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Automating Sample Prep – The Questron Story

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Automating Sample Prep – The Questron Story

Automating Sample Prep – The Questron Story

We live in challenging times. Everyday, the tabloids, and other media channels are full of worrisome news of our changing environment, caused by humanity with its ever-tightening grasp on our planet. The net result is the ominous and uncertain future of our landscape and our environment. What can we, as corporate citizens, do to help?

We, at Questron (Automated Sample Preparation Specialist), are firm believers that a lot of us doing our little bit can change a lot. For the last 20 years, our little bit has been the quest to update the technological inequality between sample analysis and sample prep. With analysis instruments being supplied as bundles of wonderful capability, sample prep becomes the bad boy of inefficiency – a productivity bottleneck. In fact, many surveys of laboratory managers conducted over the last two decades consistently reveal the same thing. Some 60% of them feel sample prep as a very important step in the overall task of sample analysis, contributing to some 50% of analysis errors, and taking up 67% of the overall sample analysis task time. Compare that with analysis instruments being responsible for only 8% of errors and taking only 6% of the actual analysis time.

So, how do we close this gulf between sample prep and sample analysis? Clearly, sample prepping is labour intensive, accident prone, repetitive, and pollution causing. It does not take much effort to find an analytical lab across America or elsewhere to see that the front end of sample analysis consists of people pouring over dangerous chemical reagents, watching samples as they get digested to become aqueous solutions and resultant fumes fill their breathing spaces. Thereafter, these aqueous samples have to be diluted, transferred, filtered, mixed – all with the precision of detecting a grain of sugar in a swimming pool. To be honest, replacing human analysts who do these tasks is no easy feat. Acids and other corrosive reagents in the presence of high heat will turn most robots and electronics with high metal content dysfunctional in no time. And, what artificial intelligence available at this time has the judgment to make the tens of small observations and decisions that go into making a well digested and representative aqueous solution?  So, while automation is the means of taking people out of unpleasant and unsafe conditions, the needed technology required to have this automation, at the right price, is only starting to present itself now.

For the past 20 years, Questron has shown the tenacity, hard work, intelligence, and focus to face the challenges of automating sample prep tasks for analytical lab applications. Little by little, we sorted out the plethora of the obvious and not so obvious problems. Changing and improved technology helped. Today,

We are proud to state that we are Automated Sample Preparation specialists. Our products find home in most countries of the world as we keep making use of emerging scientific knowledge to make improved instruments. To see our current product list, please visit our website at Our challenges are a moving target and so are our products.

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