Obtaining quality results with high throughput in your LC-MS operations is a priority at all laboratories. Even if the equipment is robust and reliable, when system failures occur, they can be very frustrating, time consuming and expensive. Having good preventative maintenance on your systems can prevent many common problems, reducing the difficulty and overall time spent dealing with problems that may occur. There are many other steps that help ensure your equipment works well and has a prolonged life, so we have prepared a special Dos and Don’ts list to help guide you:
- Keep good records! Either have a standardised benchmarking method or include system suitability as part of routine analysis and generate reference data when the instrument is working.
- Have staff trained for troubleshooting any problems that may occur.
- Be aware of possible contaminants so use LC-MS grade solvents and modifiers and filter solvents online.
- Have regular preventative maintenance on all equipment.
- Record each batch analysis keeping track of system suitability responses and carryover, mobile phase lot numbers, column pressure, MS vacuum pressure etc. These records can be key indicators of forthcoming problems and/or can save time in troubleshooting through traceability e.g. incorrectly prepared solvents.
- Be aware of the pH of samples and the material used in columns – it is essential that your mobile phase contains components that can control the pH.
- Avoid microbial growth on parts by regularly changing aqueous mobile phases or by using Amber solvent bottles.
- Good sample clean-up will enhance the life of the column and Autosampler parts.
- Do not miss any preventative maintenance checks.
- Avoid venting mass spectrometers regularly for cleaning by paying mind to rigorous sample clean-up and or using a switching valve to reduce front end contamination by switching unretained components of the sample to waste. Venting regularly can increase the wear and tear on expensive components, such as the turbo pump.
Most importantly, have a reliable service provider for support, preventative maintenance, and part exchanges by your side.
For more information please contact us.