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.


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,,


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Tailor-made intralogistics solutions harness scalable control and drive technology
January 2020, Beckhoff Automation , System Integration & Control Systems Design
RO-BER Industrieroboter of Kamen, Germany, develops automation solutions based on area and linear gantry robots for intralogistics. These solutions, including the new Twin-Gantry robot system, are characterised ...

Festo’s digitalised product world
January 2020, Festo , System Integration & Control Systems Design
HoloLens, mobile phones, 3D printing and smart glasses – the gadgets that captured the public imagination in the blockbuster movie ‘Back to the Future’ over 30 years ago have now become a reality, all thanks to digitalisation.

Electromechanical motion products for the machines of today
January 2020, Parker Hannifin Sales Company South , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Engineers from the older generation will remember the days when machine design had to be based around catalogued electromechanical actuators.

Siemens contributes to Coca-Cola Beverages Africa’s digitalisation vision
January 2020 , System Integration & Control Systems Design
The Nairobi Bottler’s Embakasi Plant based in Nairobi, Kenya, a fully owned subsidiary of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), received a Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) training rig from Siemens Digital ...

PC-based control decorates plastic lids and containers
December 2019, Beckhoff Automation , System Integration & Control Systems Design
In-mold labelling (IML) is ideally suited to meet today’s customer requirements in the plastics industry, especially in the packaging segment.

Project-based learning challenges the modern engineering student
December 2019, Test Dynamics , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Projects that inherently challenge students to use innovative design thinking often involve interacting with an unknown process or device. Students are encouraged to understand the unknown through theory, ...

FieldEcho: the future of integrated IO-Link technology
December 2019, SICK Automation Southern Africa , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Integrated IO-Link technology that enables full data accessibility and transparency across all platforms is here with the FieldEcho from SICK Automation. IO-Link is an increasingly used manufacturer-independent ...

AI module improves industrial production
December 2019, Rockwell Automation , System Integration & Control Systems Design
Industrial workers can now use the data from their equipment more easily to predict production issues and improve processes with their existing automation and control skill set. The new FactoryTalk Analytics ...

DRH ensures clients remain at the forefront of bulk measurement with Bindicator range
December 2019 , System Integration & Control Systems Design
DRH Components was started in Durban in 2015 when Rob Hare and Kay Goutham retired from CHI Control (now Eaton), after four decades of service. The company has offices in Durban and Pretoria. Venture ...

All-rounders EHL handles projects from conceptualisation to completion
December 2019, EHL Consulting Engineers , System Integration & Control Systems Design
EHL is an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM), and engineering, procurement and construction services (EPCS) company that began operating in 1980. Manager of automation at EHL, ...