Process Analysis Technology
Why PAT Must Come Out of the Silo
When will mini-formats arrive?
Perhaps miniaturization is an approach to support the PAT systems rightly. Because in the field, PAT is frequently installed in the analysis agency, and this requires not only infrastructure but also manpower for maintenance capacities, if e.g., the sample extractors pack up.
Especially in mass spectrometry, sample feeding rapidly assumes proportions of an Achilles Heel. Even measurement delays render the implementation of an adaptive process regulation difficult. All these are reasons for which the Krohne measurement technology specialist used mass spectrometry for his latest research project to subject it to a shrinkage.
“The miniaturization of sensors enables the implementation of complex analysis field devices for online or at-line application”, says Winfred Kuipers of Krohne Messtechnik in Vienna. Sample extraction is still a problem, but with Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Krohne has a rich pool of experience which one is now using to marry MEMS chips with sensor technology.
The proof-of-concept has already worked, and the team around Kuipers has succeeded in reducing the size of the total system to a 19" casing, wherein MS itself is half the size of a one-cent coin. The long-term objective is to achieve the size of a shoe box, says Kuipers.