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Instrumentation and Control
PGM producer to receive mobile laboratory
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2nd November 2007
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Scientific equipment supplier Wirsam Scientific & Precision Equipment is to supply a mobile laboratory to primary producer of platinum-group metals (PGM) Lonmin, in November.

This is the latest order the company has received for these units.

The need for customers to mobilise laboratories in rural areas or difficult areas, as well the existence of short-term projects, were the motivators for the design of these labora- tories, which were first constructed 15 years ago.

"It is a cost-effective way to maintain control over instrumentation, especially in Third World countries. It gives field operators an opportunity to speed up their site work by getting immediate results, and not having to wait for an off-site laboratory to issue results," says the company.

The mobile units are custom-made to suit customer application requirements and are used for various applications from mining, to education, research, and medical applications.

The units typically consist of a six-metre container, which is fitted with windows and burglar bars, electrical power, lights, a basin, and extraction fans.

Each unit is measured up according to customer application in order to increase the space availability in the container. Laboratory furniture and equipment are then installed.

Despite being used for a range of applications from HIV testing and screening to biological applications and research, the units most regular application has been sample preparation.

For the sample preparation mobile laboratories, Boyd crushers, rotating sample dividers, mills, ovens, analytical balances, air compressors and rifflers are typically installed. Some customers also have Olympus microscopes, X-ray fluorescence or X-ray diffraction equipment, atomic absorption equipment, microwave digestion equipment, and other related equipment installed.

"At present, it is mostly being used for projects requiring sample preparation laboratories, where the units will be moved from site to site. Most are being shipped across borders to South African Development Community countries," states the company.

According to Wirsam, the containers have already proven to be very successful, and it says, "The project managers are able to control their instrumentation investments, and move them around the specific country or countries, from one site to another, as required."

Finally, Wirsam will in the near future be constructing a unit with microscopes installed in the labor-atory, which is being donated by the company, to the Microscopy Society of Southern Africa.

"The unit will be moved from school to school in rural areas to educate learners and expose them to science in a way their schools may otherwise not be able to afford," says the company.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer


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The mobile laboratory is a cost effective way to maintain control over instrumentation

MOBILE LABORATORY The mobile laboratory is a cost effective way to maintain control over instrumentation