Lab equipment is pricey and sometimes fragile. For higher education research facilities on a budget, it is key to keep your equipment working optimally as long as possible. Well-cared-for equipment provides much more reliable, and consistent data and positively impacts your lab’s overall productivity. Equipment at a research lab facility can be tough to maintain without the right training. Hiring professionals to keep equipment working properly is an essential part of your lab’s quality assurance. For the ultimate care and maintenance guide for your lab equipment, read on!
Lab Equipment Cleaning
Keeping your equipment cleaned means that it will always be ready for use whenever you need it while also ensuring no impurities contaminate samples or skew data. Lab equipment should also be cleaned after each use. When cleaning your lab equipment, make sure that:
- Cleaning reagents are formulated for use in your lab.
- Manufacturers’ instructions are followed carefully since some pieces of equipment might require special solvents, cleaning tools, and drying procedures.
- Machines are taken apart when required for in-depth cleaning of harder-to-reach parts.
To make sure that every piece of equipment is cleaned off regularly and with the right procedure, laboratory managers should also develop a detailed cleaning schedule with plenty of instructions. Place a schedule in a central and accessible location for your staff, or place it somewhere near a corresponding piece of equipment.
Calibration is essential for laboratory equipment maintenance to ensure plenty of reliable data. When you calibrate your equipment, you’re measuring your readings against the standard units of measurements to verify the accuracy and make adjustments when necessary. Calibrate all of your equipment consistently because measurement biases can develop as time passes, which can lead to invalid data. Perform equipment calibration when:
- The manufacturer’s recommended time expires
- The equipment is dropped, hit, or also sustains any kind of force
- You notice abnormal vibrations, sounds, or patterns during use
- Measurements are significantly outside of the normal range
- The data measured is of higher importance related to your experiment
In most of these cases, you’ll need a calibration certificate to provide by an independent specialist who should be involved in every single step of the calibration process.
Lab equipment is pricey, and for higher education labs with budget restrictions, it is crucial to make your equipment last long. Repairs can also prolong the life of your equipment, saving money for your lab. To figure out whether your equipment needs refurbishment or repairs, consider:
- Can staff make repairs, or should we hire professionals?
- Is the machine that needs fixing a source of danger to the laboratory staff?
- Does the equipment just need refurbishing?
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