Get Empowered: Data Acquisition and the Sample Set Method | Tip #14

By April 25, 2017

Tip #14: Using interactive system suitability

In the last Empower Tip of the Week for Empower Chromatography Data Software (CDS), we explored how to enter a purity factor for our standards in the component editor. This tip will address using interactive system suitability to automatically stop an instrument if our system suitability sample fails.

Most labs start the day by running a sample, or samples, to evaluate system suitability.  The processing of these samples may include calculation of plate count or the %RSD for the area under the main peak from replicate injections.

In all cases, wouldn’t it be nice to automate the evaluation of system suitability so that if all is good the instrument runs the Sample Set Method without human intervention? And if there is problem, have the system stop until the problem is corrected?

Empower can do this for us and it ties together several things:


  1. In the Run Samples area we have something called Interactive System Suitability (Figure 1).  This tells the chromatographic system what to do if there is a processing fault. So for example, we could set it to Stop on Fault which tells the system to stop making injections if a processing fault is detected.

    Empower Tip: Run Samples | Figure 1

    Figure 1

  2. What constitutes a processing fault? A processing fault is generated if, for example, a reference peak such as a retention time reference peak or an internal standard peak is missing from a chromatogram. Another example would be if a limit is exceeded (USP Plate Count dips below the lower limit for example).

Step 1

Click on Browse Project in the navigation bar (Figure 2).

Empower Tip: Browse Project | Figure 2

Figure 2


Step 2

Click on the Methods tab, right click on the Processing Method of interest and select Open (Figure 3).

Empower Tips: Processing Methods | Figure 3

Figure 3

Step 3

Click on the Components tab and scroll to the right to locate the RT Reference field (Figure 4).

Empower Tip: Components Tab | Figure 4

Figure 4


Step 4

Click in the RT Reference field and select the retention time reference peak from the list (Figure 5).

Empower Tip: RT Reference Filed | Figure 5

Figure 5

Step 5

From the file menu select File, Save (Figure 6).

Empower Tip: File Save | Figure 6

Figure 6



Step 6

Add a comment explaining why you made the change to the Processing Method and click OK (figure 7).

Empower Tip: Comments | Figure 7

Figure 7


Step 7

Click Method Set in the navigation bar and select File, Open (Figure 8).

Empower Tip: Method Set | Figure 8

Figure 8

Step 8

Select your Method Set and click Open (Figure 9).

Empower Tip: Open Method Set | Figure 9

Figure 9

Step 9

Add the revised Processing Method from the Default Processing Method list (Figure 10).

Empower Tips: Default Processing Method | Figure 10

Figure 10

Step 10

From the file menu select File, Save (Figure 11).

Empower Tip: File, Save | Figure 11

Figure 11

Step 11

Add a comment explaining why you made the change to the Method Set and click OK (Figure 12).

Empower Tip: Comment on Method Set | Figure 12

Figure 12

Step 12

Click Sample Queue in the navigation bar (Figure 13).

Empower Tip: Sample Queue | Figure 13

Figure 13

Step 13

Click the Open Sample Set tool which is the third tool from the left in the toolbar (Figure 14).

Empower Tip: Open Sample Set Tool | Figure 14

Figure 14

Step 14

Select the Sample Set Method and click Open (Figure 15).

Empower Tip: Sample Set Method Figure 15

Figure 15

Step 15

We see that we are in the Run and Process mode and interactive system suitability is set to Stop on Fault. In the Sample Set Method, we see that the Processing field is set to Normal for the system suitability sample and Don’t Process or Report for the rest of the sample queue (Figure 16).

Empower Tip: Run and Process Mode | Figure 16

Figure 16

As long as the retention time reference peak is found in all of the injections of the system suitability sample, the remainder of the sample queue will be run.  If the retention time reference peak is missing in any of the injections of the system suitability sample, the instrument will not inject any of the remaining samples in the queue.

A final note

This is one simple example.  In future Empower Tips, we will explore setting other parameters in our Processing Method which will trigger Interactive System Suitability and we will learn how to find faulted results.

I hope you found this tip helpful. This concludes our blog series on Data Acquisition and the Sample Set Methods. In the next blog series, we are going to cover topics related to Review Window and Processing Methods.


Next week in Empower Tip #15: Drag and drop channels of data into Review while it is open

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