Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS) enable accurate records ensuring minimal waste and enabling instant recall of test results of any process stage that enables accurate tracing across the production chain from the final dairy products back to the location of the originating animals.
Quality Control (QC) laboratories in dairy manufacturing must sample at every stage of the process as illustrated in the diagram above:
Matrix Gemini LIMS can be used throughout the production process to automate the logging samples, expedite the QC tasks, collate and merge all the data and extract management information quickly. Importantly with Matrix Gemini LIMS the flow, icons, labels and so forth can be easily modified using graphically based configuration tools – no programming or coding skills are required.
Samples, which are taken throughout production, may be tagged to refer them back to the original tanker/farm from which they came. In a typical production environment raw milk is kept in isolation tanks until it has passed initial checks. Once passed the milk is then released for production. The Matrix Gemini LIMS can automate the pass/fail message to production equipment, reducing time that milk needs to be held in quarantine and speeding up production. If laboratory equipment allows it test results may be automatically uploaded reducing human error and further increasing the throughput speed of the lab.
Key QC tests on milk products typically include:
- Resazurin – tests bacteriological quality of milk
- TBC – Total Bacterial Count – quantitative measure of bacteria in the milk
- FPD – Freezing Point Depression – tests for extraneous water content in the milk
- Butterfat – tests for % of butterfat in the milk
- ALP – Alkaline Phosphatase – measures the level of residual ALP enzyme in milk after pasteurisation
- Temperature – records temperature, a measure of shelf life
- Smell – quick test for milk spoilage
- Plus other tests depending on milk products being produced
These tests, along with test limits and so forth are captured within the LIMS solution to ensure that testing in always done correctly. The LIMS records all results enabling them to be recalled when needed. Any changes to the tests or results are also automatically recorded to ensure proper procedure is always followed.
LIMS solutions allow management reports to be quickly compiled showing, for instance, the average bacterial counts of the product over time for different batches, or variations over time. This ensures that quality can be monitored and, if necessary, actions taken to improve quality.