Agosi – Quality products from the gold town
Anyone familiar with gold, silver, and other precious metals knows Agosi. Founded in 1891 as Allgemeine Gold- und Silberscheideanstalt in the gold town of Pforzheim, the company is today the leading recycling provider for precious metals and precious metal services in Europe. The main field of activity of the traditional company from the Black Forest is thus the recovery of valuable raw materials as fine metals of the highest purity. Thanks to the complete precious metal cycle, Agosi offers an environmentally friendly solution for the availability of gold, silver, and platinum group metals.
For 126 years now, Agosi has been reliably supplying the precious metal processing industry with high-quality products such as materials, alloys, and semi-finished products as well as tradable precious metals, produced under the strictest environmental conditions and to the highest quality standards. With a processing capacity of more than 2,000 tons of precious metal-bearing materials and over 20,000 deliveries per year, Agosi occupies a leading position among European refineries in the field of precious metal recovery. As part of the Umicore Group, the company now has a global presence with its subsidiaries and plants – without losing sight of the domestic market.
For company-wide quality control, Agosi has been relying on LIMS software from Fink & Partner since 2012 – for Stefan Zorn, head of chemical laboratories at Agosi, a sensible investment to cope with the increasing amount of data.
Agosi: Quality demand as a guiding principle – for more than 100 years
The Pforzheim-based company can look back on a 126-year tradition. The company’s high-quality standard is also decisive for its success. Whether it is quality management, occupational safety or environmental protection: the company sets high standards for itself on many levels and thus continues to develop.
Agosi’s customers particularly appreciate the consistently high-quality level of its products. The company is aware of this and therefore relies on strict quality control: 25 employees alone are responsible in the company’s chemical laboratories for continuously monitoring product quality in 3-shift operation. Stefan Zorn confirms, “Agosi’s laboratories are accredited for the analysis of precious metal alloys in accordance with DIN EN ISO 17025, which means that testing and analytical procedures comply with international standards for the certification of starting material for semi-finished precious metal products for officially tested and hallmarked precious metal products.”
In 2012, when it was noticed that the laboratories were accumulating more and more data at various archiving levels, from paper to Excel to Access, it was clear to Stefan Zorn that this would no longer work in the long run. “We wanted to finally bundle our measurement data and bring it electronically into a central database. The manual entry of measurement data was also simply very error-prone, and we could only manage statistical evaluations with a lot of effort.”
LIMS Software: And suddenly everything went easier
After some deliberation, Agosi decided on the [FP]-LIMS analysis management system from Fink & Partner. Stefan Zorn had become aware of the LIMS at an event and initially could not believe what was promised there.
Stefan Zorn, Head of Chemical Laboratories at Agosi AG
“Right from the start, I was fascinated by how open Fink & Partner’s LIMS is and how many options it offers for making adjustments yourself. I had not expected that. Many LIMS software programs are so closed that you can’t do much yourself. The numerous device connections were also important for us because we use many different measurement methods and measuring devices.”
Today, almost 10 years later, the laboratory processes are almost completely automated and the immense reduction in workload is clearly noticeable. All data now converge centrally in a database and are managed securely and server-based via the LIMS. All measurement data is now recorded electronically via corresponding measuring instrument interfaces. Data from Agosi’s production can also be merged with data from the laboratory via a manual input mask – to the benefit of product quality.
For Stefan Zorn, however, the many interfaces are also a huge advantage and a real quality feature. “We have also been using SAP as our ERP system for 3 years now. Naturally, one first worries whether the data transfer between the LIMS and SAP will also function smoothly. Thanks to the certified SAP interface of the LIMS system, however, the whole thing was absolutely no problem. Now qualities can also be controlled from SAP. But internal qualities can also be created, for which tests can be specified. Overall, the quality and specification control of various tests now simply runs much better.”
LIMS software as an advantage for audits: User management & audit trail
Stefan Zorn also sees added value in the benefits of certain certificates and external audits. “In the meantime, the data management of measurement data is also evaluated as an important criterion in certification and audit processes. Questions that arise in this course are, for example, ‘How transparent is it when a measured value is changed? Was there a reason for it? How secure is the software? How is user management regulated? Who has access to the data?’ Thanks to the integrated user management and audit trail, we can automatically meet all requirements in this regard.”
User management allows access and editing rights to be assigned; the audit trail enables the complete history of an analysis to be mapped. For example, if a laboratory employee manually edits an analysis value, he not only has to specify a reason for his manual correction but the change is also tracked by the system. In this way, the entire history of analysis can be completely traced.
He has no regrets about choosing [FP]-LIMS. “I am completely satisfied with the solution as it is now in use, not least because of the comprehensive and competent support provided by Fink & Partner.”