Stuck Ferrule Puller
Long before the Pittsburgh Conference, the tendency of ferrules to become stuck in the HPLC port (or CPI port) was noted.
Several 'in-house only' ferrule pullers were built to facilitate simple removal of both stuck ferrules, and broken one-piece HPLC fittings. A simple handle, anodized, then laser engraved was fabricated for an off-the-shelf screw extraxtor. Although originally conceived as a 'give away' for tradeshows and conferences, we occasionally received phone calls from customers who's system was out of order due to a stuck ferrule. These were never manufacture at adequate quantities to return a profit, rather we accepted a 'break even' (or close) as a return for perceived good will of those customers we had assisted.
Several varieties of the ferrule puller have been built. Some have a left-hand turn drill at one end to enlarge a hole in broken tubing such that the screw extractor can be inserted into the broken fitting. The tool shown in the photo has a small depression in the handle opposite the extractor. Tthis depression is sized to allow the user to slide ferrules along a piece of tubing, a very handy function when trying to properly seat tubing for low dispersion.
Many of customers who required emergency repairs created the situation unknowingly, by over-tightening 'pre UHPLC' fittings to attain high pressure holding capability. These fittings broke, leaving half of the fitting very securely lodged in the HPLC port. Often, this was the cause to scrap a perfectly good, and expensive HPLC column. If the user has been so unlocky as to break the fitting in their instrument, a serious downtime was possible, and in fact it is very easy to permanently damage an HPLC system if the broken fitting is not removed skillfully. To that end, the 'stuck ferrule extractor' tools were a specialized tool.