ultraWAVE increases sample preparation efficiency and lowers costs for pharmaceutical testing lab



Exova is a global provider of laboratory testing advising and assuring services to many of the world’s most innovative companies.
Exova operates from over 100 facilities in 24 countries and employs over 3,500 people across Europe, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia/Asia Pacific. Exova’s Santa Fe Springs, CA, lab is part of Exova’s Health Sciences Division and specializes in testing for the pharmaceutical and supplement industries. Formerly known as West Coast Analytical Service, the lab opened in 1984 as an independent testing laboratory, and has a long and successful history of trace metals analysis, being one of the first testing labs in the US to use ICP-MS.


Our challenge is that many samples are difficult to digest and there is a wide variety of sample types. Batches may only consist of 1-2 samples, so running large batches of similar samples is not always possible. With block digestion it is not possible to get complete digestions with many sample types. The difficult sample types we digest also shorten vessel lifetime on our closed vessel system and consumable replacement costs are rather high. The limitations of HPA are sample contamination when using older quartz tubes, and also potential loss of volatile elements such as Sb and Hg.
We are able to digest 50-70% more samples in the lab thanks to the ultraWAVE
Samina Hussain, Senior Chemist/ Metals Group Leader, Exova
  • exova


We were attracted to the ultraWAVE due to its ability to digest mixed sample types, its use of disposable glass vials, and the high temperature and pressure capability (i.e. ability to digest difficult matrices and to produce complete digestions). We invited Milestone into our lab to demonstrate the ultraWAVE and we were impressed at the digestion quality achieved from the range of tough sample types we tested it with. We decided to purchase the system and upon installation it was quickly put to work.
We essentially use the same temperature program regardless of sample type and it is possible to run different sample types and weights together in the same batch. This is one of the key benefits of the ultraWAVE – the ability to run all samples together and not to have to separate sample types into separate batches.


The ultraWAVE is based on the SRC (Single Reaction Chamber) technology, that achieves extraordinary performance capabilities combining microwave heating with a high-pressure reactor which acts simultaneously as microwave cavity and vessel.

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"The ultraWAVE has transformed our sample digestion capabilities and we are looking forward to getting a second unit in house, which will also give us the capacity we need to handle the expected growth in sample workload"