MOBILE ANALYTICAL LABORATORIES: WHY GO MOBILE?

By QLS

In both the water/wastewater and mining industries, operations rely very heavily on effective analytical services. This is critical for reliable chemical and microbiological analysis. However, across most sectors, many organisations do not have the required resources, infrastructure, or in-house expertise to conduct these analyses.

This concern has been further reinforced during the Covid-19 Pandemic where budgets have been stretched to their limits, and travel to and from analytical laboratories has become a complex logistical and compliance process. This is especially true for instances when samples need to cross borders in Africa.

Solution: Mobile Analytical Labs

“These organisations require a practical solution that can provide exactly what is needed in a convenient and seamless way,” explains Chris Jansen van Vuuren, Area Manager at QLS. “A solution that is fast gaining momentum is the utilisation of mobile laboratories. While mobile laboratories have been in use in highly specialised regions and functionalities for decades, modern technological advancements have now allowed for mobile laboratories to become more accessible to the wider public.”

The Benefits of a Mobile Laboratory

Van Vuuren explains that mobile laboratories are functioning laboratory units that are housed in and mounted on vehicles. “These fully operational, containerised laboratories can then be driven to remote sites that would not have access to these functionalities without it,” he adds.

Some benefits include:

  • Significantly reduced costs
  • Labs can be built and mobilised within a short period of time
  • Ease of access, even to remote locations
  • Can easily be relocated to another site on short notice
  • On-site testing and results speed up processing, allowing for faster and more accurate decision making

Why ISO 17025 Laboratory Accreditation is Essential

“When utilising a mobile laboratory service, it is imperative that organisations ensure that it is certified by a regulatory body such as having an ISO 17025 Laboratory Accreditation, which the QLS mobile labs carry,” explains Van Vuuren. These certifications give reassurance that the results are reliable, consistent, and precise – and are generated using industry-standard protocols. This certification also avoids inaccurate test measurements being received, due to the use of unstandardised tools, testing protocols, and procedures.

Other benefits of ISO 17025 accreditation include:

  • Establishing technical competency in the event of speculation and/or legitimacy issues
  • Increased laboratory efficiency
  • Improved service and customer satisfaction
  • Traceability of measurements and calibrations
  • Ensuring appropriate handling and movement of test items
  • High quality testing environment and sampling is maintained

The Distinctive QLS Mobile Labs

At QLS, the mobile analytical laboratories are uniquely designed to accommodate the client’s specific needs. As a result, these labs deliver on the client’s scope of work for any project, of any size.

These mobile labs cater for the full South African National Standard (SANS) 241 analysis of microbiological, physical, aesthetic, and chemical determinants of water. This is imperative in many regions of Africa.

“Going mobile affords organisations the opportunity to have affordable, reliable, and valid testing laboratories on-site, without massive capital expenditure. We can cater for any need – from a fully containerised sample preparation laboratory (such as a Fire Assay Laboratory) to a mineral processing laboratory for the mining or water industry. These mobile laboratories are modular, meaning that they can grow and expand with an organisation as the business grows and its needs increase,” concludes Van Vuuren.

For more information about QLS’s Mobile Analytical Labs, please contact Nandi Wheeler at nandi.wheeler@qualitylabs.co.za .