1. How many samples do you deal with in your lab on a monthly basis? If you deal with a high number, an autosampler is probably a good investment. However, if you only have a small number of samples in your lab, a manual injector may be a more economical option. But, even with a small amount of samples, the improved accuracy and repeatability of an autosampler may be worth investing in.
2. What size are the samples you are dealing with? Autosamplers are much more accurate than human beings, even when working with tiny samples. If you deal with many low-volume situations in your lab, an autosampler is usually a good idea.
3. How fast is the instrument’s cycle time and sample loading speed? These are important if speed is a priority in your lab.
4. What kind of service and support are offered for the autosampler (warranties, etc.)?
5. How much does it cost to buy, run, and maintain the instrument?
• Today, about 95 percent or more of HPLC systems from major manufacturers ship with autosamplers, a testament to the improved reliability and reproducibility of autosampler hardware and controls over past instruments.
• By automatically drawing from and injecting a predetermined set of samples, autosamplers spare lab analysts from uninteresting, repetitive work. Most autosamplers handle multiple sample containers, including microtiter plates, by default.
• Autosamplers have eliminated persistent sources of error associated with manual sampling and injection, allowing analysts to target other possible sources of chromatographic anomalies. Now, analysts need only set up a tray of samples and make sure the correct sample is in the right vial.
• Autosamplers aren’t a good fit for everyone—academic labs still rely heavily on manual sampling and injection because their primary objective, aside from data quality, is cost effectiveness.
• Speed, throughput, and reduced sample volumes are critical for most analytical laboratories, and autosamplers play prominently among the various “fast” techniques adopted toward achieving those goals. Autosamplers have become critical enablers—like columns, pumps, and detectors—of these trends.