InfraLeuna GmbH/R. Lehmann.
It is not often that a 100-year-old looks forward to the future. The Leuna chemical complex, located in the eastern German town of Leuna, however, is no ordinary centurion. Founded in 1916, the country’s largest chemical industrial site was built on the prospects for the future. First it was the production of ammonia in developing advanced fertilizers that helped to fuel the rise of modern agriculture throughout Europe. Then came the manufacture of synthetic fuel, ushering in a modern age of transportation that allowed millions of Germans to venture rural roots to help build modern Germany.
Today that same sense of entrepreneurial spirit continues to pulse through the five-square-mile complex that is now called Chemical Park. It is home to over 100 companies that range from industry giants to nimble startups. Together, they employ an estimated 9,000 workers who produce over 12 million tons of oil, gas, and chemical products a year. About 2,000,000 vehicles and 280,000 tank rail cars roll through the complex each year carrying 8 million tons of goods. For comparison’s sake, that last-mentioned fact would make for a freight train that stretches over 2,800 miles!
An Analytical Powerhouse
Managing such a bustling complex is no small task. As its primary service operator, InfraLeuna GmbH was created in 1996 as an independent operator of all infrastructure facilities at the Leuna chemical complex. Today, it provides resident companies and other regional firms with a variety of services, from steam, energy, potable water, and wastewater disposal, to laboratory analytical testing services.
The Infra Leuna Analytical Laboratory, led by Antje Mroczek, Ph.D., employs 25 scientists and chemical laboratory technicians. As a centralized, accredited analytical lab, the facility draws on an extensive portfolio of AAS, ICP-OES, ICP-MS, GC, GC-MS and GC headspace technologies to provide both resident and regional companies with a variety of analytical services for both inorganic and organic trace element analysis. Main emphasis is placed on the analytical observance of the industrial plants, drinking water analysis, and monitoring the compliance for Germany’s strict environmental regulations. “Any limit breach can be detected quickly,” says Mroczek, adding that corrective measures can be initiated quickly to prevent environmental damage.
The occasion of the 100th anniversary of Leunawerke site triggered an exciting moment for the laboratory earlier this year. Federal Chancellor of Germany, Dr. Angela Merkel, a trained physicist, visited the lab and expressed a particular interest in learning more about the lab’s array services and especially its use of the PerkinElmer Nexion® ICP-MS.
Picture: Analytical laboratory of InfraLeuna. From left to right: Dr. Christof Günther, Managing Director of InfraLeuna GmbH, Dr. Reiner Haseloff, Minister-President of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Dr. Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor of Germany; Dr. Antje Mroczek, Head of Infra Leuna Analytical Laboratory,). Photo by Marco Junghans
Meeting The Needs Of A Growing Customer Base
Mroczek is quick to point out that the InfraLeuna Analytical Laboratory hardly rests on its past laurels.
“We run about 85,000 different samples and analyze for more than 240,000 single parameters a year,” Mroczek says. “These increasingly include requests from the pharmaceutical industry,” she says. “Our Optima® ICP-OES and NexION® ICP-MS’s are ideally suited to address the increasing requests from the pharma industry relating to the USP Method 232 regulations on elemental impurities.”
Flexible Solutions Through PerkinElmer
To cope with the complexity and variety of so many different chemical, pharmaceutical and environmental requests, the experienced team of the InfraLeuna lab weighs each project carefully before deciding on the best course of action. For element and organic trace element analysis that usually involves a PerkinElmer solution.
“The variety and flexibility of PerkinElmer’s atomic spectroscopy solutions allow the best fit for each challenge,” Mroczek explains. “Reliability and fast service are essential to our business and commitment to our customers,” especially as the lab is proactively working to expand services with regional partners.
In addition to its reliance on PerkinElmer’s NexION® 350 ICP-MS and Optima® 5300DV ICP-OES for water and pharmaceutical analyses, the InfraLeuna lab also uses the AAnalyst™ 600 Atomic Absorption Spectrometer for organic solvents.
Peter Thomas Zenner, Ph.D. and head of InfraLeuna’s organic instrumental analysis unit, says that his group also uses the PerkinElmer Clarus® 600 GC-MS for screening purposes. “We value the flexibility and reliability of PerkinElmer solutions and their ease of use with intuitive software.”
Mroczek agrees. “I value the performance and quality of PerkinElmer instruments, the excellent service, and the continuity of PerkinElmer’s contact persons,” she says. “We established a long lasting, trusted cooperation with a business partner who understands our needs.” That partnership not only has a long history, it will also certainly go a long way in supporting InfraLeuna’s ambitious plans for the future.