Your equipment is pivotal to the success of your lab. Whether this is the success of the general day-to-day running of the lab, including efficiency and seamless workflow, which can impact your overall productivity. Or the accuracy of the equipment’s output that can have a major effect on the quality of your results.
As modern technology continues to improve and develop, it is influencing the general operations of laboratories and therefore equipment and machinery are having more of a presence within most working labs.
Just like how we nurture the well-being of our employees, taking good care of your equipment is just as important to your laboratory’s success. Every instrument is sensitive to the way it is handled and operated and it is essential that you know the correct ways to use them and look after them to guarantee a long lifespan.
Misuse or ill care of your machines could lead to downtime, inaccurate results or the requirement of new equipment. All of which can cost your lab a considerable amount of money and also cause a stressful working environment. Not only will the loss of instruments due to damage and repairs stunt progress, but the inaccuracy of results also hinder the reliability of findings and the credibility of the lab.
This, however, can be easily avoided by learning the correct ways of looking after your machines, which will maintain their high-quality performance and allow you to achieve the best possible result continuously.
Below is a list of tips and practices that can help extend the life of your equipment:
Get it right from the very beginning to avoid anything going wrong later on. By this we mean, to ensure that your equipment is installed correctly when it is delivered to your lab. With correct installation, you can ensure that the equipment is safe to use and if operated correctly, will perform to its optimum potential. If you are not confident in installing the machine yourself using the provided user manuals, arrange with the manufacturer or the distributor to install the equipment upon delivery. They will have trained engineers who are familiar with the machine and know the correct installation process. This not only ensures correct installation but also can save time and get you up and running sooner.
Regular Preventative Maintenance
Be more preventative than reactive when it comes to your equipment maintenance. Waiting until your equipment breaks or fails to perform to its highest standards can create bigger problems to deal with. This includes longer downtime periods whilst you wait for repairs and a higher expense with the potential of needing new parts or new machines. Consider setting up a regular maintenance schedule for your equipment, this can include checks ran by yourself and your team members using product manuals and training to learn about the correct functionality and performance standards of the machine. This will allow you to analyse the status of your machine and act accordingly. You can also carry out a regular cleaning programme to prevent any damage being caused.
Alternatively, you can invest in reliable service packages that are carried out by external parties who are either specialists in the equipment brand or the type of equipment needing servicing. Equipment services are designed to maintain your equipment’s performance, with scheduled checks that occur either annually, bi-annually or more regularly to maintain standards and prevent downtime. Should issues or damages be identified during these scheduled services, the engineer can act upon them immediately or arrange for a better time to repair, preventing unnecessary downtime whilst you wait.
A high proportion of scientific instruments require regular calibration to keep them working to their optimum standards. Equipment that requires calibration are usually instruments that provide a measuring service that is dependent on accuracy. However, the level of accuracy it delivers can be affected by the frequency of use or how it is being operated and the reliability of the results can quickly deteriorate. Accredited calibration standards such as UKAS set accuracy expectations such as the ISO/IEC 17025 to allow you to analyse performance.
The measurement of a lab’s success is highly reliant on the accuracy of its results and therefore can be very sensitive to change. That is why seeking adequate, professional calibration for such equipment is important, to ensure it delivers the highest level of precision measuring and results, continuously. Like servicing, the frequency of equipment calibration can vary depending on your lab and the accuracy specifications required for your application.
Keep Everything Clean
This should go without saying however it is not always the best practiced within the lab especially with high working demands it can sometimes be hard to fit in cleaning equipment into your daily tasks. However, when you learn that this is one of the most effective ways to prolong the lifespan of your equipment and prevent damages, which inevitably saves you money on repairs and new equipment, it might be something you want to consider scheduling some time aside for.
Whilst the cleaning process may differ to specific instruments you cannot afford to skip this important maintenance practice to help keep your equipment working in peak condition. Even the general lack of tidiness of your surrounding areas can be a potential hazard and risk to the performance of your machine.
Create a regular cleaning checklist with your team to ensure your workspace is tidy and your equipment is cleaned after use or at the end of a working day. Check out our wide range of cleaning and safety products that support cleaning surfaces, equipment and also removes paraffin wax for histology equipment.
Identify Signs of Wear and Tear
Whilst conducting your regular cleaning, check your equipment for signs of wear and tear. Over time, even the best engineered equipment will wear down especially with excessive use. The earlier you spot an issue the more likely you can rectify and repair early before any damage gets too big that you have to pay for new a placement.
Operate Equipment Correctly
If you want to prolong the life of your lab equipment, it is important to know and practice the best way to operate the machine. All equipment is installed with a user manual, provided by the manufacturer, with their expert recommendations of the instrument’s optimum usage time, instructions on how to use it correctly and the best methods of cleaning. It is best to trust and follow the words of the people who built the equipment when handling the equipment. Therefore, familiarise yourself with these instructions before using for the first time and refer back to it whenever you are unsure. That way you can confidently use machine the best way possible avoiding any wrong miss-use or damage.
Information sharing is important too when it comes to operating equipment correctly. If you feel you understand the user manual and proudly use the machine the way the manufacturers recommend, then it is important that you share this knowledge with the rest of your team and even provide support and training. This ensures that everyone within the lab is using the machine carefully and correctly. It is crucial that anyone who might need to interact with a certain piece of equipment be fully trained on its operation. Consider regular training classes not only for new technicians but also for regular staff to help serve as a refresher for safe operating procedures. Many manufacturing companies offer in-house or virtual training or can even provide videos for you to hold your own training sessions and share amongst the team.
For more information about how we can support you in maintaining your laboratory equipment’s performance and prolonging its lifespan, speak to our dedicated team on +44 (0) 844 8080 900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.