Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 411, Issue 26, pp 6783–6790 | Cite as

Analytics 4.0: Online wastewater monitoring by GC and HPLC

  • Monika WortbergEmail author
  • Joachim Kurz
Feature Article


We present an automatically and autonomously operating online laboratory equipped with laboratory chromatographs as an example of Analytics 4.0. At BASF’s largest production site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, multiple GC, HPLC, and IC systems are used in a mostly unstaffed laboratory for automated wastewater monitoring. The purpose of the online system is to prevent unwanted discharges of organic compounds into the wastewater treatment plant and thus protection of the river Rhine. By use of different chromatography and sample preparation techniques, a wide spectrum of compounds can be quantitatively assessed. Most analyzers are coupled to mass spectrometers, and all are equipped with robotic autosamplers. Mixed wastewater samples are collected automatically at 20-min intervals and distributed to the instruments. To operate the online system 24/7, sensors, visualization tools, special software packages, remote access tools, and other assistance systems are required. Many of the software features are as yet not commercially available and thus had to be developed and programmed in-house since they are required in an Analytics 4.0 environment.


Analytics 4.0 Online analytics Wastewater Gas chromatography Liquid chromatography Mass spectrometry 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BASF SE, Environmental Analytics and Water/Steam MonitoringLudwigshafenGermany

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