By September 13, 2017 Read More →

P&G opens $3M quality control lab in Berkeley Springs

By JIM McCONVILLE

The Journal

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va.  — Call it “CSI comes to Morgan County.”

Touted as a state-of-the-art quality control laboratory, joint partners Procter & Gamble, Morgan County and Blue Ridge Community & Technical College took the wraps off its new laboratory center — Pines External Lab– in a ribbon cutting ceremony held here Tuesday morning.

Built on the site of the former War Memorial Hospital, the estimated $3 million facility will serve as a testing lab to evaluate incoming raw materials along with in-process and finished product samples.

The 11,000-square-foot lab will support P&G’s Tabler Station manufacturing plant slated to open by year end.

The lab will serve as quality gatekeeper for P&G factory product.

“Our research and development group make the recipe for the (P&G) cake, the plant makes the cake, and quality control makes sure the cake is made correctly,” said Don Longworthy, quality assurance initiative leader for P&G, who oversees the lab.

For BRCTC, the lab represents an opportunity to offer tailored technical courses for lab technicians on site. The college leases a portion of the building for its Morgan County satellite campus.

When fully up and running the lab will be open 24-7, staffed by 66 technicians, Longworthy said.

“We are going to run two shifts when we start up, and we’re going to go from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then overall between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.,”Longworthy said. “We’re going to have about 16 hours of coverage. The intent — once we’re fully up and receiving all of our samples — is 24-7. That’s what the staff of 66 is for.”

The lab will eventually be transferred over to the Tabler Station facility next summer. Meanwhile, P&G executive are considering ways to use lab facility after the transfer is complete.

The lab also represents one of the several adjunct businesses local officials are banking will open up along with P&G’s Tabler Station facility.

“The P&G quality control represents an investment from P&G into the Eastern Panhandle community,” said Ananthanarayan Venkateswaran, director, quality assurance, global beauty for P&G . “P&G hopes that this is the first of the many opportunities to partner with the local community and improve the lives of the residents here.”

Resources at the lab include gas and liquid chromatography for evaluating material. Tests will insure its products contain no foreign micro-organisms.

The goal is to eventually make the lab paperless, adopting what is called a lab integrated management system (LIMS).

“Our vision is to be completely digital,” Longworthy said. “Samples will come in, they’ll have a bar code on them, get scanned into the system, and that will direct the work to go on in the entire laboratory.”

Staff writer Jim McConville can be reached at 304-263-8931, ext. 215, or Twitter@jmcconvilleJN.

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