Speaker interview: Michael Soll, Frontier Lab

In the first of our speaker interview series, we spoke to Michael Soll, European Business Development Manager at Frontier Lab. 

In his professional career since 1994, Michael functional experience included marketing, application and sales of analytical equipment, especially LC- and GC-coupled mass spectrometry, MALDI-TOF MS and chromatographic tools. At the end of 2014, he joined Frontier Laboratories, a global leading company in GC/MS coupled analytical pyrolysis for polymer characterization. Here, Michael manages and supports distribution partners and support users of analytical pyrolyses in whole Europe in terms of applications and technical concerns. He also does marketing directed to customers and represent Frontier Lab at exhibitions or conferences as speaker.

Michael will speak on ‘Analysis of recycled materials: polymers, additives and RoHS relevant contaminations’ in the Polymer Testing World Expo conference theatre. 

What are the biggest challenges facing the market today and how can this be overcome?

New regulations, which are related to sustainability and environmental issue) are causing new analytical challenges every company need to address. One example is the need to increase the ratio of recycled materials in production (for example in automotive industry) but keeping the same product quality. Also, new analytical procedures and methods need to be developed to analyse and quantify recycled materials within native materials. To overcome this challenge, industry and instrument producers need to work closely together and work on a matrix of analytical approaches to enable a complete characterization of complex materials.


In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last 3 years?

Thinking about environment and sustainability it was a great initiative and achievement to develop analytical tools for microplastic detection and quantification, as well as for complex materials like recycled materials. You cannot manage what you cannot measure!


How do you see the sector developing in the next two to five years?

Analytical instrumentation in polymer labs will keep track on the newest requirements. I am looking forward to growing business in environment and recycled material testing also by sophisticated new systems. For example high resolution mass spectrometry is more and more used for polymer characterization to overcome some limitation of “routine” instruments for complex compositions of polymeric materials.


You will be speaking at AMI’s plastics industry expos in Europe in September, could you give us a preview on what you will be talking about?

I will talk about analysis of recycled materials used in commodity goods and children toys. In this study ,we have found some concerning contaminations especially in a children toy identified as halogenated flame retardants. In this case the concentration of brominated flame retardants exceeded the threshold of 1000 ppm based on ROHS directive. This means that recycled materials needs to get analysed by an exact and sensitive analytical method like Pyrolysis-GC/MS to identify and quantify restricted contaminations like this before they can enter the market.

See Michael speak at Polymer Testing World Expo Europe.