Running experiments efficiently and accurately, while maintaining the highest safety measures is the gold standard for all labs around the world. The maintenance of laboratory equipment is a joint responsibility that is shared by everyone, including the lab managers, the laboratory staff and anyone else that is working in the area.
Wear and tear are normal and properly maintaining equipment will keep your labs instrumentation in working condition with the help of minor repairs and replacement parts. Andy from Yorlab said “Labs that don’t place a priority on keeping their equipment clean and maintained will soon have equipment that cannot be repaired, leading to unnecessary and avoidable costs.”
How can you ensure that you are maintaining the equipment in your lab?
- Properly Train Staff
All staff should be trained on the proper, manufacturer approved use of all equipment in the lab, or at least the equipment that they will oversee and use. Most types of equipment in labs are sensitive and can easily be damaged or accidentally miscalibrated if they are used improperly.
- Regular Inspections
Well-maintained lab equipment is regularly inspected by the staff. The qualified professionals that work in the lab are the first line of equipment care and maintenance and with regular inspections, are able to prompt calibrations, repairs and refurbishments when necessary.
- Regular Cleaning
Regular cleaning should be done on a schedule and done to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Different brands of lab equipment, while similar to other brands, may have differing cleaning procedures. When cleaning, be sure to examine closely for signs of damage or the need for replacement and repairs.
Calibration is key to ensuring that you have accuracy in your experiments. This is especially important when doing experiments with corrosive or dangerous materials. Have a regular schedule in which you calibrate your equipment to maintain accuracy.
- Preventative Maintenance Files
Preventative maintenance reduces overall costs and extends the lifespan of the lab equipment. Preventative maintenance is particularly important for equipment with moving parts, optical and electrical systems as well as any type of gas and liquid flows. Preventative maintenance files should have all information pertaining to scheduled cleanings, repairs and refurbishment dates.
- Routine Maintenance (Repair)
If you find that you are receiving inaccurate data from certain pieces of equipment, it needs to be inspected for potential repairs. Lab equipment often needs to have parts or pieces repaired as opposed to a full replacement. These repairs can be small in scope and may be accomplished by staff in the lab, further reducing the costs by removing the need to send the equipment out of the lab.
Refurbishment is a larger, more intensive process for equipment where it is taken apart and fully cleaned, greased, and given the proverbial “once over”. Any parts showing signs of wear and tear are fixed, damaged parts are replaced and once reassembled, equipment is often as good as new. Refurbishment is another option that reduces the need for all-out equipment replacements, which while sometimes avoidable, are costly and undesirable.
Well Maintained Lab Equipment Leads to Better Labs
Maintaining your lab equipment using these 7 tips will allow you to run a top-notch lab, conduct accurate experiments and operate functioning equipment, all while saving funds for other important lab-related projects.