Written by Paula Underwood
The Fort Meade, Maryland Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory needs to measure incoming water pressure for their Reverse Osmosis (RO) Water Purifier. Currently, when the water pressure drops, they have no way of knowing. This affects the Analytical Machines that use the RO machine, as it stops making water for critical processes.
Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory
The Fort Meade, Maryland Forensic Toxicology Drug Testing Laboratory uses two large volume chemistry analyzers that require deionized water to perform screening immunoassay testing for drugs of abuse for the Department of Defense Military and Civilian personnel.
In the past, the laboratory has had issues with the water pressure available to keep the deionized water system up and running with an amount of treated water necessary to keep the instruments operating. When the instrument sensors detect an inadequate water flow the instruments shut down with no notice. When the instruments shut down due to this issue, the technicians may have to retest as many as six batches of specimens, must correct the water issue (get it started again), wait for a supply of water to be generated (in the water reservoir), re-start the instrument and possibly recalibrate the instrument, all of which can take up to two or more hours to get production started again.
The laboratory recognizes that when the water pressure drops for reasons within the community (line breaks, excessive use, water line flushing) that this does trigger the same error -inadequate water flow shuts down the instruments. The laboratory installed an auxiliary pump to keep the water pressure being supplied to the deionized water system operating through some of these events, but still when the water flow is decreased the auxiliary pump recognizes the issue and it shuts off to save the pump. However, the chemistry instrument will run until the reservoir is empty then they shut down. The laboratory still has no way to know that the water system is malfunctioning until it is too late.
To solve the issue, a water pressure sensor will be placed between the auxiliary pump and the deionized water system. The water pressure sensor is to be monitored by Mesa Monitoring’s AmegaView software so that when the water pressure of the sensor drops below a designated pressure, the AmegaView system then triggers a phone call to a phone list of individuals that have access and knowledge to determine how much water is left in the deionized water system reservoir and can put the chemistry instruments into standby in a manner that saves the laboratory the extensive list of issues that an unplanned shut down generates.
Mesa Monitoring is using the AmegaView continuous monitoring system to put in an inline water pressure sensor that connects to a 4-20ma sensor to send an alert when the pressure drops.
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