Facing Challenges Through Networking And Training
Linda Stubbs, The President of the Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA) shares an insider’s view of the organization, its goals, challenges, and how it plans to help shape a better future for the Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia laboratory animal science (LAS) community.
Linda was introduced to ANZLAA by staff members at the University of Auckland when she took over the role of Campus Manager. When asked why she decided to join the organization, she explains that New Zealand (and particularly Auckland) had a very low attendance at conferences and she decided that this needed to be addressed. "I took this on because I thought it was time New Zealand had a presence." Linda explains. She further mentions that the number of animal facilities in New Zealand is very low and she thought it was time also to start networking. "I was first a general member of ANZLAA’s Executive Committee for a couple of years", Linda states. "I then moved on to the Secretary position."
Now serving her first term and as the first ANZLAA president from New Zealand, Linda is busily acting as the chairwoman of the upcoming 2016 ANZLAA Annual Conference - preparing for what promises to be an exceptional meeting being hosted in Auckland, New Zealand.
The challenges faced at ANZLAA are not unusual. Public understanding, the shrinking research dollar, and a more constructive engagement in the ongoing ethical debate are the biggest hurdles that ANZLAA looks to clear - exactly what all LAS organizations around the world face. The organization also has the remoteness of location to contend with, as much of their equipment and consumables has to be sourced from the other side of the world. This can result in high freight and delivery costs, delays, and limited technical support (although many manufacturers are now addressing this problem). Additionally, the initial formation of the current ANZLAA Executive Committee was not easy as there was a considerable turnover from 2014 and many of the members needed to acclimate to their new roles. Time to adjust has been necessary.
ANZLAA BEHIND THE SCENES
ANZLAA was founded in 2006 following an amalgamation of 3 smaller organizations established over 20 years ago. ANZLAA’s main role is to serve as an industry association for people who provide care for animals in research. The majority of its members are animal technicians who deliver day-to-day husbandry and a range of technical facility management services. Other members include veterinarians, animal welfare officers, and instructors, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the industry.
With the exception of suppliers, most members are employed in medical research institutes and universities. ANZLAA members show a commitment to animal welfare (many of them passionately so), and outside of work, many are pet owners or involved with wildlife conservation or working with SPCA type organizations. ANZLAA currently has in excess of 700 members. There is a state representative for each state of Australia and 4 representatives for New Zealand.
ANZLAA provides networking, training, and a forum to ask questions. The annual conference is supported by scholarships, and offers state and branch seminars/symposia as well as training (such as the annual one day Animal Welfare Symposium which is held in a rotational manner throughout the states each May). There is also the New Zealand Branch Conference and scholarships to help support Australasian Tech Week which is held annually in November. Likewise, there are scholarships to allow members to attend the Annual Conference and also the annual National AALAS meeting. Apart from numerous presentations and workshops, the Annual Conference offers invaluable opportunities for networking - especially in such a select industry. This is why ANZLAA membership is unique, as many of us personally know many of the conference attendees, making the industry in this part of the world renowned for its friendliness.
SUPPORT + DEVELOPMENT = GROWTH
What is the primary role of the ANZLAA President? To me, it means promoting greater understanding in the community and ensuring ANZLAA supports and develops its members. I am following in the footsteps of some real movers and shakers, and I am first and foremost charged with continuing some projects from the past few years. The ANZLAA executives are currently evaluating a range of secretariat services to support them and the broader operations of the organization. To date, ANZLAA membership data, registration and information has been difficult to access due to outdated software. The aim of the Executive is to have a single sign-in authentication in which members are able to manage their own details and make requests or payments through this system.
The other major goal that I want to achieve is to revamp the anzlaa.org website – bringing it in line with the mission mentioned above. By doing so, we will have open access to a front page that is similar to AALAS. Currently, we have everything hidden behind a login and I believe this only adds to public mistrust.
Additionally, I was approached by the International Council for Laboratory Animal Science (ICLAS) to help establish a Pacific Region, and I wish to at least have a committee formed by the middle of this year. Although I was asked and nominated to stand as a Council Member, my position as President of ANZLAA is paramount and I would not have the required time to dedicate to such an important role.
