Thursday, February 21, 2013

@pidguy's true story of developing & marketing an environmental instrumentation company: a forty year perspective

Join us on the ACS Division of Small Chemical Businesses Program Track at the ACS National Meeting in New Orleans to hear @pidguy's *true story*
26 - Developing and marketing an environmental instrumentation company: A forty year perspective

Jack N. Driscoll, PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, MA 02563, United States

HNU Systems, Inc., was founded by Driscoll & Spaziani in December 1973, intending to develop a new technology, photoionization detection (PID), for the analysis of environmental pollutants. We went to NIOSH in Cincinnati to explore potential uses of PID in industrial hygiene. During our visit, a scientist at NIOSH said, "If you had a portable instrument that would measure vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) at 1 ppm, we would be very interested." We went to a gas company the next day to get a lecture bottle of VCM and that afternoon we had a VCM monitor. A working prototype portable (battery operated) PID was built for the AIHCE show and, two months later, we got our first order from BFG. Once the evaluation period was over, we received an order for 50 units from BFG. In addition, BFG licensed their process for manufacturing VCM worldwide and included photoionization as the method of choice for VCM monitoring. We were off and running with VCM for the first few years. The next 35 years included rapid growth and then contraction as the economic times and markets changed. A number of years of economic struggles was followed by reorganizing and forming a new Company, PID Analyzers. Since bank financing has become more difficult in the past decade, PID has reverted to self funding to continue growing. These financial issues along with changing sources for parts will be discussed in detail.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 11:15 AM
True Stories of Success from Chemical Entrepreneurs (08:00 AM - 11:50 AM)
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton New Orleans
Room: Crescent B
American Chemical Society members who were registered for the New Orleans Spring meeting can access the full presentation here with their ACS login. Otherwise ACS members and nonmembers can access this and all the Presentations on demand from #ACSNOLA with a paid subscription. See this link for pricing info. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Monitoring ppb levels of ambient air pollutants via hyphenated techniques: HRGC/ in-series selective detection

Accepted for presentation at the American Chemical Society Spring National Meeting 2013 in New Orleans, LA in the Air Monitoring Symposium in the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry. Co-sponsored by the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry.

508 - Monitoring ppb levels of ambient air pollutants via hyphenated techniques: HRGC/ in-series selective detection

Thursday, April 11, 2013 10:30 AMAir Monitoring (08:30 AM - 11:55 AM)
Location: New Orleans Downtown Marriott at the Convention Center
Room: Blaine Kern B

Jack N Driscoll, Jennifer L Maclachlan. PID Analyzers, LLC, Sandwich, Massachusetts, MA 02563, United States

High resolution gas chromatography (HRGC) with a capillary column (50,000 to 100,000 theoretical plates) is an efficient and effective means for separation of a complex mixture of chemicals in the ambient air. Since retention times are used for identification, either a second column with a different polarity or the ratio of two detectors are used to confirm the identity of various solutes in a number of USEPA methods. The photoionization detector [1] is a very sensitive (0.5 ppt benzene (VOC's) and non-destructive detector (second detector can be run in-series) for volatile and semivolatile organic compounds. The PID/FID method was described more than 30 years ago [2] for identification of natural gas components, and has been used more recently for identification of ambient hydrocarbons. In a similar manner, a flame photometric detector (FPD) can be used in conjunction with the PID to identify S or P compounds in the air. A PID Analyzers Model 322 Automatic GC with temperature programming and a PID/FID or a PID/FPD was used for these measurements. The ambient measurements were made near our Cape Cod, MA facility which is at the perimeter of the Mass Military Reservation.


1. Driscoll, J.N., “Gas Chromatography in Environmental Analysis” Environmental Instrumentation Handbook, Wiley , NY (2005)

2. Driscoll, et al., "Gas Chromatographic Detection and Identification of Aromatic and Aliphatic Hydrocarbons in Complex Mixtures by Coupling Photoionization and Flame Ionization Detectors," J. Chrom., 158, 171 (1978).

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Arsenic Contamination in Food and Water~a two day symposium

Spotted: HNU PID Analyzer clip art

Microsoft Office clip art found using keyword *soil*

HNU DL101 being used on a hazwaste site
Photo courtesy: PID Analyzers, LLC

I came across this HNU PID inspired clip art depicting a hazmat suit clad worker taking readings on a hazardous waste site with an analyzer: our Model 101 series PID analyzer.

The PI101 was the field analytical instrument of choice based on performance, reliability and ruggedness on Superfund Sites in the 1980's. In fact, since this was such an essential part of our business, we developed a "hazardous waste site" version of this analyzer in the late 1980's  called the HW-101. The PI101 utilized a fan to pull in the air sample, but the HW101 employed a pump.

2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the commercialization of photoionization by Jack Driscoll. We celebrated the Chemistry of Industrial Hygiene during the International Year of Chemistry and garnered some sensational press from our local newspaper. Stay tuned to see what's in store later this year for the 40 year celebration of photoionzation

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