not only a brand new system, but a system with an inherently different design. The Synapt began shipping this past December and is priced starting at $650,000.

Second Place

While the outside of Agilent’s new 7890A gas chromatograph (GC) may look much like its previous flagship GC system, the 6890, a host of major engineering innovations and enhancements on the inside combine to make for a major improvement. At the heart of the 7890A is a newly designed capillary flow device manufactured with a photolithographic technique to etch the microchannels. This all-new design results in an inert, low mass and low dead-volume device with fewer connections that are susceptible to leakage. The new design enables or significantly improves backflush, splitting and heart-cutting capabilities. The “QuickSwap” design allows the changing of a column in about 30 seconds without venting the MS. The net result is a system to which 6890 users can seamlessly switch and immediately get significant improvement in capabilities, cycle times and reliability. The 7890A began shipping this month and is priced starting at around $25,000, nearly the same price as the 6890 Series.

Third Place

Thermo Fisher Scientific is justifiably proud of the new K-Alpha, a true next-generation automated x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) instrument that mixes flexibility and user-friendliness. Specialists can use an expert mode to gain the full power of the instrument, but its automation and software allow inexperienced users to perform XPS analyses, which have been largely the province of expert users. The K-Alpha is strikingly compact and friendly, a far cry from similar instruments, which often appear as though they would be more at home in a mad scientist’s cave. Because XPS analyzes the very uppermost surface layers of a sample, it is of great use in investigating thin films, coatings and biological samples. XPS is also very valuable for surface chemistry, because it reveals oxidation state information. For depth-profiling studies, the K-Alpha is equipped with a high flux ion gun, which can reveal subsurface layers for analysis. The highly focused x-ray beam allows a lateral resolution of about 30 microns. The K-Alpha base price is $440,000, and the first four instruments are presently being installed.

Honorable Mentions:

• Bio-Rad Laboratories Profina protein purification system

• Bruker Optics ALPHA FT-IR

• Dionex Eluent Regeneration technology

• Metrohm 850 Professional IC

• Spectro Analytical ARCOS ICP

• Torion Technologies Guardion-7 GC/MS

< | >