News Article

LabWare: Best Choice for Miners to Manage Info Remotely

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Fri, 10/16/2020 - 12:54

If miners want to get ahead of the latest trends, they will need to get on board with smart technologies. One solid step in that direction is the adoption of laboratory information management systems (LIMS), the focus of a webinar held earlier in the week and hosted by LabWare, the leader in LIMS, in collaboration with Mexico Business News.

The keynote speakers during Wednesday’s webinar included LabWare experts who explained how to use LIMS for logging, tracking, recording and reporting on samples and scientific data in a structured and consistent manner. Themes ranged from how to implement LIMS to organize labs; and how to deploy LIMS to document and track a sample through its entire life span. In addition to LabWare speakers, the webinar included two LIMS users from First Majestic, a top mining operator, who confirmed the usefulness of LIMS. Introductory remarks were made by Pedro Layton, Commercial Director for Latin America at LabWare.

Atziyeri Villegas, Sales Representative of LabWare, highlighted the main trends in the mining industry, including the rise of socially-responsible companies and of ESG investment. She emphasized the importance of data digitalization and automation of processes, underlining cybersecurity as well. Villegas concluded her survey of these trends by demonstrating the crucial role that mining can play in achieving a low-carbon economy and said that, if the industry is to rise to the task, it has to adopt smart technologies. Villegas stated that LabWare’s value proposition is to provide software that enables miners to profitably jump on these trends.

Villegas presented some of the benefits of implementing LabWare’s LIMS in mining laboratories. She began with data digitalization. This has several goals. First, it sets the right foundation for operating. Second, it makes it possible to habilitate the data capacity of specific team members. Third, data digitalization enables operators to access data from anywhere and at any moment. Finally, it makes it possible to extract value from data and make better decisions. These goals are relevant throughout the life cycle of a mine, from exploration to the deliverance of processed ore to clients.

Villegas then examined the significance of data integrity. This means the maintenance and assurance of the accuracy and consistency of data over its entire life cycle. She pointed out that it is a critical aspect of the design, implementation and usage of any system that stores, processes or retrieves data, like LIMS. State-of-the-art software is necessary to achieve data integrity and Villegas said that LIMS can help miners to this end. LabWare’s LIMS centralizes all different areas where data is scattered in a mining operation but presents the data in a way that is relevant to each department, like geology or laboratories.

Villegas concluded her presentation by explaining the benefits of laboratory automation. This minimizes human error and integrates all the components of a mining operation with the goal of streamlining daily operations.   

Santiago Flecha, Senior Technical Sales Manager at LabWare, demonstrated areas LIMS could be applied. He showed the audience the work panels that LIMS generates. These can be oriented to specific roles within the laboratory. Flecha mentioned how LIMS is also perfect for individual technicians to organize their workload. Moreover, decision-making is enhanced with LIMS, given the real-time access to information it provides while eliminating the need for extensive clerical work. Thanks to LIMS, laboratories can easily generate comprehensive traceability reports that can be shared with relevant stakeholders in a matter of seconds. Flecha concluded that LIMS’ major benefits include real-time communication, immediate access to information, organization of laboratory tasks, laboratory automation, information centralization and an enhanced capacity to proactively make decisions.

Mario Díaz, LIMS specialist at First Majestic, shared his experience as an experienced LIMS user. He reported that all of First Majestic’s operations are running LabWare’s LIMS. The company started building its LIMS infrastructure from a central laboratory at its La Parrilla mine. From there, it started building a complete automated laboratory system encompassing all its operations. First Majestic has 206 registered LIMS users. Diaz pointed out that thanks to LabWare’s LIMS, he can integrate and centralize information of samples, instruments and even personnel. He also highlighted that LabWare’s LIMS can be interfaced with other apps like Qlikview or Balance Systems.

Teresita Guerra, Central Lab and Assays Superintendent at First Majestic, concluded the webinar. She said that the greatest benefit the mining company she represents has gained from LIMS is being able to pass the ISO 9001 2015 audits easily. Straightforward sample traceability has been key to that achievement. Guerra highlighted LIMS’ graphs and KPI feature, by means of which laboratory optimization is maximized. She added that after installing LIMS, First Majestic’s laboratories experienced 100 percent improvement in delivery times, 50 percent less downtime, 60 percent more productivity and 100 percent more traceability.

Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst