The 2016 “United Nations Global Compact-Accenture Strategy CEO” study revealed that almost 97 percent of surveyed CEOs believe sustainability is important to the
future success of their business, but only 67 percent believe their
business is making sufficient efforts to address global challenges.
This indicates that most of the industries are looking for efficient
tools and procedures to improve their sustainability quotient.
Remote testing is one of the growing fields in environmental sustainability. Sample testing and analysis is core to many
industries, such as pharmaceutical, agrochemical, healthcare and
polymer. Typically, samples are collected from sites and analyzed
in labs using complex instruments and techniques such as chromatography, mass spectrometry and NMR, which tend to have
a high cost. Transportation of samples from sites to labs incurs a
large portion of cost depending upon the distance, complexity of
samples and mode of transport. Transport of samples also limits
the volume of sample available for testing. These issues can be addressed through miniaturization of equipment that could further
facilitate on-the site testing.
Manufacturers of equipment are continuously trying to
increase the sensitivity and throughput of their products. However, the limitation of samples’ volume remains a challenge for
scientists. Apart from the cost involved in the transportation of
samples, this also impacts the timeline of the research. Miniaturization of equipment leads to testing of samples at the field site
itself, further allowing scientists to have access to greater volume
of samples. This will also reduce the number of samples required
for detailed analysis in labs.
Whole new ranges of laboratory equipment from NMR to
chromatography are available in portable format. These equipment have analytical limitations in terms of low frequency and
resolution, as opposed to their in-lab versions, but could save a
lot of time and money when it comes to the research. Portable
equipment is based on comparatively simple technology. Manufacturers of portable equipment do not require huge capital as
compared to the manufacturers of larger, lab-scale equipment.
This increases the competition among suppliers, which could
result in more purchasing power and options for buyers.
Portable equipment also increases the affordability power of
low budget organizations, research and academic institutions.
The total cost of ownership for portable equipment is less as
compared with the large equipment primarily because of low
acquisition cost, low consumable consumption, minimal sample
preparation requirement and easy calibration.
Manufacturers and buyers are even collaborating to develop more efficient portable equipment. For example, Nanalysis
Corp. is collaborating with Thesis Chemistry to evaluate the use
of benchtop NMR spectroscopy in green chemistry lab environments.
There are innovations at component levels also. Planar
transformers are continuously replacing traditional wire wound
transformers as they reduce the space requirement by around 70
percent. The new planar transformers released by Pulse Electronics Corp. claimed to reduce the direct current resistance (DCR)
by 50 percent, leading to both a 20 percent increase in power
handling capability and 20 percent reduction in price.
Real-time testing is the new frontier for environmental sustainability and socio-economic status of a country. According to
WHO, around 7 million people die across the world due to air
pollution. The situation is comparatively worse in South Asian
The Benefits of Miniaturization:
Portable Instrumentation for Easier
The miniaturization of scientific instrumentation can help facilitate
more cost-effective, efficient and reproducible field research.
by Amit Pratap Singh Rathore, Principal Analyst, Beroe Consulting
Portable instrumentation allows researchers to better collect and analyze
samples right at the point of contact, rather than bringing them back to the