One of the most important aspects of running a laboratory is ensuring that all machinery and equipment is well cared for. Your lab equipment is one of your biggest investments and, therefore, one of your costliest expenses; if it is cared for and properly maintained, it will be able to serve you efficiently. Your equipment must also deliver the accurate results that you need in your work; you don’t want poorly maintained equipment causing cross-contamination and unsatisfactory results. With that in mind, here are a few essential areas to consider when maintaining your lab equipment:
Keeping Things Clean
Preventative maintenance is key here, and by regularly cleaning your equipment, you can prevent issues before they occur (it also doesn’t cost you very much to do). Make sure you do all the regular cleaning that you can safely do, including regular deep cleaning of all equipment, as well as making sure everything is wiped down and inspected at the end of every day. Some tasks might need the help of a specialist cleaning service, and this is extremely advisable, as it is far cheaper to keep lab equipment clean than it is to replace it. It would also be wise to produce a cleaning rota with a detailed list of what should be cleaned, the best cleaning processes and how often they should be cleaned, along with meticulous records detailing what has been cleaned so that nothing is missed.
Keeping Things Calibrated
Accurate results are critical, and without correctly calibrated equipment, you can’t guarantee that your work is going to be valid. Either by using your own calibration tools and methods or by outsourcing to expert equipment calibrators, you should always ensure that your equipment is fit for purpose and maintained to an adequate standard for its job.
Keeping Things Working (Or Getting Them Repaired)
Not all equipment needs to be thrown out at the first sign of wear and tear. Equipment is expensive, and it’s far more cost-effective to protect what you have than to invest in more gear. Small, replaceable items that wear out, such as filters or microscope lenses, can be replaced easily enough, but more sensitive systems should be put in the hands of a specialist (like the team at macontrols.com, for example) so its efficacy and lifespan can be preserved.
Keeping In Mind, Nothing Last Forever
Eventually, everything starts to break down and lose its usefulness, and this is no less true of laboratory equipment. Knowing when to call it quits and resign a piece of machinery or equipment to the recycling bin is important. Once lab equipment has started to show signs of irreparable damage, then it could start to compromise not only your results but also your safety. When it comes time to replace an item, go for the best you can afford, as this will generally give you the best results. It will also be easier to maintain and serve you longer in the long run.
Well-maintained lab equipment will ensure you generate accurate results, save you money, and guarantee the safety of you and your team.