Another large part of my responsibility as ANZLAA President is ensuring the association continues to move forward by supporting our members and likewise ensuring that as many members as possible can attend conferences and access training. ANZLAA can only continue to move forward with the support of its members. It is not about a president, it is about the people who make up the association - the dedicated and hardworking staff behind the scenes. I have great respect for each and every one of them; they are the people who inspire me to carry on.
WHY ATTEND ANZLAA?
Why attend the annual ANZLAA Conference? Three reasons: Information, Networking and Fun. The 2015 Adelaide committee has been working very hard to develop a program to attract all members of ANZLAA. They have a huge range of workshops – including practical, hands-on techniques and management training, as well as a range of top overseas speakers and leading researchers from local facilities.
CONTRIBUTING TO A BRIGHTER TOMORROW
Looking toward the future, I hope we will increase our membership and profile. The more participation and engagement we receive, the more of a positive force ANZLAA becomes.
I believe it is imperative that we stop hiding, and challenge the negative and often extremely misleading campaigns presented in opposition to animal research. ANZLAA is also looking at developing an accreditation scheme which would allow individuals to be accredited. We conducted a training week in Melbourne recently and based on this event, we will look at supporting more initiatives like this in the future. We are very encouraged by what is on the horizon.
Linda Stubbs has been with the University of Auckland for nearly 30 years. She is currently the manager of the Vernon Jansen Unit, which is the Animal Research Facility of the Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences. Linda leads a team of highly trained and dedicated staff who support researchers and technicians engaged in leading edge science. The other part of Linda’s role is operational support for the faculty, including infrastructural and Health & Safety.
"I am very lucky with the support I receive from the University of Auckland, as being President is a very time hungry role and due to time differences some business is conducted during the normal working day. Thankfully I receive full support from my managers."
Edstrom thanks Linda for her participation in the Edstrom Update newsletter.
Is Your Stainless Steel Under Attack? What You Don’t Know Could Harm Your Stainless Steel
Whether you’re looking at an upscale kitchen appliance, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, or even the new Apple Watch®, the stainless steel aesthetic communicates quality, strength and durability. It’s no surprise then that many of the products used in the vivarium are made of stainless steel, since the implements and devices used there, including Edstrom’s Automated Watering System, are so vital to animal health and research. In a sense, stainless steel is the modern day armor that protects so many of our critical resources. And though this ubiquitous material has such relevance in our lives, it’s important to remember that even stainless steel requires conscious use and care. Failure to do so will compromise it. A first step in maintaining stainless steel is having a better understanding of its makeup.
STAINLESS STEEL – FINDING THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS
A fundamental attribute that accounts for the popularity of stainless steel is its resistance to corrosion. The term stainless steel is applied to a group of iron based alloys that contain at least 10.5% chromium. Chromium has been known for years for its corrosion resistant properties in applications such as the coating of the exposed metal surfaces on automobiles ("shiny chrome bumpers"). However, unlike the surface treatment in chrome parts, the chromium in stainless steel is added during the melting of the steel which then forms a homogeneous mixture with the iron. The percentage of chromium, as well as the addition of other elements, improves the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. When other alloying elements are further added to the mix, each in turn affects the outcome of the recipe. This makes knowing the ultimate use of the material vital when choosing a grade of stainless steel.
MAKING THE GRADE
Stainless steel is classified by the different material percentages in the alloys it is composed of. This system of classification is organized by Grade. The most common stainless steel alloy is Grade 304, which has a mixture of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. However, Grade 316 has the addition of at least 2% molybdenum, which acts to increase the lattice strain or the elemental structure, making it more uniform and crystalline. Stainless steel wetted components produced by Edstrom are made from 316 stainless. This grade of stainless is notably resistant to acetic, sulfuric, and sulfurous acids. It also demonstrates increased resistance to chloride solutions, and makes 316 stainless an ideal choice for use in Edstrom’s watering systems.
