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easyFILL - Sample Preparation Workflow

June 4, 2024

Sample preparation is a central part of elemental analysis and includes several manual and time consuming steps. Sample weighing, reagent addition, vessel handling, dilution, and cleaning areall processes that impact lab workflow and operator time.

Since its inception, Milestone has been actively addressing these challenges. Vessel handling has been dramatically reduced with the use of Single Reaction Chamber (SRC) microwave systems (ultraWAVE and ultraCLAVE). Vessel cleaning has become more efficient with acid steam cleaning technology (traceCLEAN) or can be even eliminated by using disposable glass vials in the SRC-based systems.

Reagent additionand dilution are other steps that involve operator time,in addition to risk of contamination and exposure to concentrated acid. The easyFILL Automated Dosing Station addresses these latter challenges using a single platform that ensures superior workflow for thelab and higher safety for the operator.

easyFILL is fully controlled by a touch screen terminal with customized software. For routine processes the operator simply recalls a stored method with the type and volume of reagents as well as the number of positions in use. Availability of the reagents in the bottles and the waste volume are tracked by the software, so that the operator knows when it is time to refresh a reagent bottle or empty the waste tank. Moreover the software integrates a guided procedure to calibrate the pump, in just few minutes.

easyFILL offers great flexibility with a wide variety of racks to accommodate most digestion vessels and even two sets simultaneously such as twoultraWAVEracks. The system handles up to six reagents at a time (such as HNO3, H2O2, HCl, HF) matching most application needs. easyFILL comes into play before the digestion for acid addition and after for pre-dilution or for acidification of the digested solutions. Moreover, easyFILL is compatible with ICP autosampler racks to avoid additional handling.

The dispensing accuracy of the easyFILL pump ensures great reproducibility, while the handsoff approach and the use of high-purity PTFE for all the acid lines avoids risk of contamination. Moreover, the automatic cleaning of the lines, built into the sequence, avoids contamination when different reagents are dosed.

Handling of concentrated acids and the use of pipettes under a fume hood could expose the operator to the acids. easyFILL automates these processes and avoids acid handling. The built-in exhaust further enhances the safety of operations by diverting any acid vapours to the lab extraction system.