The care and upkeep of laboratory equipment, hardware and systems is an integral part of quality assurance in the lab. Well maintained laboratory ensures consistency and reliability in data, consequently leading to accurate results and precise findings. Moreover, pathlabs and diagnostic centers make use of costly machinery that are highly sophisticated and delicate. Hence proper maintenance of laboratories become important as it not only guarantees seamless laboratory functioning but also reduces costs.
Various procedures and routines will ensure that your laboratory equipment is well-maintained and cared for, this includes;
Often considered as the first step in maintenance, lab cleanliness is perhaps the easiest, cheapest and most obvious approach to keep the laboratory in good shape but shockingly, is frequently overlooked. To keep the laboratory clean, it is advisable to:
- Daily wipe off all equipment exterior surface to remove any dust, dirt etc. that might have lodged upon the surface of the machine. Make sure to use clean piece of cloth also, it is advised to read cleaning instructions before using any cleaning fluid, wax, polish etc.
- Once every week, carry out a deep clean of the equipment.
- Consider outsourcing cleaning of sophisticated, delicate and advanced instruments, attachments, work station etc. to qualified engineers.
Failure to regularly calibrate laboratory hardware can lead to a lack of accuracy eventually disrupting assays and experiments. It is therefore advised to regularly calibrate your lab equipment to keep lab sharp and ensure accurate results.
Every once in a while laboratory equipment, machine parts etc. will wear out and stop working. However, rather than immediately discarding the faulty equipment, it is advised to put in efforts to check if those parts can be repaired. It’s likely that equipment can be updated and maintained rather than simply disposed of
Especially with larger parts, repairing and replacing parts can be a viable method to increase the lifespan and keep down costs. If adequately managed, equipment and parts can be effectively managed and replaced in time to prevent problems or burnout.
For any faulty hardware, repairing can be invaluable, but if your items still work, just not as smoothly as before, refurbishment could hold the key. If you wish to refurbish older parts of the equipment, then the entire process of refurbishment must be undertaken through the following steps:
- Take the entire piece of equipment apart
- Fully clean each component
- Where necessary, polish components
- Re-lubricate any moving parts
- If parts are showing signs of wear and tear, consider replacing them at this preventative stage
- Put the equipment back together
Of course, the process of refurbishment is expected to be carried out by someone who has been working on the machine, and possess required skills and knowledge of the machinery.
Undoubtedly, there will be instances when regardless of proper cleaning and frequent maintenance activities, certain parts may wear out, damage or get destroyed at this juncture, the equipment will require replacements.
In such case, the following needs to be considered:
- Parts for high quality equipment is often easier to find
- It’s usually a more straightforward process to clean and refurbish high-quality items
- If you only intend to use the item for a short period of time or your budget is very tight, it could be worth looking into hiring good-quality equipment rather than purchasing the cheaper equivalents
By following these tips, you can ensure your lab and equipment will run more efficiently. You’ll also have less down time, avoid a lot of frustration, and save money.