Shimadzu GC Blows UP!

riddless at riddless at
Thu Sep 30 13:38:09 EST 1999

Shimadzu GC Blows Up! you want one of these incendiary devices in your lab?

We received the following FYI note on 15 May 1999:

To: shimadzu-sux at
From: identity withheld
Subject: Shimadzu GC Goes KABOOM

"We use hydrogen gas as the internal carrier instead of helium or
nitrogen due to the increase in mass transfer characteristics. With
proper internal regulation, this is not a safety hazard. Guess who's GC
exploded because of gas regulation problems and poor heat source

Well, we immediately asked for more details and here's what we learned:

"....Essentially, the GC could not sense the loss of back pressure in
case of a leak [....oops!] It would then dump hydrogen gas into the GC
oven until it reached an explosive air/gas ratio [....whoa!] When a
heating element came on to heat the GC.... KABOOM! It blew the door off
the hinges [....ouch!] I remember seeing it during a training
presentation [some training session huh?] The explosion occurred
on-site after switching to hydrogen carrier gas."

Still searching for more dirt on Shimadzu, we received the following
response on 13 June 1999:

Here is the design flaw:

"The problem occurs with GC models that are head pressure regulated
(like Shimadzu) instead of back pressure regulation like the HP. When a
column breaks internally, the head pressure models increase the flow of
carrier gas in an attempt to drive up the pressure in the column. This
is dangerous precedent if a hydrogen carrier is used. More and more
carrier gas is driven into the oven chamber till an explosive level is
reached. Since the ovens in the Shimadzu are not gas tight, when the
heating element fire to maintain the temperature, an explosion may

n.b. This is really scary.... now you have Shimadzu equipment that
explodes on-site without warning! Are you ready to deal with flying
Shimadzu shrapnel in YOUR lab? The contributor reports that the GC
involved was either a GC-9 or a GC-17 series gas chromatograph!
Shimadzu is no longer making the GC-9 (although you can probably buy
one) but the GC-17 is in it's third version! Will there be a forth
reincarnation because of another as-yet-undiscovered fatal design flaw?
RUN.... don't walk from Shimadzu!

n.b. Hewlett Packard is the run-away undeniable leader in the GC
marketplace with better than 50% market share according to most
reports. Shimadzu claims to be number 2 (ie. the "other" worthless GC
company) but it is a distant second (if that) with only about 5% GC
market share. Why would you buy second worst when you can have first
best with HP? Besides, who will sell you the bodily injury/property
damage insurance that you'll need to protect against flying Shimadzu GC

n.b. Looking for some fun.... maybe you can couple your Shimadzu GC
with that defective Class VP software package (with GC control) and
program the entire mess to blow-up on December 31, 1999 at 12 o'clock
midnight. Then you could start the new millennium anew with rugged
analytical instrumentation from a reputable vendor!

         Shimadzu's high-speed GC.... it can blow-up real fast!

          For more information about Shimadzu, call 1-800-LIARS


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