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How does the lab of future look like?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

According to a survey conducted by the business consulting firm PricewaterCoopers, smart businesses register up to US$ 421 billion in efficiency gains. Laboratories for petroleum testing also profit from the digital revolution. As all other human activities, fuel monitoring and quality control measurements are now digitized. 

But what exactly makes a business – or a laboratory, for that matter – "smart"? Smart businesses use cyber-physical systems in their workflow. Analogously, smart labs use automatic analytical instruments and connections. Automatic instruments and connections differ from non-automatic instruments and connections in their ability to correlate information. They capture, process and integrate data independently or with minimal human intervention.

A good example for a modern and automatic analytical instrument is Grabner Instruments' MINIVAP VP Vision. This tester measures the vapor pressure of petroleum samples between 0-2000 kPa. If required, this highly precise tester can fully connect to the cloud and allow mobile analyzer access, anytime and anywhere.

The lab of the future is digital

Organizations such as ASTM International and ISO decide on the standards and procedures, to make laboratory work comparable, accurate and repeatable, independent from the operator and the location. Automation and digitization facilitates compliance with these industry standards and reduces operator bias.

Keeping up with the digital trend and aiming at easing the roll-out of quality assurance programs in labs of all sizes, Grabner Instruments releases a PC software for statistical quality control in April 2018. COCKPITTM SQC allows to evaluate the performance of MINIVAP VP Vision vapor pressure testers. It is fully compliant with the ASTM-D699 requirements and plots measurement data in I-charts, MR of two-charts and normal probability charts, as required.

The lab of the future is mobile

Mobility is another identifying characteristic of the lab of the future. Transporting samples between a gas station and a testing facility is impractical and time-consuming, whereas on-site measurements allow immediate evaluation of a sample quality, without delay.

Such on-the-spot measurements require analytical instruments, that are small and that are easy to operate, even by untrained professionals. The Grabner MINIVAP VP Vision for example is portable and weights just a little over 10 kilos. Its full-color touch-screen and app-like interface makes it possible for field personnel to run tests in accordance to ASTM and EN standard practices.

The new COCKPITTM SQC also fits the mobility trend. Using the software, lab managers can store and evaluate measurements obtained from different analyzers and different locations in one central database. Grabner Instruments' small analyzers and software for statistical quality control reinforce the position of the company as an ideal partner for equipping mobile laboratories with state-of-the-art fuel testers.