Sri lanka Quality Center – SLQC

Laboratory Designing

Laboratory Designing & Implementation 

SLQC has a qualified team to design and implementation of Chemical, Microbiological and sensory labs in the Food Industry, Non-Food Sectors, and Schools. 

Chemical & Microbiological Laboratory Design

The laboratory building is designed with the same open-space concept as the entire facility. Floor-to-ceiling windows cover two full sides of the building, allowing generous amounts of natural light into the workspace. The laboratory consists for quality control testing of product and raw materials, a sample control suite, and rooms for consumables storage and waste staging.

The laboratory includes area for cold storage, document control, specific purified water system and equipment for nitrogen, vacuum, and air distribution. 

The laboratory building is designed for maximum visibility. The facility is designed to meet regulatory requirements for ISO/IEC 17025:2017. To that end, the laboratories are tour friendly due to the large windows separating office and laboratory areas. This makes the work being done highly visible, easier to manage, and safer.  

Design of the laboratory building also meets occupational safety and environmental regulations with state-of-the-art features. Unique safety features include eyewash stations embedded in the walls that operate automatically when pulled down, and safety showers at color-coded floor sections for ease of location during an emergency.

Laboratory drains flow directly to the facility’s wastewater treatment plant, and automated fire walls can isolate buildings and floors throughout the facility as needed. The laboratory building includes its own reverse osmosis (RO) water generator and distribution loop. The loop provides RO-quality water. 

Unique features

The laboratory design facilitates sample flow. Samples come in via a drop-off station at one end of the building and flow through the testing process toward the other end where waste disposal is managed. In the areas between, rooms are dedicated to chemical weighing, glass washing, sample incubation, and Controlled-Temperature Units (CTU) storage. The building also has conveniently located copy rooms, office areas, conference rooms, restrooms, and elevators.

Another unique feature of the laboratory space is mobile benches that can be redistributed as needed. Additionally, overhead service carriers provide gases and power to each workstation and can be customized for current needs. Argon, helium, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen are routed to the carriers from specialty gas cabinets and generators located in the building. Power options can be configured via color-coded outlets at each workstation, and supply up to 240 V and uninterrupted power where needed.                                          

Equipment Heat Gains

Considering equipment heat gains, if the heat gain information can’t be provided by the equipment manufacturer, our engineers can carefully calculate to ensure proper cooling loads are accounted for in the design. Additionally, they provide guidance on heat load calculations for some common lab equipment.

Sensory Laboratory Design

There are three major components for the successful implementation of sensory evaluation:

a.) Adequate sensory laboratory facilities
b.) Sensory panels and
c.) Rigorous training prograrmmes

Sensory Laboratory Set Up and Equipment

The physical setting must be designed so as to minimize the subject’s biases, maximize their sensitizing, and eliminate variable which do not came from the product themselves. The test area should be centrally located, easy to reach and free of crowding and confusion, as well as comfortable, quite, temperature controlled and free from odour & noise.

The laboratory set up normally comprising of a reception cum briefing room, panel room and preparation room. Sensory evaluation should be carried out in quiet and well lighted room free from any odors. The dormant motive of constructional details should be to have comfort for concentrated prolong testing and ease of cleaning. Pleasing natural shades and maintenance of comfortable temperature and humidity conditions of the laboratory set up are desirable. 

The testing booths are located should be separated from sample preparation room and wash room and store by a complete partition. The panel test area should be readily accessible to all. A good location is one which most panel members pass on their way to lunch or morning break. If the panel of member are drawn from the outside, the area should be near the building entrance. Test room should be separated by suitable distance from congested are because & noise and the opportunity this would provide for unwanted socializing.

Reception and Briefing Room

It should be so designed as to ensure maintenance of pleasant attitudes and minimize traffic to the booths. Panel members shall assemble here, register, received the evaluation card and briefed about the test.

 

Panel booths

The booths may be arranged all side – by side, in an L – shape, or with two sets of three to four booths facing each other across the serving area.

