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Labware's LIMS Mining Solution, Key to Lab Success

Saúl Mendoza - LabWare
Regional Director Latin America


Alejandro Ehrenberg By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Tue, 06/09/2020 - 15:47

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Q: Which LabWare solutions are being deployed in the fight against COVID-19?

A: We have devised a solution consisting of a mobile kit to test for COVID-19. It includes our software and an instrument that notifies you within 10 minutes if a person has the virus. The information is sent to government health agencies in a matter of seconds and databases are kept under close scrutiny. We are looking to introduce this into Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

Regarding our clients, our software supports them in a very useful way. Most of them have been quarantined. We provide them with two ways of accessing their data without having to physically be in the laboratory or the mine. First, we have a web plugin that allows our clients to view their data in real-time. Also, we have developed a mobile app where clients can access their cellphones and understand what is going on at their plants, tech departments and labs. To sum up, we are providing a solution that may help government health departments in the fight against COVID-19. Also, we are helping our clients to keep working while they practice social distancing.

Q: How does your LIMS solution dovetail with your ELN solution to form a single product?

A: LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) is the main software. It structures all your processes, systems and methods. Together with the LabWare ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook) serves to complete the Enterprise Laboratory Platform software product Suite. This allows any data within LIMS to be accessible by ELN and vice versa.

Specifically, LIMS allows the automation of your laboratory. It interfaces with other systems, such as ERPs, geology systems, robots, and any other hand-held devices that are used in a lab, centralizing the information and making it available through comprehensive and easy to use visual workflows. Also, the ELN responds to one of the industry's long time needs which is method execution. Through ELN you can make sure that the methods in your laboratory are executed step by step and guide your technicians every step of the way. This is specifically useful in relation to R&D — when something new is being developed. By its own nature, LIMS helps you when you want to be creative. On the other hand, ELN provides clients with a structured way to create experiments as their needs. They can freely develop new ways of using their laboratories to get novel results.

Q: What specific solutions do you have for mining and what problem do they solve?

A: Most of our clients have always bought our system non-configured with the starting point being one of our Template solutions (preconfigured modules required by the industry or business). That means that you start out with a starting point using industry best practices, and then work with us to configure the system according to your specific needs. Nevertheless, some clients do not need the full solution. They only need it for sample quality control so they can present the results to their clients. We came up with a specific “vertical” solution based on our 10 years of experience in Latin America. We preconfigured our system and developed a tailor-made solution for the specific needs of Latin American miners. The system only does what it needs to do, so it is limited in that sense. If the client wants to expand, he can expand easily. We just have to install added modules. This specific solution for the mining industry is called Mining Template. Its benefits include a much faster implementation than the full system: 16 days versus six months and the price point is lower.

Mining Template is based on accumulated best practices in Latin America. That allows it to tackle some of the most important challenges mining labs face. For example, many laboratories want to become ISO-17025-certified. We have included in our Mining Template all the characteristics of ISO 17025. Mining Template lets the laboratory work under ISO specifications. Also, we have included in the software guidelines that governments require for sustainability reporting, specifically in Mexico and Chile. That enables clients to generate all the data they need for those reports.

Q: What is one success story for LabWare in Mexico’s mining industry?

A: In 2008, Peñoles came to us because they needed help managing the samples at their central laboratory in Torreon, called Met Mex. We were able to halve their processing time in the first phase of implementation. After that, once the system started working at full force, the software cut that half into another half. That happened within a year. Soon after, we received interest from other Peñoles mines and from Fresnillo mines. We implemented the software in the mines, which received the same benefits as Met Mex. Additionally, we centralized all the data in one central system where they can analyze and study all data from all the mines and laboratories. They can receive just one report that lets them know exactly where all their samples are. We effectively streamlined all the laboratories from each company as well as the central laboratory. They also implemented the software into their processing plants, like Quimica del Rey. All the data now goes into one system. Most recently, they added a feature for doing everything via web interphase. They can now analyze data and generate reports in real-time. That solved the problem of mines being located in remote regions. They used to transfer their data via satellite or microwave, which is not so efficient.

Q: How do you respond to the objection that LIMS offers too many functions and that one single customer cannot use all of them?

A: Our system is modular but you do not have to install all possible modules, only the ones that you need. It is true that all the modules are available and can be added in real-time. But LabWare works with its clients to understand the needs and challenges to overcome within the laboratory to develop a tailored solution. And we are able to do this due to our team of LIMS experts located in Mexico and several other countries in Latin America. The fact that we are able to come up with a Mining Template that can be installed in 16 days is a testament to our ability to focus.

LabWare provides laboratory informatics solutions. LabWare’s products have been proven in a wide range of industries for over 30 years. The company develops, markets and supports a single well-planned suite of products. At the forefront of its Enterprise Laboratory Platform (ELP) are its flagship products, LabWare LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System) and LabWare ELN (Electronic Laboratory Notebook).

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