System Integration & Control Systems Design


Autotronix: Excellence in design and implementation at water quality laboratories

October 2012 System Integration & Control Systems Design

An Autotronix client, faced with an ageing laboratory infrastructure consisting of sampling lines that were a mix of copper, galvanised and stainless steel and a laboratory drainage system that spilled an unacceptable amount of water both inside and outside the building, decided that the time was right for a facility upgrade. This decision was taken because water quality monitoring is of prime importance to operations as staff use this information to control the various chemical dosing processes that maintain a high level of water quality at all times.

User requirements

The project required new laboratories to be constructed and equipped with new analytical instrumentation, whilst maintaining the existing sites in parallel. All new laboratories were to be located adjacent to outgoing supply lines with a requirement for the buildings to have internal environmental monitoring and control. The client quality control policy was for continuous water quality monitoring to meet the requirements of the World Health Organization drinking water quality and SANAS standards. The new laboratories had to meet international quality standards and obtain SANAS accreditation.

Instruments and related hardware also had to meet the required standards, be certified by the instrument vendors and be easy to maintain. All data required verification before logging to a central database for display on the dashboards of the various data subscribers.

Implementation

Since there were a number of stakeholders in this project, the first step was to develop a 3D model to demonstrate the appearance of the end product. This allowed potential problems to be identified and these were corrected prior to any bricks being laid. It was found that pilot laboratories, based on the 3D models, were not a good solution as they proved to be over engineered and costly. However, valuable lessons were learnt from the pilot and these were put to good use in the balance of the laboratories.

From the start, fortnightly project meetings were held and progress was continuously monitored for each facility. New materials were tried and tested before final material selections were made as the floors needed a chemical resistant coating, but also had to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to maintain. The Corian basins were custom made to suit the application in order to accommodate the existing sampling containers. All internal piping was designed from polished stainless steel and was custom made to the client specification.

For security, an access control system incorporating both a fingerprint recognition and a manual override was installed. Both systems are capable of maintaining privileges and access rights to the various sectors within the laboratories on a 24/7 basis.

Autotronix commissioned all instruments and maintained each laboratory for one year before the final handover. At this time the complete design packs were delivered to a customer well pleased with the end result in terms of excellence of design and functionality. The facility is also easy to maintain and can be scaled-up if and when required.

For more information contact Haroon Bassa, Autotronix, +27 (0)31 705 0402, haroon@autotronix.co.za, www.autotronix.co.za



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