Precision Samplers, Inc

In the later part of 1979 Jan DeMar, Manager of the Henderson, Kentucky Lab was approached by Public Service of Indiana regarding a particular sampling problem they were experiencing at their Gibson Generating Station. Public Service of Indiana was a substantial client of the Henderson Lab and Std Labs was very motivated to help them solve their problem. Jan DeMar contacted the corporate office to seek support and Israel Broome, then Manager of the Northern Division and a mechanical engineer begin to generate possible solutions.

The problem concerned the difficulty in sampling high volume, high speed stationary coal situations with precision and accuracy. The specific requirements evolved the sampling of hundreds of coal trucks per day delivering coal to the station. The solution had to be custom designed to meet physical and time requirements as well as being in conformance with the applicable ASTM standards (D2234 – Collection of a Gross Sample of Coal and D2013 – Standard Practice for Preparing Coal Samples for Analysis). Features of the system had to include automatic processing (crushing and splitting) of the entire sample, reject material recovery, minimal operator training and ease of relocation (mobility). The objective was to be able to sample and process up to 500 trucks per day.

After several months of study a concept was developed and presented to Public Service of Indiana and they then agreed to purchase a mobile mechanical auger sampling system if it passed a rigorous bias test. Std Labs then formed a partnership with Israel Broome under the name Precision Samplers, Inc. (PSI) and began design and construction of a coal sampling auger. This initial system was delivered in May of 1980 and successfully passed its bias test a couple of months later demonstrating that analytical results from the auger system were not significantly different from stopped belt sampling.

The success of this venture encouraged PSI to market this system to other companies in the national coal industry. A brochure was developed which is contained in the Appendix as Article O.

By July of 1980 PSI had sold a second custom designed auger system to a large eastern Kentucky coal company. The agreement specified the construction of a stationary system capable of collecting and processing of up to 400 pound increments of strip as well as deep-mined coals. The collected increment was to be crushed , subdivided and stored in sealed containers for each supplier. The operator was to be housed in an air conditioned facility where they could weigh and sample up to 200 trucks per day from a variety of suppliers without additional manpower.

This unique system was soon delivered and successfully passed a subsequent bias test. A second brochure was quickly developed and distributed across the industry, a copy of which is contained in Appendix P.

The successful introduction of these two custom designed systems clearly demonstrated the market need for a new player in the mechanical coal sampling industry. Israel developed a small technical team to introduce a variety of sampling systems and quickly began penetrating the US and then the international markets. PSI formed a dedicated team to provide turnkey installations by close management of each phase of a project from the initial design concept through erection and start-up.

Over the next few years PSI conceived, designed, fabricated and installed a number of systems to address the many needs of the industry. A listing of completed jobs as of February twenty-second in 2017 is contained in the Appendix Q. These included auger sampling systems (including automated auger systems), conventional cross-stream systems, rotary sweep belt sampling systems, total weighing/sampling and coal blending integration packages, and mechanical sub-samplers for preparation of laboratory samples. For information on a number of such systems, see Appendix R.

Early on PSI had begun to provide a number of other services and benefits to its customers. An inspection and maintenance program was established to ensure that its systems were running with exceptional availability. Some PSI systems were designed to interface with any commercially available on-line analyzer. A field service team was created to provide on-site work as needed. In addition, a warehouse of major components was created to help customers reduce downtime.

Close work over many years with the SAI partnership and especially Paul Reagan produced a close fit of sampler design and manufacture with sampling expertise and operation. Together the Mechanical Part Stream Sampler (MPS) concept was developed and introduced to the industry. PSI engineered and manufactured the device and SAI marketed it worldwide. The MPS is designed for “Condition C – Part-stream Cut” sampling according to ASTM and is governed by ASTM Standard D6609 for coal. Part-stream sampling produces a Judgment sample not a Probability sample; so it does not replace full stream mechanical sampling. But the MPS is an important and effective sampling option when mechanical sampling systems are inoperative-or at locations where a mechanical sampling system is not economically justifiable. Appendix S contains a brochure on the MPS and a US patent is pending.

July of 2001 was a very special date for PSI as Greg Pendergrass was hired and only four years later he was named President. Later, Greg was made a partner.

Another new hire in 1995 is worthy of note as Todd Stallard joined the staff to provide marketing support. Todd had been an employee of Commercial Insurance (Standard Labs’ main insurance provider) and PSI employment was a great way to introduce him to the coal industry. Todd left PSI after a few years to start up and manage another Stallard family business (Mountain Greeneries, Inc.) and then returned to Std Labs in 2002.

Under Israel and Greg the company has been recognized worldwide and been very successful in the ups and downs of the coal industry and has remains an integral part of the Std Labs history.