Astrotech Corp. (NASDAQ: ASTC) Expands Role of Mass Spectrometry in Industrial Processes

  • In the chemical manufacturing industry, innovative uses of mass spectrometry are a game-changer by ensuring quality control, increased yields, and increased profits
  • Astrotech subsidiary, Pro-Control Inc., has positioned its product line between the need for the chemical manufacturers to offset lower prices with efficiency gains that could offset potential losses
  • The Pro-Control Maximum Value Processing(TM) can perform in-situ process tests every 5 minutes greatly increasing efficiency across a wide range of chemical manufacturing processes

Mass spectrometry (“MS”) is becoming a transformative analytical technique that has revolutionized how materials are tested and processed in various industries, such as petrochemical. The supreme accuracy of MS in analyzing the molecular structure, purity, and potency of a substance has made it an indispensable part of several key sectors. In manufacturing settings, MS is a game-changer, as it is able to enhance the production processes with higher purity and yields. A key benefit is the ability to make these determinations directly in the production process making near-real-time adjustments, versus the delays traditionally incurred by sending the samples to the lab.

The global mass spectrometry market was valued at $5.4 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2028, expanding at a CAGR of 7.5% ( The technology’s capability to provide rapid, accurate, and detailed analysis makes it a growing preference for industries looking to enhance productivity and ensure product quality.

Astrotech (NASDAQ: ASTC), an instrumentation company that designs, manufactures, and commercializes mass spectrometry solutions, is expanding access to this technology through Pro-Control and its other vertically focused subsidiaries.

Pro-Control, a true innovator, harnesses the power of advanced mass spectrometry in its Pro-Control-1000(TM) rugged factory-floor instrument that allows production managers access to real-time testing results providing actionable information where previously it would have taken hours or days. This immediate, on-site, access to the highly accurate MS data provided by the Pro-Control-1000(TM) increases potency, purity and ending weight yields.

Role in Petrochemical Processing

Mass spectrometry is an invaluable analytical technique in the petrochemical industry, allowing for the identification and quantification of individual chemical components present in complex petroleum samples. This data is crucial for optimizing production processes, monitoring emissions, and ensuring the quality of finished products.

Application in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

In pharmaceuticals, the precision of mass spectrometry is critical. It helps confirm drug molecules’ molecular structure and purity, which is essential for ensuring safety and efficacy. MS also plays a crucial role in identifying impurities or contaminants that might compromise the drug’s quality. Furthermore, it quantifies the levels of drugs in formulations, which is vital for accurate dosing. Another significant application is in characterizing protein-based biopharmaceuticals, such as antibodies, where MS provides essential information on molecular weight and structure.

Utility in the Food and Beverage Industry

The food and beverage sector also greatly benefits from mass spectrometry. MS techniques are used to test for pesticide residues, allergens, and other contaminants in food products. This helps ensure compliance with safety regulations and ensures consumer trust. Additionally, mass spectrometry assists in verifying the contents of nutritional labels—such as vitamins and proteins—enhancing label accuracy and transparency. It also detects food adulteration and identifies sources of spoilage or contamination, crucial for maintaining food quality.

Impact on Polymer and Materials Manufacturing

Mass spectrometry provides detailed insights into polymers’ molecular weights and compositions, which are vital for developing new materials with desired properties and performance. MS analyses additives and fillers in plastics and composites, ensuring products meet stringent quality specifications. It is also used to characterize surface coatings and thin films, critical for applications in industries like automotive and aerospace.

Role in Environmental Testing

Environmental testing is another critical application of mass spectrometry, where it identifies pollutants and toxins in air, water, and soil samples. This capability is essential for monitoring environmental health and compliance with regulations. Additionally, mass spectrometry measures isotopic ratios, aiding in geochemical and environmental tracing, which helps in understanding environmental changes and pollutant sources.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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