In 1998, President Clinton was embroiled in the Lewinsky scandal, Michael Owen became England’s youngest full international footballer, Viagra was approved for market and Labman’s first ever product was born.
That product is TIDAS, developed following three years of collaboration between Labman, consultant Jim Hatfield and Huntsman Tioxide (now Venator). Huntsman initially approached Labman unhappy about the Hegman test as a method for determining grind quality. Manual ratings were proving inconsistent; there was variation in ratings for the same sample across different operators, and sites didn’t adhere to their company standard. They also wanted evidence of their testing including images of the drawdown. TIDAS ticked every box, and what started as a one-off project (‘Tioxide Instrumental Dispersion Assessment System’) soon attracted interest from other companies and sales grew organically.
In 2011 Labman officially recognised TIDAS as a distinct product and proactively shared TIDAS with new customers whilst investing further in the design – Version 4 has automatic drawdown and far superior imaging.
TIDAS operates at manufacturing sites all over the world to support QC in Production, R&D and troubleshooting. ‘From inception to manufacture’ is the Labman philosophy, and it is wonderfully rewarding when enhancing a process takes off in this way. Since TIDAS we have worked on a range of products: a hand-held traverse gun, Pico litre dispensing unit, a dual filter for the water industry, a vial laser marker and a rotary plate handler.
Time is Money
In addition to TIDAS’ raison d’être, (standardising ratings and electronic test records) there is often a return-on-investment. A site in Germany tells us having TIDAS in the laboratory saves one hour every shift in production time because they know precisely when optimum grind quality is reached, so they have eliminated unnecessary over-processing. A site here in the UK discovered they had been processing a product for 24 hours that was ready after three! It was no surprise when that company went on to purchase TIDAS for all their global sites.
This month Labman are celebrating 21 years of TIDAS, so why not send the birthday boy a present? Perhaps a set of 50ml liquid samples – something tricky to rate by eye, including a standard product, and one at different stages of production. The team at Labman will test them with TIDAS and compile a report containing all the results free of charge and without any obligation. Go on, send him a prezzie! What have you to lose?