Spotlight on the new Analytical Chemical Laboratory
A chat with Domenico Lepore, Head of Analytical Chemical Lab
The Analytical Chemical Laboratory was set up around 20 years ago in our corporate R&D in Albizzate. In June 2020 it has been moved in a brand new laboratory.
The team is made up of 9 researchers: we determine, in collaboration with our R&D Labs, the composition and the structure of new or existing products; we support the HPS departmenet for the preparation of analytical dossiers for the registration of new products and their introduction into the market. As well, we provide business and customer assistance and develop new methods for the QC laboratories.
Space and light
The previous laboratory was located in the basement of an old building, the space was limited and the equipments were piled up, giving an idea of precariousness.
The new one is located at the ground floor on an area of about 700 square meters. There is greater usability of the tools and a very rational arrangement of the instrumentation. The thematic working areas are very well separated: the cromatographers cover the east wing of the laboratory, spectroscoopy and thermal analysis the west; the office in the middle.
That increases safety and efficiency.
No longer shared hoods: each operator has his own reserved area equipped with localized extraction. This has speed up the analytical preparation of samples improving the analysis time. It has dramatically reduced the chance of those errors that could occur when multiple operators work in the same space.
Another important issue it is that, since the laboratory is located at the ground floor, thanks to a dedicated access ramp, we can introduce heavy materials in absolute safety.
And there is a lot of light!
Before we were in a basement and the light was artificial.
We entered the laboratory in the morning and went out in the evening without distinguishing day from night, summer from winter.
In the new laboratory there are large glass walls, with excellent exposure to natural light. We can see the passing of time and the world around us: people, trees, trucks and forklifts.
Space and light!
That have changed the atmosphere in the laboratory: a lot of natural light and the view of the outside have a positive effect on our mood and this is making personal relationships easier.
SEM and NMR
We had an NMR Spectrometer (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) in the old laboratory but the set was really dated.
We have bought a 400MHz and equipped it with an auto-sampler that allows us to sequence different samples and process them even in the absence of an operator.
This has greatly accelerated our operations since it allows to process samples over the weekend and from remote.
The software is friendly to use, the experiments are easier to set up and this pushes us to analyze samples that we did not do before because they took too long.
Scanning electron microscope SEM is, for us, a new technology. In the past we had availed ourselves of the support of universities with all the difficulties of the case.
The instrument has open to new analytic opportunities and it has been welcomed by all researchers, especially by those who treat surfaces and want to go and see how films have been applied, the penetration or the presence of defects rather than the product itself.
During the Covid-19 pandemic
In this time of pandemic, we could not have been present all together in the old laboratory, especially in the particularly crowded chromatography area.
Now, even when we all are present, there is never too much proximity, each operator has his own space, his hood, his desk with an island protected by a plexiglass screen.
The new laboratory has allowed the simultaneous return of all people and, today, we are all present at work.