Autoscribe Informatics

Matrix express makes Water testing lab more efficient case study


Courtesy of Autoscribe Informatics

Matrix Express LIMS allowed The Water Lab to improve its efficiency and provide a faster service by streamlining the processing and management of sample information.

The Water Lab ( is a modern, fully calibrated ISO17025 environmental contract laboratory based in Co. Kildare, Ireland. Providing a wide range of water and waste water testing services, including sampling and collection, the laboratory prides itself on its fast response to its customers' needs. The introduction of Autoscribe Informatics' Matrix Express LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) has streamlined the processing and management of sample information and report generation, saving more than 3 person days/week. This in turn leads to quicker turn-around times for samples.

The Water Lab is equipped to serve the entire water and waste water sector, offering a comprehensive contract testing service for drinking water (well water or mains water), trade discharge, ground water, leachate, surface water etc Testing capabilities include BOD. spectrophotometry, microbiology (including Legionella), conductivity. pH, nutrients etc The Water Lab serves both private companies and public bodies, and the company has recently worked with INAB (Irish National Accreditation Board) to achieve ISOI7025 accreditation. INAB is the statutory body responsible for GLP {Good Laboratory Practice) and is the competent body for EMAS (European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).

In addition, The Water Lab participates in the proficiency testing/inter-laboratory comparison scheme for the chemical testing of waters operated by the Environmental Protection Agency to further ensure the quality of analysis.

The Water Lab's typical clients are private companies operating waste water treatment plants who subcontract their sample analysis. This has resulted in a lot of repeat business, and most of these repeat customers request the same suite of tests each time they submit samples. Prior to the adoption of a LIMS, The Water Lab was managing sample, test and result data using many Excel*' files. This was proving to be cumbersome and unwieldy, especially as the laboratory handles around 6,000 samples/year, with each sample typically requiring 4-5 tests. The Water Lab prides itself both on the quality of its analyses and its customer service. Although repeat sampling and testing can be scheduled in a structured way, it is not uncommon for very fast turn-round times to be required on other types of samples -particularly if there is a health risk to the public from suspected E.coli or Legionella contamination, for example. The laborious data management processes were taking up valuable analysts' time which could have been better spent actually carrying out the analyses. An additional challenge was the implementation and management of the chosen LIMS itself. The Water Lab does not have any specialist IT support, so it was important that the new system did not require extensive programming skills.

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