Quality assurance/quality control testing

1st April 2013

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc's FT-IR instrumentation provides scientists with increased confidence in their results during Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) testing. This means scientists are able to focus on handling the ever growing number of samples produced and letting the responsibility for performance verification go to the instrument itself. The Thermo Scientific FT-IR instrument is designed to result in improved efficiency within the laboratory and simplify the process of complying with regulatory requirements.

The main function in QA/QC testing is to determine whether or not a product meets control specifications in relation to its identity, composition or purity. Each stage of QA/QC testing is defined by strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) due to the importance of product quality. Performance Verification routines provide regulatory and audit level detail on spectrometer performance, testing FT-IR systems against manufacturer-published specifications. Not having to worry about the performance of their apparatus means the analyst can devote more of their time to more critical matters.

An example of how the process of QA/QC has been simplified can be seen by looking at polymer blends of polyethylene and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), which are used for making food packaging films and hot melt adhesives. The raw materials contain EVA at various concentrations blended with polyethylene. To provide the correct functionality of the polymer film, the
EVA concentration of production lots must be controlled within very tight limits. Spectra from samples with a range of EVA concentrations are obtained and saved as references.

Following this the FT-IR spectrometer is used to routinely verify that material from the production line is at the expected polymer blend level using the Thermo Scientific QCheck algorithm with its high sensitivity setting to highlight very small but important differences that may be present in the sample. This allows the QC laboratory to quickly confirm the polymer blend with a high level of confidence in the results.

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