‘Laboratory analysis is shifting online’

‘Laboratory analysis is shifting online’

Dr Sudhir Kulkarni, Regional Manager, Pacific Rim region, Ametek, tells Sachin Jagdale about the mass spectrometer, a key product of Ametek, which plays a central role in analysing purity of pharma products in process applications

How is the mass spectrometer useful to pharma industry?

In pharma industry, the mass spectrometer is primarily used in laboratory analysis (in quality control and R&D). Most of analytical chemists are familiar with gas chromatography (GC)—mass spectrometry or

high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis, where separation of the components is done by chromatography and mass spectrometry acts as a detector.

How are your mass spectrometry products customised to meet pharma industry needs?

Ametek is specialised in process mass spectrometry and the mass spectrometer is used mainly for solvent drying applications as per process analytical technology (PAT) guidelines.

Please elaborate on the concept of ‘online spectrometer’? How does it function?

The online spectrometer does the analysis in a plant environment, and provides continuous analysis. It is capable of sampling multiple points and can actively control a process. It is capable of multi component, multi stream analysis. Most processes require the analysis of five to ten components.

What are the current trends? What is the market size for such instruments?

In process applications, more laboratory analysis is getting shifted online. The global market size for process mass spectrometers is around $10 million, out of which 40 percent would be hydrocarbon process industries (HPI), 20 percent would be pharma and the remaining for other applications.

What is the growth potential of the market for mass spectrometers in India and abroad?

The market is growing at the rate of 20 percent globally. India still doesn’t have much of an installed base, so it is still a virgin market. As the pharma industry in India grows, especially for the contract manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredient (APIs), sooner or later they will follow PAT guidelines and mass spectrometry would find its place in the industry.