Fraser McLeod, Vice President of QA/QC for Waters Corporation, explains how Waters’s next-generation Alliance™ iS HPLC System will revolutionise productivity and efficiency for modern QC labs
Q: Waters Corporation has a rich history of supporting QC laboratories. Has the business observed any changes in the challenges faced by QC labs over the years?
A: Waters introduced its first commercial HPLC system 50 years ago, helping pharmaceutical QC laboratories to ensure tens of thousands of prescription drugs on the market are pure, safe, and work as expected.
At this time, many of the biggest challenges experienced by QC labs were based on the scientific capabilities of the separation technology, such as the kinds of columns that can help meet their needs. For modern QC labs, the story is slightly different.
In recent years, we closely collaborated with hundreds of QC managers and bench analysts to fully understand their challenges and find out specifically what they need today from a state-of-the-art HPLC system to help their labs perform at their best.
We learned that the challenges experienced most often are based on the relentless demands faced from both a scientific and business perspective to do more with less, manage high staff turnover, and deal with growing levels of sample complexity.
All these factors, and more, can increase the chance of errors, such as forgotten samples, incorrect solvent levels, incorrect tightening of system fittings, or not verifying correct system performance. These errors can have a significant impact on efficiency and productivity in the lab, and the associated costs incurred when investigating them.
We also heard a lot about the desire for improved usability and simplicity, so that managers can help analysts get up to speed quickly with new instruments, especially as they navigate from legacy methods and onto new technology.
At a time when challenges like these are mounting, we recognized that the need for simplicity in the QC lab has never been greater, to support their evolving scientific and business needs.
Q: How does the newest HPLC launch from Waters address these challenges in QC labs?
A: The Alliance iS HPLC System has been developed by Waters specifically for QC labs, with a suite of features and solutions designed to minimise errors and improve system usability.
The system prevents up to 40% of common errors* by performing pre-run verification of the correct column, vials, and plates, as well as solvent levels and expiration dates. Tool-free fittings prevent leaks, and clearly labelled and organised solvent lines and auto-recognition of Waters eConnect HPLC Columns prevent user errors when setting up the system for analysis.
We have also added several new hardware components designed to maximise reliability and ease of use. The intuitive touchscreen interface provides guided workflows, troubleshooting and maintenance, ensuring consistence and ease of operation. Quick and easy access to the Waters Help Center, directly from the instrument touchscreen, also makes it much easier to address errors in real time and minimise unscheduled downtime.