ALS Tribology eSource
March 22, 2012

Sample Submission Makes a Difference
by Patrick Kilbane, CLS
Business Development Manager

One of the most important aspects of a fluid analysis program is the correct identification of the sample. There are many ways to identify a sample, some come with the potential for errors while others minimize or even negate the possibility all together. Common methods for submitting samples include Sample Information Forms (SIFs), Barcode Labels, and Unique Identification Number (UIN ) submissions.

 In the past most samples were accompanied with a sample information form (SIF). In this case the unit identification was written on the form with or without additional information and submitted to the laboratory. Unfortunately, if the unit identification is slightly different or hard to read, the potential for inaccurate data entry increases.  All components in our system today have a Unique Identification Number (UIN) assigned to them.  No two UINs are alike in our system. The Sample Information Forms now include a place for the UIN to be written in for a given sample. If the customer gives the UIN assigned to a component, then the sample can easily and accurately be entered for that component. The laboratory still will need to enter other information such as the sample date, time on oil, time on component along with any other pertinent information.


The preferred method for submitting samples is to print barcoded labels directly from Webtrieve, ALS Tribology’s online reporting tool. The options include using a Brother QL570 thermal printer, which resists oil staining of the labels, or printing to a laser or inkjet printer using Avery 5163 labels. In either case the printed product will include the UIN, a sample date, and additional information that can be added prior to printing. This method not only eliminates the possibility of errors, it also is the fastest way for the samples to get entered for analysis. An added benefit is the ability to track samples that have been received and are in testing. Even if you don’t have a QL570 printer or Avery 5163 labels, you can still use this method and print to plain paper. This paper can be included in the box with the samples (identified on the cap by UIN or the Unit ID). The paper itself can be scanned just like the  actual labels. Bulk submissions will allow you to add time on oil and time on units if needed, where a quick submission will add tomorrow’s date and component information only. If samples are prepaid you must include the SIF as that is proof of payment or you could be billed again!


The last option is to submit samples with the UIN numbers on the caps after going through the sample submission process on Webtrieve.   Once a label is previewed, it is considered printed and submitted to the holding database. In this case Data Entry will add the UIN, and the rest of the information will be downloaded. This isn’t as efficient as the barcode method and has some potential for error. However, if you do not have a printer but have internet access this is an option.  If samples are prepaid you still must include the SIF to show proof of payment. 


The submission options listed above provide a variety of ways to submit samples. The more accurate the information provided along with the increased efficiency in entering the data, the better your turnaround and analysis will be.

 

 

 

 

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