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Laboratory Automation > Case Studies > Water Analysis

Astech offer solutions for all of the commonly encountered regulatory water tests. Astech have solutions for waste water testing, clean water testing, microbiology tests and organics. Our solutions offer fully automated testing of water samples, including sample storage, handling, sub-sampling, analysis and data management of results. Full sample tracking is provided using barcodes or RFID tags throughout the entire automated process.

Laboratory Automation > Case Studies > Water Analysis

Astech offer solutions for all of the commonly encountered regulatory water tests. Astech have solutions for waste water testing, clean water testing, microbiology tests and organics. Our solutions offer fully automated testing of water samples, including sample storage, handling, sub-sampling, analysis and data management of results. Full sample tracking is provided using barcodes or RFID tags throughout the entire automated process.

Key systems include:

  • Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
  • pH testing
  • Colour, Conductivity and Turbidity Analysis
  • Microbiology prep and Plate Count
  • Organics sample prep and automated sample analysis

Key features common to all Astech solutions are:

  • Intuitive GUI applications developed by our software group
  • Advanced data management and LIMS connectivity
  • Real-time parallel operation using Astech’s real-time state engine
  • CE/UL marking as appropriate
  • Conformance to Safety Of Machinery regulations
  • ATEX (Explosive Atmosphere) assessment and conformance
water analysis

Water Company Case Study Requirements

In order to meet throughput requirements, the laboratory manager at a water company identified the requirement for an auto-analysis test cell for the automated analysis of bottled clean-water samples. They contracted Astech to design, build and install an Auto-Analysis Test Cell to perform colour, conductivity and turbidity tests.

Astech Projects Solution

The Astech Auto-Analysis Test Cell (ATC) analyses bottled clean water samples for determination of colour, turbidity and conductivity. Each bottled sample may be analysed for any combination of the determinants. This is achieved using a worksheet. Each bottled sample has a worksheet associated with it that schedules the analysis required for the sample. The worksheet is received from the company’s Laboratory Management System (LMS).
The ATC processes samples in batches following fixed scheduling rules. The rules require sample standards (calibrations) and Analytical Quality Calibrations (AQCs) to be inserted within the batch at fixed points.

Sample bottles are delivered to the ATC by the Laboratory Transport System. Bottles are delivered in crates, capable of holding a maximum of 12 bottles. Calibration and AQC samples are stored in identical bottles at fixed positions within the ATC enclosure. These bottles are pre-prepared and loaded by the user.

A Gantry robot picks and places bottled samples, including calibrations and AQCs within the ATC enclosure. Two decapper units de-lid sample bottles. A sample station sub-samples and analyses open bottle samples for the scheduled determinants. The instruments required for colour, turbidity and conductivity analysis are located on a shelf, beneath the main enclosure bench. The shelf is located to minimise tubing and cabling distances.

All bottled samples are scanned by a Bar Code Reader (BCR) prior to analysis. This barcode conveys the required determinants and then the ATC cross-references this with the known worksheets to determine the necessary analysis.
A facility for the user to load a small number of sample bottles manually into fixed positions within the ATC enclosure has been provided. These samples are processed in an identical manner to sample bottles delivered by the Laboratory Transport System.

 

Conclusion

By investing in the Auto-Analysis Test Cell, the water company were able to fully automate their determination of colour, turbidity and conductivity in bottled clean water samples. A barcode system was used to track the samples and link them to the Laboratory Management System. The ATC layout was designed to provide maximum efficiency, reliability, and accuracy of results.

By automating the determination of colour, turbidity and conductivity the water company managed to decrease analytical variability, and significantly increased sample throughput.

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