The heart of a HPLC system is the column. The column contains the particles that contains the stationary phase. The mobile phase is pumped through the column by a pump.
The mixture to be separated is injected into the flowing mobile phase by an injector. In the animation below the injector injects a mixture of blue and red molecules into the mobile phase.
When the mobile phase passes through the column that contains the stationary phase, the molecules that adsorbs most to the stationary phase migrates slowest through the column. When the mobile phase has passed through the column it enters into the detector that detects the different molecules as they have pass through it. A signal goes from the detector to a printer that presents the separation graphically.