Bruker is Moving Forward
Interview with Collin D‘Silva, President and Rohan Thakur, Vice President
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal talked to Collin D'Silva, President and Rohan Thakur, Vice President, of Bruker CAM on strategic goals, business objectives, Bruker's technologies and services and why this affects you. No matter whether you drink a fizzy soda or travel by aircraft.
Collin D‘Silva: Bruker Chemical and Applied Markets (CAM) division is a part of Bruker Corporation and was formed in May 2010 when Bruker acquired the three pipelines that had formed under Varian Products; these included the GC, GC-MS and ICP-MS product lines. With the formation of the division, our business has been extended into the chemical and applied markets. Our innovation is focused in new instrument platforms that are designed for the user. This includes the launch in 2011 of the aurora M90 to replace the former series of ICP-MS from Varian, and then in the summer of 2011 we introduced the double award winning Scion product family for GC-MS including GC single quad and GC triple quad.
The introduction of the newest additions to the Scion family of products are the Scion 436- and 456 Gas Chromatography instruments. Bruker has firmly secured a place as a major player in the gas chromatography sector.
The newest 436-GC instrument is a compact laboratory GC, supporting two injectors and two detectors, including a mass spectrometer (which can be either a single quadrupole or triple quad). The 456 -GC is our new fully featured laboratory GC. It can support three injectors as well as three detectors. In addition, a fourth detector (MS) can be added. The platform can be configured to support virtually any GC application, including applications that require special valving or multiple columns in the oven. For example, markets such as petrochemical, energy generation, and specialty gases require custom solution analyzers.
As part of this introduction, both instrument models - 436- and 456-GC, use a new state-of-the-art electronic architecture that supports very high speed data acquisition up to 600 Hz. One of our key commitments is to eliminating the barriers to the adoption of GC technology - both technical and implementation.
A great example of what I'm talking about here is the language barrier faced by many users. Our new interface supports 14 different languages, from English, to Portuguese, German and Chinese, pre-loaded and available at the touch of a button. Our global footprint and an ever expanding presence in developing countries, this multi-language capability is critical for us, and it truly supports the global GC business.
Customers on the former Varian software platform that Bruker did not acquire (Galaxy Client Server) have effectively been frozen in time. Importantly, with Bruker's introduction of CompassCDS and CompassCDS Client Server Systems at Pittcon 2012, all of those users have an upgrade path for their existing instruments and going forward the same software will control any Scion 436- and 456-GC series systems they may purchase. On the consumables side a select brand of GC Care Columns are designed to our specifications and specifically matched and tested for our applications and instruments. A new line of filters, ensure that carrier and detector gases are at optimum purity.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: You now wish to address large testing laboratories in environmental-, (bio-) fuel-, and food testing. What are their specific demands?
Rohan Thakur: A major challenge for those involved in the routine detection and identification of contaminants, trace-level compounds and compound constituents in environmental monitoring, energy production and food testing, is the ever increasing lists of compounds coming under scrutiny. In addition, the daily sample load is increasing, and the need for better turn around times, whilst also improving the sensitivity and robustness of assays are major considerations. Turnkey solutions that require minimal customer input and training, from sample preparation to data acquisition; from data analysis to final reporting, are becoming important. In the current market users tell us they need to "do more with less and more quickly".
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: Scion GC's are developed to be easy to use, robust and reliable high throughput-one purpose analyses. Who needs such instruments?
Collin D‘Silva: We are focused primarily on four key markets - food testing, energy production analysis, forensics and environmental monitoring - and the advanced platforms that we are building. The Scion GC-MS TQ has been widely adopted and proven successful for pesticide residue applications, for food safety, and with those who are tasked with making our water safer in the environment and getting the most out of our energy production.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: What are the most interesting applications for these instruments?
Rohan Thakur: We were able to support a company, which converts plant oils into biojet, which can serve as drop-in replacement to petroleum-based jet fuel. Their goal is to produce biojet and biodiesel fuels from non-edible and renewable feedstocks with a cost structure and product quality comparable to their petroleum-based counterparts. A highly knowledgeable Bruker technical team worked with Energia Technologies using a Bruker GC along with CompassCDS and Simdist Software to analyze the whole liquid product from a biofuel pilot plant, as well as biojet product from the fractionation system. Analysis of the fractionated biofuel products shows characteristic compositional signatures for biogasoline, biojet and biodiesel products.
We also developed a very simple interface for one of our beverage grade CO2 analyzers that allows the truck driver to sample his CO2 at the exit to the shipping dock. The driver simply selects the customer name, and places the sample on the sample port. The system automatically loads the sample, initiates the analysis based upon the specific customer requirements, analyzes the sample, then provides a detailed report showing pass/fail to the specific requirements. The document then serves as the certification for the end user.
Laboratories also need fast and effective services. Can Bruker serve these needs globally?
Collin D'Silva: Bruker strives to support our customers across all regions of the world equally even in areas where we have indirect sales channels we still try to put in place for our customers technical support personnel.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: Which markets are addressed geographically?
Collin D‘Silva: We generate revenues globally, and the CAM division is represented and has direct sales in 20 countries, with dealers and distributors in over 30 countries.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: Will the efforts in this (these) new market affect R&D expenses for new high end instrumentation?
Collin D‘Silva: Varian historically spent between 5-6% of revenues on R&D, whereas Bruker traditionally spends between 10-12%. So in acquiring the Varian assets, Bruker knew they would invest heavily to redevelop and also add new products to the portfolio to serve these applied markets.
G.I.T. Laboratory Journal: Bruker recently launched a number of online portals for relevant information for the users of these instruments. Please tell us about the goals of these pages?
Rohan Thakur: We introduced the globalenergytesting.com website, providing a mechanism for customers to look at our capabilities as they relate to their needs. This, in addition to the globalfoodtesting.com website that we introduced in summer 2011, continues to help customers come together and understand what our capabilities are in terms of our solutions as they meet their specific needs. In addition, we have recently published our "Complete Solutions for Hydrocarbon Processing" handbook to provide applications information for the petrochemical sector.