From Pioneering Beginnings
Founded by Robert Lenk in Shepshed in Leicestershire, ROMIL Chemicals Ltd first began to manufacture high quality solvents in 1983, in response to the fast growing HPLC market at that time. Export quickly became an important part of the business; in 1987 the company won the prestigious Queen's Award for Export and, a year later, appointed its first international distributor. ISO 9000 quality management registration followed in 1994 and in the same year, the company, now ROMIL Ltd, relocated to Cambridge, a location that has proven to be a natural fit for an innovative, independent manufacturer of premium quality laboratory chemicals. The new base was named 'The Source' because in the same way that a river is at its purest at the source, so it should be for chemical reagents.
The Importance of High Quality
ROMIL can now boast more than 30 years' experience in manufacturing and supplying high purity solvents, acids, reagents and reference materials to countless analytical and life scientists. During that time, the issue of quality in the analytical laboratory has emerged as the common thread that runs through all types of chemical measurement. Analysts have to look critically at their methods and the results obtained from them; are they fit for purpose? Are they in accordance with other laboratories? Are they traceable? Are they valid?
The analytical community itself has been responsible for many of the quality initiatives that have arisen, including recognised quality systems such as ISO 17025, participation in proficiency testing schemes, and ISO Guide 34 certified reference materials in method validation. These all assist the analytical chemist to achieve the ultimate goal of valid results.
When you Can't See the Wood for the Trees
But an often neglected piece in this jigsaw is the quality of the actual reagents used in the analysis. Laboratory quality systems generally state that such materials should be 'fit for purpose'. But what exactly does this mean?
A glance through a typical catalogue reveals a bewildering array of product grades and purity levels from which the scientist has to choose. It is not unusual to find 10 possible grades each for methanol and acetonitrile alone, among them the ambiguous 'analytical grade'.
Chemicals that are Truly Fit for Purpose
By examining the performance demands of today's instrumental analytical techniques, ROMIL has developed purification processes resulting in a grade of super pure solvents that are suitable for most routine trace organic analyses undertaken by chromatography or spectroscopy. In more recent years an even higher purity has been achieved with ultra pure solvents targeted at high sensitivity hyphenated techniques.
Strict process control procedures, set within the disciplined framework of an ISO 9000-registered, and an ISO 17025-accredited quality management system result in products of high and consistent purity which exhibit little or no variation between batches.
The purer the product, the easier it is to maintain consistency. The analyst saves time by not chasing those 'ghost' peaks. Storage space and waste is saved by having a single grade product suitable for a number of techniques, and money is saved because there is less equipment downtime and longer column life. Routine analytical techniques can be conducted efficiently and with total confidence and reproducibility of results.
Using the analogy of our digital age, a computer is only as good as the software that runs on it. Only by matching the performance of both hardware and software can real benefits be gained. Similarly, chemical reagents used in analysis - solvents, acids, reference materials - are like the 'software component' in modern analytical technology. Only by matching their performance to the sophistication and sensitivity of the analytical hardware can quality results truly be obtained.
Working Together for Quality Results
ROMIL's steady and sustained annual growth can be attributed to a well-established dialogue with its customers; feedback from customers has helped it to establish the purity specifications of future reagents. Now foremost among the top UK companies in its field, ROMIL employs around 35 people, and continues to implement an ambitious and forward-thinking plan to become the leader in the production and supply of high purity reagents.