Geotechnical Engineering’s KeyLAB Story

Please note that the following news item is an archived article. Therefore any links and information may now be out of date.

geoengTowards the end of 2014 the Geotechnical laboratory at Geotechnical Engineering Limited (GEL) recognised the need to improve our service to Clients.  Various laboratory data management systems were investigated and Keynetix Ltd were approached to explore the logistics of using their KeyLAB2 Software.  Geotechnical Engineering started to use KeyLAB2 in June 2015.

KeyLAB2 has been designed to provide a complete testing laboratory management system, incorporating sample storage details, schedules and scheduling, data processing and reporting of results through to invoicing, equipment calibration and sample disposal; all in one place! It also houses its own AGS data mapper, quickly creating data which can be used to exchange/send geotechnical information between clients, contractors, laboratories and their various software packages.

GEngineering Trng Image

Roger Chandler, Managing Director from Keynetix Ltd and Wendy Jones Technical Support Manager from GEL worked together to integrate the existing GEL testing, technicians spreadsheets and GEL reporting templates, linking them to the KeyLAB2 parameters and mappers.

The KeyLAB2 program’s platform is Excel and comes ready to use after a simple installation process. The package includes standard results input, processing and output and reporting spreadsheets for a large number of tests including British Standards, IRSM (International Society for Rock Mechanics) and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) with more available on the Keynetix website.  Wendy’s brief was to rebuild the report templates that GEL use for presenting results in Excel format to be incorporated into the KeyLAB2 package. As well as complying with AGS format rules, all sheets and reports have to meet with all BS1377 standards, the new BS EN ISO 17892 standards and GEL’s UKAS accreditation requirements.

Phase one, where standard physical laboratory testing such as classification, rock, and compaction related testing is now complete. Wendy is now preparing to work on Phase two, expanding the quota of tests handled by KeyLAB2 over the coming weeks to cover highways specification aggregates and high end effective stress testing.

GEngineering Lab Image

The AGS import and built in scheduler capability together with the flexibility of KeyLAB2 enables GEL to integrate our own pro forma templates, meaning that sample and testing data is no longer double or even triple handled within the laboratory. Project and all test data is entered just once, in one place. The Excel based package then stores the data and performs the complex calculations and processes results ready for reporting in one step considerably reducing processing time. This means that it is less time consuming and increases the efficiency of GEL staff with faster reporting to our Clients. Additionally, because the package is Excel based, transmittal of electronic schedules can be easily and speedily carried out eliminating the need for hard copies, saving time and allowing testing to get underway faster.

Technicians and laboratory management staff were trained by Wendy to handle the AGS data import and export for KeyLAB2. They were also trained on the basics of using all the KeyLAB2 functions and applications in seminars and presentations designed to introduce them to the software.  The seminar used both examples and existing projects to take the staff through the completion of a project step by step using KeyLAB2. The objective was to ensure staff could competently manage a project and produce accurate reports after the very first training session. Future sessions are planned to build on the basics, developing the equipment and administration functions thereby enabling individuals to become powerusers and administrators. They will also be able to create and maintain their own templates and spreadsheets as well as become trainers themselves.

GEngineering Lab Image 2

The advantage of using Excel is that it is a familiar program that everybody knows. By combining Excel skills with the integrated GEL spreadsheets, the technicians already know how to input, calculate and process results and so no additional training on that front needed.

Wendy Jones from GEL commented “KeyLAB2 is a powerful tool which will enable GEL to greatly increase efficiency and quality across the board in an already excellent laboratory. The benefits of using KeyLAB2 will allow us to provide an even greater level of service for our Clients”.

Roger Chandler from Keynetix commented “The implementation at GEL has been a text book implementation and it has been a pleasure to work with Wendy and her team.  Within just a few weeks of Wendy conducting the training and phase 1 being released all staff, from management to lab technicians are saving time on the day to day management of the laboratory.”


Ready to find out how KeyLAB can streamline your Laboratory?  Simply fill in the trial form today and we will give you a call.



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