CARBON STEEL – THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE RUSTY
Stainless steel has very low carbon content (less than 0.08%). Alternately, carbon steel has higher carbon content, and is composed of up to 2% carbon - which makes it an even stronger alloy than stainless. In fact, much of the bending and shaping of raw stainless steel is done with carbon steel tooling. But this strength comes at a price. In carbon steel, the iron has greater tendency to react with oxygen in the environment and produce iron oxides, or rust.
Any time that carbon steel and 316 stainless steel come into contact during manufacturing, the stainless steel must undergo passivation. Passivation is a two-step process. First, the stainless components are thoroughly cleansed and certified free of any dirt or debris. Then they are dipped in an acid bath which removes the outermost layer of metal, and also serves to seal the parts with a protective layer of film. It is worth noting that even though the stainless steel has been passivated, rough or careless handling of stainless, such as bumping, gouging, or scraping parts, can cause this passive layer to be breached, and corrosion or rust to be introduced.
Under certain conditions even stainless steel will corrode. When environmental conditions overwhelm the stainless steel passivation layer, localized areas of corrosion develop. This type of corrosion is known as pitting because of the tiny dark pits that form on the surface of the stainless steel. The best way to prevent pitting is to avoid conditions where the stainless steel is exposed to high concentrations of chemicals for an extended period of time. The three most common causes of exposure to high concentrations of chemicals are: 1) water over-acidified with hydrochloric acid, 2) hyper-chlorinated solutions, 3) and cold sterilants.
Acidified water will cause pitting when the pH drops below 2.5. This can occur when the stainless steel is exposed to concentrated hydrochloric acid for a short time or diluted solutions of hydrochloric acid for an extended period of time. Over time, the water in the solution evaporates, leaving behind the acid ions. As these ions accumulate and become more concentrated, the solution becomes more acidic and the stainless surface becomes compromised.
Hyper-chlorinated solutions are solutions with a chlorine concentration greater than 10 parts per million. The higher the concentration of chlorine, the shorter contact time is required before damage to the stainless steel will occur. For example, Grade 316 stainless steel should not come into contact with a 20 part per million chlorinated solution for more than 45 minutes. (When sanitizing stainless steel with chlorine solutions, always heed the manufacturer’s cautions pertaining to the prescribed chlorine concentration of the solution and contact time.)
As with hyper-chlorinated solutions, the concentrations of cold sterilants such as chlorine dioxide will dictate the contact time allowed before damage can occur. Unlike with hyper-chlorinated solution, the contact time can be significantly shorter because of the other active components. It is recommended that the directions for use be read carefully, and if questions remain, contact the manufacturer of the cold sterilant prior to use.
DURABLE, NOT INDESTRUCTIBLE
The reputation that stainless steel has earned as a durable material is well founded. It provides high resistance to the formation of corrosion, but if careful handling is not practiced, damage can occur. The best way to preserve stainless steel equipment is to recognize that it is durable, not indestructible. Know what chemicals your stainless steel product is exposed to, and for how long. Likewise, ensure that no residue is left behind after any chemical contact has occurred by simply using a clean water rinse.
If the proper procedures are followed, your stainless steel will last for many years. For more information on stainless steel, contact an Edstrom representative or email email@example.com
Edstrom Japan – Building On Success
For over 25 years, the name Edstrom has been recognized as a leading provider of high quality products for the laboratory animal industry in Japan. This success has been possible through the continued efforts of a company whose name you may recognize: Edstrom Japan Co., Ltd. We recently had the opportunity to discuss the long standing partnership between Edstrom Japan and Edstrom Inc. (US) with Sho Okazaki, the President of Edstrom Japan. Sho shares those reflections, and his optimism about the future.
It was about 36 years ago that I first visited the National AALAS Meeting in the US and met Bill Edstrom, Sr., and Bob Lemken, their sales manager at that time. I was very impressed with the rodent drinking valves that the Edstrom company had on display at their exhibit booth. I was working for a cage manufacturing company at the time, and we started to put Edstrom drinking valves on our caging systems. We found the material and the mechanical construction of the Edstrom valves to be unique. The "Pivoting System" of the valve uses a 316 stainless steel stem head together with a flat, 3-holed silicon diaphragm to allow a controlled flow of water when it is actuated. I still remember how Bill Sr. explained the valve to us, saying "This is actuated by the very small actuation force of a mouse drinking, and it does not have any leakage problem at all."
INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS BREED SUCCESS
Even today, I still try to use the same explanation when I first introduce the Edstrom drinking valves and their unique features to a new animal facility. This was the first of many innovative Edstrom products we could now offer to researchers in Japan. Soon reverse osmosis machines, manifolds, and room distribution systems followed – presenting a total system for variable-free water production and distribution in the laboratory.
Building on this success, we set up a new distribution organization, Edstrom Japan, as an exclusive dealer for Edstrom products in Japan. My partner, Mr. Uchiyama and I started the business separately from an original caging company. Soon after we started, Mr. Hiromi Yoda, who is the current acting Senior Executive Director of Edstrom Japan, also joined our organization. Mr. Yoda, with his prior cage manufacturing experience and the study of veterinary science in college, has been instrumental in the marketing and sales of the Edstrom product lines.
Today, Edstrom Japan has facilities in Tokyo, Osaka, and Koshigaya in the Saitama Prefecture. In addition to our sales force, we have engineering, installation and maintenance teams who are able to provide service to our new and existing customers throughout Japan.
BRINGING EDSTROM PRODUCTS TO JAPAN
Although ‘Edstrom’ is a unique company name in Japan, customers are unlikely to be confused that Edstrom Inc. and Edstrom Japan are the same organization, as we are also a distributor for other US manufacturers in the laboratory animal science market. We believe that the quality and scale of the laboratory animal science industry in the US is impressive, and companies there have to offer excellent products to compete. We are pleased to bring these products to the Japanese research market.
A PROMISING FUTURE
The future of research in Japan looks very promising. The Edstrom watering system is widely accepted at major animal facilities in North America. This demonstrates a business achievement that helps with customer’s acceptance in Japan. And recently, the Edstrom watering system has been so well received at large facilities in Japan that many customers and researchers now recognize the Edstrom Japan company name. The technology related to Edstrom automated watering systems and critical monitoring continues to improve. The Edstrom Japan team will be visiting Edstrom in the US to learn about and train on the PulseCMC™ system, and we will bring this knowledge back to share with our Japanese customers.
Edstrom thanks Sho for his participation in the Edstrom Update newsletter. Edstrom Japan and Edstrom, Inc will be attending the 62nd JALAS (Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science) Meeting in Kyoto on May 28 - 30, 2015. We hope to see you there!
Introducing – The Handy Bottle Basket Water Filler
The Handy Bottle Basket Filler expedites the manual bottle filling process and makes filling operations quick and easy. Simply rest the filler over the empty bottles in the basket and turn the cushioned lever on or off to moderate flow. The included 12-foot (3.66 meter) filler hose has a standard ½˝ (12.7 mm) barb fitting for convenient connection to a faucet or in-house water supply. The filler operates at line pressure, so no pressure adjustment is required prior to use.
The Handy Bottle Basket Filler is compatible with any manufacturer’s bottle basket. Simply provide the configuration of the baskets you use and Edstrom will tailor the filler to your needs. Both the filler frame and nozzles are made from 316 stainless steel. The silicone check disks within the nozzles are removable for easy cleaning. When not in use, the Handy Bottle Basket Filler can be conveniently stowed out of the way on the supplied stainless steel wall mount.
For more information on the Handy Bottle Basket Filler, contact an Edstrom representative or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Our organization has campuses in Asia and Europe as well as in the US. We employ a language diverse workforce, and it’s critical that we are unencumbered by these differences in language, especially when our staff is responsible for maintaining potentially life-saving climate sensitive resources. Does your critical monitoring system offer us the option of allowing users to communicate in multiple languages?
A: The Edstrom PulseCMC™ system does offer multiple language options for specific users, and is regulated within their user profile. These languages currently include: English, French, German and Mandarin (Chinese), and in the near future Japanese. In addition, Pulse allows you to convert quantitative data from US Customary or Imperial units into Metric quickly and easily.
To learn more about the PulseCMC critical monitoring and control system, contact an Edstrom representative or go to www.edstrom.com.