Sci-Ba focuses on providing highly technical analytical services for commercial companies across a range of industries and has been divided into ten sector-focused laboratories to cater for the needs of specific industries, says Sci-Ba cofounder and director David Long.
Developing new tests and methods to generate information with which to tackle problems is challenging, but is a niche where Sci-Ba excels, he says.
“Nontraditional and cross-industry applications often require new equipment and new techniques, with no guarantee of success, which makes it difficult for in-house and large commercial laboratories to pilot such applications within their limited mandates and budgets.
“Our insight into multiple industries and the problems they face enables us to use different analytical methods and innovative approaches to solve new challenges facing industry. This is one of the ways Sci-Ba is expanding its services, and clients benefit from leveraging this to augment their capabilities,” says Long.
The company’s research and development (R&D) laboratory – a separate laboratory – assists with highly technical or novel testing methods and standards control, and disseminates useful methods and new techniques among the commercial laboratories.
The R&D laboratory, in Cape Town, in the Western Cape, conducts detailed research in collaboration with the sector-focused laboratories to address highly technical challenges for clients, such as difficult-to-analyse samples and stimulating innovation and developing new services for clients, he explains.
“Our niche in the market is to fit between academic and larger commercial laboratories, give more attention to clients and add value through our expert technical consultation and laboratory services.
“We offer a differentiated service to clients by providing advice before testing. By understanding their objectives, the scientists help them determine the most appropriate scientific analysis to meet their needs, saving money and time for analytical services.”
The sector-focused laboratories focus on rapid throughput for routine methods, whereas the R&D laboratory acts as the backbone of the company by developing new service offerings and providing technical assistance for clients and commercial laboratories, says Long, who is a geochemist.
“Our aim is to be responsive to clients and deliver results as quickly as possible. We also work closely with clients to characterise difficult-to-analyse samples and develop tests that can provide the necessary information for them to make concrete commercial decisions.”
Consultation services include remote laboratory management and equipment and process verification, as well as providing temporary on-site laboratory testing services for projects. Its scientists provide office-based and field-based services, including environmental, geological and hydrological fieldwork, sampling and monitoring programmes that form the basis for maps and reports prepared for customers.
Clients range from individuals to large multinational companies and have worked in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Sci-Ba’s scientists are specialists in the fields of chemistry, environmental science, hydrology, geology and mineralogy.
Further, Sci-Ba has long-term working relationships with universities in South Africa, Mozambique and Europe, as well as well-honed internship programmes that provide access to skills and academic support.