Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS)

For a client in water quality testing industry with NATA accreditation we have built the IMS as per request to manage the calculations of various tests.

Initial situation

Client had spreadsheets to calculate results of tests. Various readings have been taken and the results were calculated out of those readings based on various formulas. These were reported to their clients. There was a problem with these spreadsheets they had error in calculation and we were approached to fix these. For each type of sample there was different spreadsheet typically they had about 40 various sets of samples. There were different sampling points, each sampling point had its own spreadsheet typically about 10 sampling points per client. There was about 100 clients. Bottom line - there was around 40,000 spreadsheets to fix. That was turning point to convert the spreadsheets to the LIMS.

Beginnings

Initially the system designed covered the calculation of the results from bench test analysis. In the process following was found:

  • Results were more accurate than in spreadsheets (in some cases there was more than 5% variance)

Expansion

Some other contractor was appointed to do the work on system to integrate the ICP MS. The work was not accomplished after 18 months. At that time, our client appointed us to integrate the ICP OES, which was bit simpler to work with. The functional program was written within a month, integrated with the initial system, which already held the information about samples. In next month the ICP MS was integrated as easies as it could be. The work has been made easy for staff operating the ICP MS and ICP OES. A lot of time in preparation for the run was saved and results were displayed and colour coded with warning value levels set.

Conclusion

Extremely complex system which was fully scalable with ability to modify the calculations of each test. The integration of the ICP MS and OES to the system, as external industrial machines running the tests on metals and producing the results. The results collected evaluated and interpreted for humans to easily understand what they represent. The system was great success and cost less then half price of the off shelf LIMS.