• May 24, 2023
  • Customer Service
  • By Rachel Kieffer

Sample Shipping: The First Step to a Successful Particle Characterization Analysis

Although easy to overlook, shipping your samples to PTL is the most foundational step in obtaining any particle characterization analysis. For accurate results, your samples must arrive at PTL in good condition, so it is imperative to ship safely and securely. When preparing to send materials to PTL, here are a few questions to consider:

1. Is it properly identified?


If you are shipping the samples directly to PTL, please include printed copies of a completed Laboratory Service Order form, payment information, and a safety data sheet.

Pro Tip: Providing physical copies of this information with the shipment ensures our Order Entry team is immediately informed of important details like the appropriate storage condition for your samples.

We understand that samples often come from a third party such as a manufacturer/CMO or field site, and that it is not always possible to include printed copies of these items in the shipment. If this is the case for your submission, please email them to our Order Entry team (orders@particletechlabs.com) before the samples ship, and our team will keep the paperwork on file for use when the samples arrive. In addition, please be sure to include a note in the shipment that specifies it was shipped on your behalf. This will (1) advise our Order Entry team of the appropriate point of contact, (2) minimize investigative work required to process the samples, and (3) prevent unnecessary delays to the requested testing.

2. Is your packaging best for your sample type?


In addition to using good sampling practices, consider the container you’re using to hold your samples. PTL does not have specific requirements for sample containers, but some may be better suited for your material than others. For example, a screw-top jar will hold a powder sample much more securely than a Ziploc-style bag, and Parafilm-wrapping the lid of a container holding a liquid will help prevent loosening and leaking during transit.

Further precautions may also apply depending on the sample type and container you are submitting. Intuitively, glass containers require more protection than plastic (in the form of bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or the like), but what can be surprising is just how much packaging material is required to protect your samples. Nothing is more disappointing than going through the effort of sending in samples only for containers to break in transit and no longer be suitable for testing.

Pro Tip: We also recommend enclosing the paperwork (LSO, PO, SDS) in a sealable bag to eliminate the possibility of leaked samples, melted ice, etc. permeating your documents!

3. Does your material require pre-approval due to heightened safety risks?

Most sample types don’t require pre-approval from PTL. For the most part, you are welcome to submit them as-is (with required submission paperwork, of course!). However, some sample types require pre-approval, as they carry heightened safety risks, and, in these cases, it’s helpful to discuss the material type.

• If your sample is considered high potency (an occupational exposure limit of ≤ 10µg/m3) according to the material’s correlating safety data sheet, approval from our safety team is required before submission.
• Similarly, any BSL-2 materials require pre-approval as well as proof of negative serological testing.

If your sample material falls under either of these categories, please reach out to us before shipping your samples so we can ensure the safety of our sample receiving and laboratory teams.

4. If your material is a dangerous good or hazardous material are you following 49CFR regulations?

If your safety data sheet indicates that it is, 49CFR regulations will apply for shipping your samples. Your company’s shipping department may be knowledgeable on how to ship the material, or you can work with FedEx or UPS directly.

5. Have you considered holidays and weekends if your sample is perishable?


To ensure sample receipt in a timely manner, please be aware that our facility is open for deliveries Monday through Friday. Also, take note of PTL’s holiday closure schedule to guarantee we are available to process your samples immediately upon their arrival.

Furthermore, consider the shipping condition required for your samples: do they need to be shipped under refrigeration? If so, consider a Styrofoam or reusable cooler with ice or cold packs. Unexpected delays in shipping can easily occur, so maximizing the longevity of your refrigeration will increase the likelihood it arrives at our facility at the correct temperature. We also offer cooler return service for a small fee if you prefer to re-use your shipping container.

6. What needs and options should be considered based on your worldwide location?

If you’re shipping internationally to PTL, you’ll need to include additional information with your shipment for the U.S. Customs, as well as the FDA (if shipping a pharmaceutical). We have more information on these requirements here, and we encourage you to reach out to us with any specific questions.

Are you located in the Chicago area? If so, you are welcome to hand-deliver your samples! Our facility is open for sample drop-offs from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Central Time on weekdays (be sure to check our holiday closure schedule linked above) and we’d love to meet you!

PTL is here to help every step of the way!

Receiving shipments at PTL Here at PTL, it is our goal to provide you with the particle characterization testing you need. To do so seamlessly, we urge you to consider all of the factors discussed in this article as you prepare to submit your samples. When we receive your samples in good condition and with all the required information, we have already taken the first step toward providing you with the quality results you need.

If you have questions about what information to include with your submission, how much material to send, or inquiries about our analytical options, we encourage you to contact us. We look forward to working together soon!

By Rachel Kieffer, Client Liaison