Contacting a Service Technician First Can Save Money, Decrease Downtime and Increase Productivity.

Recently a client contacted us about needing another cadmium coil for nitrate analysis on their autoanalyzer. After checking their order history, we were puzzled to find that their cadmium coil was only a few months old. Digging deeper, we found that, oddly, the customer was slightly reluctant to share the details of why they needed a new cadmium coil.  After a few more questions, we discovered that their reduction efficiency was dropping off within one run so that the ICs were failing after only 20 or 30 samples – dropping below 80% reduction efficiency!

Cadmium coils have a much greater lifespan than what the client was experiencing, in fact the cadmium metal should function as long as it is present in the protective plastic covering.  If the coil still had firmness to it than most likely the cadmium should have still been able to reduce nitrate to nitrite. Intrigued, we started asking questions about their set up.  After discussing segmentation gas, pH of the buffer and surfactant and not seeing a smoking gun, we turned to their sample matrix.  The problem was related to their samples; the samples were coming in preserved, but had way too much acid. The acid was stripping the copper from the cadmium metal and causing the efficiency to go down much faster than normal.

We suggested they monitor the pH of their samples carefully and document any trends that they observed. They immediately reported that all of their samples were preserved with too much acid for the field.  As a solution, we suggested neutralizing each of the samples with a few drops of a strong base for a limited number of batches. Immediately, the reduction’s efficiency was stable throughout the entire run.

In this case of incorrectly blaming a cadmium coil as the cause of the problem when reduction efficiency was too low, we see the value and benefits of utilizing technical support right away to determine underlying issues before simply replacing costly components that would not resolve the problem.  Checking in with a service technician over the phone, via email, text or skype can often save time and money, solve your problem faster and get directly to the root of the issue without replacing costly consumables and adding extra hours or days of downtime. We deal with labs all over the world and have a lot of diverse experience – contact us and let us try and solve your problem before any other action and you may just be pleasantly surprised.