Analytical laboratories can vary significantly in their specialties, industries served, instruments, and techniques available. But there are several main categories of services that are provided by these types of laboratories.
Quality control services can be used to preemptively look for quality control issues that may cause trouble in the future. This testing can often identify and prevent problems before they get out of hand saving the company from negative press by solving the identifying issues early. Batch to batch testing is often used with this kind of service to verify that each batch or batches over time are free of contaminants and contain the right kinds and proper amounts of active ingredients.
Deformulation is an industry term for reverse engineering of a product. When you deformulate a product the originals product recipe and ingredients are discovered and quantified. This service can be very useful for competitive product analyses as well as patient infringement cases. Often businesses take advantage of this service when they want to expand their product line with a new product that is similar to the competitors. They will often have the product deformulated and reformulated changing some of the details like the color, smell, or performance in the new product to make it unique and their own.
Reformulation is taking the data gained from a deformulation and modifying the product to fit new performance or other product changes. The new product may be all-natural, longer lasting, better smelling or contain many other improved factors from the original.
Formulation is like reformulation but it starts from scratch instead of using data from a deformulation. Often the entrepreneur or manufacture has a general concept that they want to have produced and will go to an analytical laboratory to have the necessary research and testing preformed to develop and analyses there product for them.
Failure analysis is similar to quality control testing but is typically used after a problem has taken place in order to solve it as fast and efficiently as possible. A foreign particle may have started showing up in a prescription or a beverage may develop a strange odor. Often times these projects are done on a rush basis do to the damage caused for each day that production may be shut down until the problem can be fully identified and solved.
Material and contaminant identification identifies unknown and unwanted particles in a sample and sometimes is used to develop methods to remove the unwanted particles in order to save the rest of the samples.
Product development from a high quality analytical laboratory will insure that your product is designed from the ground up at a chemical level. These products are often designed using the latest research and techniques available and can use data from your competitors to create a superior product. Product development depending on the industry can also be called product formulation. This is especially apparent in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
Stability and shelf life testing will let you know how long your product will stay good or active for until it breakdowns and is unable to be used. This type of testing is often used in the pharmaceutical and food/beverage industries. Stability testing will let you understand how long your product will last for under while exposed to a variety of temperature, humidity and other conditions. This type of testing can also be used to identify reasons that the product begins to go bad earlier then intended and to develop ways to increase its shelf life.
Regulatory consulting can be used to get approval to market and sell your product from a governing body or to meet industry regulations. Testing can both identify if these standards are met and how to modify your product to meet these standards if they are not fulfilled.
Safety testing can be used for a variety of reasons. To pass requirements to sell a product like prop 65 or other government or industry regulations. It is commonly performed in food or beverage product or that of those that products that touch or are near these items.
Litigation support services can be performed by some analytical laboratories. This can include collecting data to be used in court cases, identifying if a product has violated a patient, and providing expert witness services to explain complicated results in a court room setting.