eSource 119 Best Practices for Sample Shipping and Submission to ALS Tribology
The most reliable means of shipping samples are with commercial shippers. This tends to be the most cost effective option when 3 or more sample are being shipped to the laboratory. Commercial shippers will deliver samples in a timely manner (even with standard ground service), and provide tracking of delivery at no extra cost. Postal Service delivery tends to be less reliable for timely delivery to the laboratory, but can be an option if sending one or two samples at a time. Some customers do require the use of the Postal Service delivery though, where ALS Tribology can provide prepaid postage mailers if desired. This is generally done to meet a specific need of a client. Once samples have been taken from equipment it is recommended they are shipped to the testing laboratory as soon as possible in order to ensure timely and relevant test results.
Complete and accurate sample information is important so that testing is not delayed once samples arrive at the testing laboratory. This is particularly helpful in identifying the equipment, especially when there is a history of testing the component. Accurate serial numbers may be required to provide proper support through some testing programs or maintenance requirements. The ALS UIN (Unique Identification Number) also provides a streamlined way to identify equipment that has previously been tested. The UIN is displayed on all test reports. Equipment that has not been tested previously will require complete information. Equipment that has been previously tested only needs information relevant to the new sample, such as date and time/kilometers/miles on the fluid and equipment, or information that has changed for the component since the last sample, such as the type of fluid in service.
It is recommended to not fill samples over 80% volume to prevent leakage from expansion. Also ensure bottle caps are secure. A good practice for packaging for shipment is to prevent sample kits from being loosely packaged without some form of padding or protection for travel. This will help prevent sample kits from rattling around in the shipping container during transit.
Online sample submission via the ALS WebTrieve website and ALS Mobile App are the easiest and most effective means of sample submission. Printers for creating sample information labels can be made available through ALS Tribology. Contact ALS Tribology to help with questions regarding sample submission and shipping.
David Doyle, CLS, OMA I, OMA II
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