It shall be separated by partitions to screen one person from the view of other when they are seated. Space can be allowed for installation of a PC monitor and a keyboard, if required. The dividers should extend approximately 18 in. above the countertop in order to reduce visual and auditory distraction between booths. Revolving stool with back support or chairs should be provided with drinking water, cleansing towels and glasses and basins for convenient and non- embracing expectorations. The lighting of booths shall be uniform and glare free and arrangement should be made to provide white or colored light.

Temperature of about 20°C and RH of 62% in the testing room in considered to be ideal. The entry and exit to the panel booth area by independent doors may be useful to avoid any communication between panel members. 

Special booth features

a.) A small stainless steel sink and a water faucet are usually included for rinsing. Filtered water may be required if odor – free tap water is unavailable.

b.) A signal system is sometimes included so that the panel supervisor knows when as assessor is ready for a sample or has a question. It may include an exterior light panel which indicates to incoming subjects those booths which are available.

c.) The materials of construction in the booths and surrounding area should be odor – free and easy to clean. Formica and stainless steel are the most common surface materials.

d.) Colour and lighting. The color and lighting in the booths should be planned to permit adequate viewing of samples while minimizing distraction Walls should be off – white; the absence of hues of any color will prevent unwanted difference in appearance. Booths should have even, shadow – free illumination at 70 to 80 foot candles (fc) (typical of an office area.) 

Preparation Room 

It shall be suitably separated from the testing room and should be equipped for preparing and serving food samples. Typically, the preparation area includes immediate access to the following in addition to any specialized equipment dictated by the type of samples:

  • A laboratory bench flush with the hatches so that samples trays will side through. The hatch on the service counter should preferably be constructed in such a manner that there shall be no recognition of individual or either side of partition.
  • Benches, kitchen range, ovens, etc. for preparation.
  • Refrigerator and freezer for storage of samples.
  • Storage for glassware, dishes, glasses, trays, etc.
  • Dishwashers, disposers, trash compactors, wastebaskets, sinks, etc.
  • Frozen storage for panel member treats, if used
  • Large garbage containers for quick disposal of used product, etc

The laboratory facility should be flexible enough to handle current and future testing activities, as well as to provide a workable environment for the staff. The use of computers has been recommended for sensory evaluation work. In that case, sensory evaluation laboratory should include space for data processing equipment.

Sampling Requirements / Preparations

a. Sampling should be carried out by a trained and experienced person and it is essential that the sample should be representative of the lot.

b. A procedure of sample preparation which is most likely to bring out the difference in the particular quality attribute under evaluation shall be selected. Care shall be taken that no loss of flavour occurs and no foreign tastes or odours are imported by the procedure during preparation, storage, serving etc. Depending upon the nature of the material and aim of the test, the need for a medium in testing auxiliary items should be decided. Foods like hot sauce, spices, vinegar, etc. may require dilution with some medium because of their intense physiological efforts.

c. The panelist should be allowed to have sufficient sample necessary to make judgement. Unless, only one sample is to be tested, full normal serving quantities shall not be served even through the material is available.

d. The temperature of serving should be close to that recommended for the food product. The samples shall be served in utensils of the same type and appropriate size, shape, and color and they shall not impart any taste or odor to the sample. The test should be carried out at least one hour before or after lunch.

e. Use of materials that are likely to vitiate results, such as smoking, chewing pan (betel-vine), and taking intoxicants by a panelist should have a time-lapse of at least half an hour before the test. The use of strong odoriferous substances such as cosmetics, flowers hair oil should be avoided.

f. The number of samples served in any one session shall depend upon the nature of the test product and upon the evaluation method used. In case the test product exerts mild sensory effects, a large number of the products exerting strong prolonged sensory effects, the number of samples may be reduced to less than 5.

g. Since coding is necessary to obscure the identity of the sample, a multiple-digit code generated from a table of random numbers should be used. Avoid constant use of certain codes or a set of codes to expedite tabulation of results. 

Evaluation Card 

The evaluation card should be clearly printed and the matter should be arranged in a logical sequence for the examination which is expected under each test. Appropriate terminology without ambiguity shall be used. The evaluation card should be simple, brief, and easy to follow and record what is exactly required. Due weightage should be given to all the sensory attributes.