Markes International Inc. strengthens alliance with Orsat LLC to provide fully-automated, 24-7 PAMS VOC monitoring systems across entire USA

Markes International Inc., headquartered in Sacramento (California), has strengthened its alliance with Orsat LLC to provide fully-automated, round-the-clock PAMS VOC monitoring systems across the entire USA, including system setup and robust 24/7 technical support.

Since 1993, the US EPA network of Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) has required that US states and local environmental agencies use thermal desorption–gas chromatography (TD–GC) systems to measure ozone precursors and other ultra-volatiles in areas affected by significant ground-level ozone pollution, which is one of the main constituents of urban smog, impacting human health.

Much of the air monitoring equipment in the current PAMS network uses relatively old technology that’s in need of updating, resulting in an uptick in demand for Markes’ newer TD instruments which have been formally recognised in independent laboratory and field trials commissioned by the US EPA. In particular, the trials demonstrated 100% target compound coverage, very low levels of instrument bias and excellent precision between replicate measurements.

Orsat AutoGC system for PAMS

The Orsat AutoGC system for PAMS combines either Markes’ UNITY-Air Server-xr™ or its CIA Advantage-xr™ with an Agilent 8890 GC and OpenLab EZChrom CDS. The system is fully automated, cryogen-free and optimised by Orsat to relieve the operator of repetitive tasks required to maintain and validate the system on a daily basis.

Plus, all of Markes’ TD instruments, including those in Orsat’s AutoGC system, are available with its award-winning Multi-Gas technology, enabling users to choose between three carrier gases: helium, nitrogen or hydrogen. Opting for hydrogen does away with the need for cylinder delivery and installation – an obvious benefit for PAMS in remote locations.

Selective water removal

Users also have the option to include Markes’ Multi-Gas Kori-xr™, a selective water removal module that removes humidity from either canister or on-line samples without affecting analyte recovery.

Jeff Tompkins, Vice President (Americas) of Markes International Inc. said, “Orsat is a very well-established installer and service provider of PAMS systems here in the States. The company has an excellent reputation for consistent quality of support. Those values tie-in with our own, and both companies share a deep desire to use science for the benefit of the environment – to do all we can to make the planet safer for ensuing generations.

“Markes International was one of the first analytical instrument companies in the world to focus on analysing and monitoring air quality, and to manufacture sensitive but sturdy automated analytical systems. We’ve worked closely with the EPA for over two decades, and our TD instruments can measure all 63 compounds listed under the EPA’s PAMS, even though not all those compounds are compulsory to monitor.”

Continuous unattended ambient air VOC monitoring

Orsat has been involved with continuous unattended ambient air VOC monitoring since its earliest implementation in the State of Texas Coastal Oxidant Assessment for Southeast Texas (COAST) program in 1994. Today, Orsat’s services encompass all aspects of site operation from deployment to operator training, data validation and application assistance.

Commenting on Markes’ newly deepened alliance with Orsat, Tompkins explained: “Orsat has deployed over 70 AutoGC sites nationally in the US. In the USA, Markes is headquartered in California, primarily selling and offering support through its network of distributors, of which Orsat is one. Based on the highly automated PAMS systems collecting and quantitating over 60 target VOC compounds in ambient air hourly, it therefore makes sound business sense for Markes to strengthen its relationship with Orsat to not only increase sales of our TD instruments, but also to ensure that anyone using them has access to the fast, efficient support for which Orsat is famed.”

Orsat’s round-the-clock service and support

Carol Meyer, Environmental Applications Scientist and Orsat’s CEO elaborated: “We address any system failures within 24 hours, with repairs and operations fully documented. Plus, with adequate planning Orsat can install and configure an entire Markes-Agilent system in under five days – usually just three – including all necessary gases and power requirements. We also provide up-front assistance to customers in their site planning and procurement process to ensure all the necessary components are available to implement a completely automated monitoring system. We can then deal with any miscellaneous site-specific problems from the onset, ensuring a problem-free monitoring site from the get-go.”

Keen to stress that Markes remains committed to all its existing USA and global sales and support partners, Tompkins noted that: “The benefit of our deepened relationship with Orsat ensures that we are now fully equipped to support the US PAMS market like never before.”

Ms Meyer agreed, adding: “The powerful capabilities of Markes’ TD instruments, combined with their Multi-Gas capabilities, Agilent’s new 8890 GC system, OpenLab EZChrom CDS, and Orsat’s round-the-clock service and support offers PAMS customers an unbeatable system. Whatever their requirements, in Markes and Orsat they will find quality setup, robust and automated analysis, uninterrupted data, and first-class service and support.”