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What's it worth?

In certain circumstances, an analytical system is purchased to directly meet a regulatory requirement to measure a specific variable. However, more commonly, the investment decisions surrounding analytical instrumentation involve a more nuanced balancing of the perceived benefits and cost.

Analytical instruments deliver data or information. The purchase of an analytical system is therefore usually triggered by one of two issues: a requirement for information that is more detailed or different from what current systems can provide, or the need to access the same information faster or more efficiently. Analytical instrumentation is used at every stage of a product lifecycle: in R&D, through scale-up, into commercial manufacture; for process troubleshooting and for finished product quality control. Each stage is associated with a different analytical need, and the value of an analytical system can therefore alter depending on how it answers to the specific requirement being addressed.

For example, R&D activity is typically associated with extensive information gathering. In order to drive progress, analytical data must therefore provide the insight required to understand and control process and product performance. Measuring relevant data efficiently is important, but in this environment instrumentation that helps to elucidate complex observations is particularly valuable. An analyser that can help in this way may instantly deliver substantial economic benefit, by accelerating time to market and/or supporting the development of a superior product. Similarly, in troubleshooting applications, instruments that reveal the solution to a processing problem can rapidly deliver returns that far surpass their cost.

Read more in Process Worldwide.