Sampling Associates International, LLC - The Mechanical Sampling Specialist - Leadership by Example



With decades of trusted professional service, Sampling Associates International offers the following services to the coal, petroleum and minerals industries:

  • Operating and maintaining mechanical sampling systems;
  • Developing and operating customized maintenance programs for sampling equipment;
  • Sampling Equipment repair and maintenance;
  • Consulting services for the design and installation of mechanical sampling systems;
  • Conducting mechanical sampling systems audits;
  • Bias Testing services, namely, design of tests, conducting and analyzing tests and providing reports;
  • Technical consulting services, namely, testing and evaluation of mechanical sampling equipment, operating protocols and maintenance programs to verify compliance with applicable ASTM or ISO standards.




The “operations” portion of SAI’s standard Operations & Maintenance (O&M) program is built upon the following:


Comprehensive OSHA-compliant policies, continual employee training / re-training, and regular site auditing are our first order of business. All SAI personnel receive thorough safety training upon their hire and throughout their employment. This is accomplished through policy reviews in monthly meetings (see PQM below), annual performance reviews, and in day-to-day observation by management. We conduct regular safety audits at all operations, monthly checks of critical items (such as first aid supplies, fire extinguisher charges, vehicle inspections, etc.) and we require all SAI personnel to be trained in First Aid and Adult-CPR.

System Monitoring

Frequent system “walk-throughs” to assess component performance are a critical element in a good operations program – even where sophisticated PLC programs now monitor nearly every aspect of a sampling system. From the primary increment to the discharge of reject material, SAI personnel regularly observe the entire system throughout each consignment to check component performance and material flow. They look for potential handling problems, maintenance items or safety issues. Checklists are completed and reviewed to ensure proper system performance for compliance with ASTM standards.

Sample Ratio Monitoring

It is SAI’s belief that the “sample ratio” is one of the most critical indicators of sampling system performance. All of our programs therefore implement a sample ratio monitoring procedure which requires the immediate recording and charting of the ratio data. Ratio rogues or trends are promptly documented and investigated for determination of the problem and for its correction.

Pre-emptive Quality Management

Each SAI operation conducts monthly PQM meetings between management and frontline personnel. In these meetings we review various aspects of the operation including: overall safety; re-training in a safety policy; general work instructions; maintenance issues; Incident Report review; special projects; and company-wide policies and activity. It is our feeling that the more informed the operation is, the better it operates.


Our operational program includes various documentation to provide a controlled sample process and a reviewable activity history.

Daily Operations Log – A DOL is completed for every consignment in order to provide as complete a picture as possible on all pertinent aspects of the loading or unloading operations. At a minimum, DOLs contain: detailed consignment information; sample order information; start/stop times for system clean-outs / walk-throughs / delays and incidents; recording of sample bags and weights; sample ratio data; and recording of customer/lot changes.

Weight & Sample Report – The WSR includes all pertinent identification information with regard to a consignment and the sample(s) collected for it. This chain-of-custody document is generated for every consignment sampled. A copy is provided to the Laboratory of Record - and to the customer if required.

Incident Report – For a performance failure, mechanical problem, quality issue, customer complaint, safety violation, etc. an IR is promptly executed. This document includes information on the issue; a listing of personnel involved and contacted . It also requires the person reporting/investigating the incident to offer suggestions for the prevention of a repeated incident. IRs are regularly reviewed by SAI management to ensure that all aspects of the incident have been satisfactorily addressed and that corrective measures have been implemented.

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System maintenance is a critical pillar in the foundation of our O&M programs. It is SAI’s philosophy that sample quality and equipment longevity can be achieved with a solid maintenance effort each and every day. When considering what is at stake for the user and the owner of a mechanical sampling system, proper care of the equipment cannot be anything less than a major priority.

Preventive Maintenance

The first element in every SAI maintenance program is Preventive Maintenance (PM). Every component of a sampling system is assigned a customized PM schedule which addresses all aspects of that equipment. From oil changes, to scrutinizing the condition of the equipment structures, all components receive regularly scheduled - and thorough - inspections.


Our maintenance program includes various documentation to aid our personnel in proper observation of every detail of the equipment; to guide them through preventive tasks and repair actions; and to provide a historical record from which to reference in the future. Such detail allows SAI to immediately apply proven maintenance actions to new and old equipment alike.

Preventive Maintenance Schedule – This is a series of numerous detailed checklists which address major and minor aspects of every component for the system in our care. Items such as observations of key hardware; adjustment of wiping and scraping devices; rotation of crusher hammers; execution of crusher product test, motor efficiency tests; etc. – all are scheduled on hours of operation or a calendar basis.

Preventive Maintenance Task – This document supplements the PM program in providing detailed instruction on maintenance and repair actions. The PM Task sheets include safety reminders, tools required, parts needed and actions to be taken. Many even include copies of manufacturer diagrams and instructions.

Maintenance Action Sheet – This is an effective document used by both our Operators and Mechanics. It is a report whereby a problem with equipment is formally reported, then reviewed by the site manager and the maintenance department to assess the necessary action, parts to be ordered, etc.

Equipment Repair

With decades of experience SAI has gained a vast knowledge of all mechanical sampling systems in operation today. Putting this knowledge to daily use is a team of mechanics dedicated to performing PM and any required repair. From the replacement of basic wear items, to major equipment replacement, SAI’s maintenance team can accomplish any assignment.

Equipment Restoration / Redesign

SAI has been called upon numerous times to restore old systems or those which have suffered from neglect, damage or poor design. SAI can order, supervise and/or install full and partial component re-builds and replacements. When a component or system has not met owner expectations we can suggest, fabricate and implement design enhancements to produce a system that will operate better than ever.

System Design and Specifications

When considering the installation of a new sampling system or if replacing an old one, SAI has the technical know-how to write or review the specification in order to help the owner obtain the best design for the application required. Aspects such as: safety; equipment longevity; best equipment for the working conditions; and where are the trouble spots; are just a few of the many factors considered. We will also strive for a “Tech-friendly” design. A sampling system with poor access for maintenance and inspections has a higher chance of being neglected. Good systems have numerous inspection doors for quick, easy cleanout and maintenance. They have plugged chute indicators strategically placed to alert the operator of plugging situations before they get too large, and they have the latest PLC program to provide the operator with as much information as possible. The end result is a system which meets the owner’s expectations, which has lower downtime, and which produces representative samples consistently.

Contracted Maintenance

With our maintenance team, SAI offers on-site maintenance services for single-job repairs, and for long-term PM and repair. Through our partnership in ENSA Group, LLC we have successfully accomplished numerous projects throughout the U.S. electric generating industry on various system configurations.

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SAI offers comprehensive audits of mechanical sampling systems anywhere in the U.S. and abroad. Our audits include static and dynamic observation of equipment performance and operator performance; analysis of sample ratio data; review of all program-related documentation; review of the maintenance program; exit interview with the system owner; and electronic and/or hardcopy versions of the final report. To date, we have performed audits in the U.S., Mexico, South America and Europe.

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SAI can provide loading and unloading inspection services for most any commodity. Whether through our own experience with coal and petroleum coke, or through an expertise offered by any of our any partners, your inspection needs can be met anywhere in the world.

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The execution of a bias test is fundamental to a mechanical sampling system being considered as producing representative samples. Periodic bias tests are necessary for the system owner, and any other user of the system, to have confidence in the performance of the sampling system and the samples it yields. SAI is able to offer single-event tests or ongoing programs at its contracted sites. Our service includes: development of the test program; collection of samples; preparation and analysis of samples; data analysis and generation of a formal report.

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