Process Technical Services (PTS) can provide the laboratory technician training essential to the operation of the plant. The laboratory technician examines and tests samples taken from intermediate steps in the process and from the final product. The analytical results the laboratory technician produces are essential for the safe and effective operation of the plant and consistent quality in the refined product. Sometimes they are essential for maintaining the safety of the plant operations as well.
The laboratory technician may be faced with learning a wide variety of analytical procedures, which can range from wet chemical tests to process gas chromatographs, to mass spec analyses. Laboratory technician training provides the individual with the skills needed to perform all of the procedures performed by the laboratory.
Before any laboratory technician training can occur laboratory procedures, both analytical and operational, must be in place. Process Technical Services (PTS) can provide procedure writers to produce all of the written procedures needed. Not only do these procedures assure control over laboratory operations, they also provide a partial basis for securing ISO 9000 certification. PTS has the experienced and trained personnel available to assist an organization in obtaining ISO 9000 certification.
The operation procedures specify the handling of samples, reporting of results, safety procedures, safety equipment and apparel, and a management structure for laboratory operations. Equally important is the safe and environmentally correct disposal of sample material used in the analyses.
There is a very definite reason for having carefully developed procedures and detailedlaboratory technician training. Plants normally run 24 hours per day. This requires having the laboratory operating on the same schedule as the plant. During nights and weekends there may be little or no supervision in the laboratory. The technicians are responsible for the operation of the lab. Without written procedures and a careful program for training laboratory technicians, problems could possibly develop in the plant.
One area of particular importance in a process laboratory is keeping the analytical instruments in calibration. As much as one-third of the analyses run in a process laboratory are calibration runs. Equipment such as, gas chromatographs, infrared and UV analyzers, pH meters, near infra-red analyzers and many specialized analytical tools need frequent recalibration.
The laboratory technician training procedures include lessons on statistical analysis. Many organizations use statistical process control to bring the organization to Six Sigma levels of quality. This means that the probability of an out-of-spec measurement occurring is less than four in one million.
Traditional statistical process controls in manufacturing operations usually proceed by randomly sampling and testing a fraction of the output. Variances of critical tolerances are continuously tracked, and manufacturing processes are corrected before out-of-spec material can be produced. The process laboratory produces the analytical results that enter into the statistical process control algorithms.
Particular attention must be paid to the safe storage and handling of the calibration source samples and other materials used to calibrate the instruments. Often prolonged exposure to air or light may cause these calibration samples to change. Sometimes they must be kept in a frozen state or refrigerated. Procedures for handling calibration material require special attention.
PTS can provide the laboratory procedures and the laboratory technician training needed to ensure that reliable analytical results can be produced from the process laboratory 24 hours per day