Pittcon 2015: Jazzed about Instruments

This year, Pittcon was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from March 7 to March 12. Unfortunately, the location did not appear to help attendance. According to the preliminary figures available as of March 9, total attendance was down 15.8% from last year, when the location was Chicago, Illinois (see IBO 3/31/14), to 13,683. The number of attendees excluding exhibitors and “other” declined 21.0% to 7,554. In 2008, the last time Pittcon was held in New Orleans, total attendance was 19,536, with 10,214 attendees. IBO will publish the final attendance numbers when they become available.

The number of exhibitors increased 0.8% to 919, including 120 first-time exhibitors. The number of booths declined from 1,748 to 1,690.

Despite the decline in attendance, Pittcon remains a valuable venue for business-to-business interactions, scientific presentations and press conferences. PerkinElmer returned to the exhibit this year after a multiyear absence. Its presence also included a press conference, at which chairman and CEO Robert Friel told IBO that the company’s decision to attend the show had “galvanized” the Environmental Health Division. The company highlighted the Division’s focus on four end-user markets: food, the environment, nanotechnology and materials science. The company also launched several new products (see page 6), including PerkinElmer-branded versions of Waters’s ACQUITY UPLC and Alliance HPLC systems, which will run Waters’s chromatography data system (see page 2).

Thermo Fisher Scientific also made news, announcing an agreement with Capgemini, a consulting, technology and outsourcing-services firm, to provide its LIMS with Capgemini’s EPR system as an SaaS offering. Thermo’s Informatics Suite of products will be incorporated with Capgemini’s Service Management and Service Level Agreement Reporting Command Center to create a dashboard view for improved supply-chain management.

An emphasis on informatics was evident throughout the show. Both PerkinElmer and Waters unveiled new informatics platforms designed to evolve how laboratories manage information. PerkinElmer released the GC, LC and UV versions of its TIBCO Spotfire software, which joins the recently released IR version and Spotfire for Inorganic (for atomic spectroscopy). Instrument data can be directly transferred to prebuilt dashboards for specific application areas for data analysis, visualization and integration. Waters released NuGenesis LMS, which adds LIMS-like capabilities to its scientific data–management system (see page 6).

Companies with a major presence in the exhibit hall included AMETEK, Hitachi High-Technologies, Shimadzu, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Waters. Although the number of new-product introductions seemed to have declined compared to previous years, several introductions were particularly notable for a company’s entrance into a new market. Bruker entered the handheld Raman spectrometer market (see page 6), Shimadzu debuted its first SFC system (see page 7) and Waters launched an MS system for pathology research. Waters’s Full-Spectrum Molecular Imaging Systems offers DESI (desorption electrospray ionization), MALDI and ion-mobility spectroscopy with the SYNAPT G2-Si MS system for tissue imaging for research-pathology applications. BioTools introduced its first product for markets outside the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries (see page 6). Similarly, PerkinElmer’s release of Spotfire for applied markets represented the software’s entry into new markets.

New products emphasized ease of use, increased productivity and application-tailored solutions. A number of companies highlighted their food-analysis offerings, including Anton Paar, Bruker and PerkinElmer. Bruker launched several updates to its FoodScreen product portfolio, and PerkinElmer displayed a system from recently acquired Perten Instruments (see IBO 11/31/14). At its press conference, PerkinElmer stated that it plans to apply the Perten business model of offering rugged, easy-to-use, dedicated instrumentation to other markets. A number of companies discussed their abilities to make instrumentation more usable and applicable to new markets. At their press conferences, Shimadzu and Waters discussed their goal of further establishing MS technology in clinical markets.

Despite the ailing metals and minerals industries, several companies launched new atomic spectroscopy instruments, including AMETEK’s SPECTRO Instruments business (see page 6), Bruker (see page 6), PANalytical (see page 7) and PerkinElmer (see page 6). Pittcon 2016 will be held March 6–10 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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