ATAS GL International B.V. is based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Founded in 1990, ATAS GL specializes in development and manufacturing of high performance analytical instrumentation for gas chromatography systems. Originally a Dutch company, ATAS GL was acquired in 2001 by the Japanese GL Sciences, Inc.
ATAS GL sells its products mainly in Europe, the United States, Australia and Japan. The products are developed for use primarily by advanced analysts from the chemical, petrochemical, environmental, food & beverage and pharmaceutical industries. They are sold through the OEM channels as well as through a selected net of independent distributors around the world. In the Benelux market, ATAS GL sells its products directly to the end-users distributing also the instruments and consumables produced by others.
The company's key customers include multinational companies like Shell, Unilever, Akzo Nobel, DSM as well as universities and commercial laboratories.
While the analytical instrument market is very diverse, ATAS GL focuses only on a very specific part of it - sample preparation and sample introduction systems for gas chromatography.
As an instrument developer, ATAS GL focuses on development of equipment requiring a very high level of technological and analytical expertise. To keep up with development of knowledge-intensive technologies ATAS GL cooperates with the universities and research institutes. A good example is the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Polymer-Analysis Group.
Internal R&D is a vital component in product development and ATAS GL can rightly be considered as a trendsetter in its field; several of its innovative ideas have already been copied by others, a number of technical solutions pioneered the analytical instrument market. The technology driven culture of the Japanese parent company is evident at ATAS GL, though ATAS GL as the Dutch company is trying to blend technology and market leadership.
The company's top product is the OPTIC injection system, an advanced GC injector whose ingenious patented temperature and gas control makes it highly suitable for most GC analyses. The product comprises the GC sample injection port, an electronic control unit and the ATAS Evolution Workstation control software. It is produced in cooperation with a number of Dutch companies. The last step in the product assembling and testing is done in-house in order to ensure its compliance with the high quality standards.
The OPTIC as the advanced product is distinctive in many ways, not least in being able to increase the sample injection capacity up to 100 times. Raw samples can also be introduced into the gas chromatography process so that organic solvents do not have to be used. Also, use of faster, direct heating means that components can be transferred more rapidly to the GC column boosting up separation capacity.
In order to widen the application range for OPTIC, ATAS GL has developed a number of accessories and options for this injection system. One of them is an automatic liner exchanger (LINEX) system. The system is designed to automatically exchange the injector liners when they are contaminated by not sufficiently clean samples. ATAS GL was the first who has introduced this kind of system into the market.
Being a small organization, ATAS GL finds that collaboration with other high-tech companies play crucial role in maintaining leading position on the market. This understanding finds expression in collaboration in development and production of system components and complete products with a number of the Dutch companies.
In terms of technological leadership, the in-house interchange of knowledge is an integral part of the company's daily work. Outside the company there is little of any supplementary knowledge that the company is able to access. The specific knowledge seems to be disappearing as fewer and fewer people study the field. Therefore the cooperation with the knowledge centers like universities and research institutes is of a great importance.
As for the future, there are few discernible trends that are likely to have any significant influence on the company's business direction. The OPTIC technology will become more mature and used as the OEM type of product available to different GC instrument suppliers. Each OEM version will come up with its own specifications.