Andrés Ferrara
Director General
Analitek
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View from the Top

Integrated High Precision Analytical Systems

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 16:39

Q: Drawing on over 50 years of experience, how has Analitek evolved with the mining industry?

A: Mining has been a historical client for companies dedicated to selling and servicing analytical instrumentation. Atomic spectroscopy is one of the oldest analytical techniques, and has been used since the beginning of the 1950s. Mining companies are constantly searching for more sensitive and precise information analysis in order to make fast strategic decisions on exploration and mineral resources geology. This has brought many new technologies, such as the ICP (Plasma Spectrometer), ICPs coupled with mass spectrometry, and more recently the MP-AES.

The company started in 1994 in the north of the country, offering reliable analytical instruments that allow informed decision making. From there, we started developing the technical capabilities for mounting and installation, developing applications, and to really understand the market’s needs. Our company has had a strong technical influence from the beginning, given my partner’s and my professional experience in the industry. Analitek established a strategic alliance with a renowned analytical instrument manufacturer, Agilent Technologies, which is a market leader in chromatography technology. We added value over time with services such as quality management programs, working with clients to help them obtain national or international certification, and programs that offer the client assurance that their results will be measurable and tangible. We offer integrated solutions focused on providing – mostly to clients opening a laboratory – products, services and components in tools, design, furniture, sample preparation, and general equipment, together with a design that ensures the right sample flow rate and the best conditions for reaching the sensitivity or the limits required. With our central offices in Monterrey we cover the states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes and Tamaulipas. It is in these territories that the mining industry experienced its major boom, and we have been working with all national companies that have a presence in the area. We have also collaborated with many Canadian and American exploration companies that have been attracted to the precious metals market.

Q: How does your company’s collaboration with Agilent Technologies add value to Analitek’s product and service offering?

A: Agilent Technologies is a company that has been developing technology since its origins in the 1950s, and today Agilent is the market leader in liquid and gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Three years ago Agilent acquired Varian Instruments, a leader in atomic and molecular spectrometry, to become the number one company in analytics technology and instrumentation. Thanks to this, and to the developed Japanese technology of ICPs coupled with mass spectrometry, Agilent today has the most complete range of instrumentation in the industry.

Q: What is the scope of products that Analitek currently offers to the mining industry?

A: In terms of laboratory equipment, we have the traditional atomic absorption techniques, and ICP, which are needed to run samples of precious minerals, sand and of any geological material. We also offer laboratory products that are more focused on research, in which specific mass spectrometry analysis is conducted. In mining, it is used for obtaining detailed information on specific geological materials. For out-of-laboratory analysis we have very light (5kg), completely portable equipment working with X-Ray fluorescence, which provides instant results on the composition of geological material. Geologists can instantly know the concentration of different elements and estimate the geological potential of the area.

Analitek services all different phases and processes in the mining industry with portable, field, and laboratory analytical equipment. Our portable equipment can perform fast superficial screenings on mineral veins, allowing geologists to decide quickly where to go in difficult access areas. Our innovative equipment for field laboratories, the MP-AES 4,100, performs elemental geological sample analysis without the need for gases such as argon or nitrogen oxide. Analitek builds laboratories and provides not only the instrumentation to equip them, but also the design and the furniture itself, in order to protect the machinery and samples from aggressive conditions and the corrosive reagents they are exposed to. We conduct research and test equipment for laboratories in mining camps, such as the one set up for Peñoles in Torreon.

Q: How is Analitek making sure that the personnel operating each piece of technology is properly equipped to manage and operate the equipment?

A: Our job is to secure our clients’ return on investment, among other things, by training new and experienced personnel that will be assigned to the equipment, and sometimes by suggesting to our clients the profile to hire. For over 15 years the company has held strategic alliances with the local universities of Coahuila, Durango, Chihuahua, and San Luis Potosi. Through these agreements we provide internship opportunities and cooperate with diplomas and training programs for the management of such technology.

Q: What are the advantages of having an onsite laboratory inside the mine camp?

A: Having an in-house analytical asset provides a competitive advantage to any mining company, thanks to the time that is saved not having to send samples to other states, or even to other countries. Analitek has portable technologies and laboratory equipment that do not require gases that are difficult to get hold of, transport, and store, therefore allowing sensitive and precise information to be available even faster. The laboratory technology for mass spectrometry is not yet available in the field; however, most of the analysis obtained by atomic adsorption is now available in remote areas, thanks to our new MP-AES, and to state of the art portable equipment.

Q: What are the company’s ambitions for the coming five years?

A: Our goal is to provide higher precision information that will have a positive impact on decision making, as well as contributing to providing a faster return on investment for the client. In the coming five years Analitek seeks to duplicate its presence in Mexico, and even expand our current services and technologies to new markets. Analitek is currently covering the metal-mechanic, environmental, food and beverage, academic, research and oil and gas industries. The idea is to bring our ideas and innovations to customers throughout the whole of Mexico.