Proper caring and maintenance of both old and new equipment are essential in keeping the quality assurance and safety of a laboratory. Lab furniture and equipment that are kept in stellar condition is instrumental in ensuring consistent and reliable data, which leads to better productivity and integrity of work results.
A good laboratory equipment maintenance also keeps the cost low, since lab equipment takes up a big slice of the overall lab budget. Ensuring that the equipment is well taken care of lessens the need for premature repairs and early replacement.
In order to ensure the good condition of laboratory equipment, you need to use and get standard routines, maintenance and repair, and procedures in place.
Documentation on equipment should also be prepared, providing details on the maintenance and repair that each has gone through. A preventive maintenance program should also be outlined for each equipment.
Last but not the least, both technical and lab managers should train and practice the proper use and care of lab equipment to keep your science lab on safety.
Keeping Laboratory Equipment in Good Condition
Here’s a detailed guide to observing proper care and maintenance of your laboratory equipment:
Implementing Standard Operating Procedure for Lab Equipment Maintenance
Putting an SOP guide in place is a must for laboratory equipment maintenance. This makes sure that the care for equipment is deeply integrated within the routines of the workplace or science facility.
It is important to read the manufacturer’s operator manual. The personnel in charge must work and create detailed instructions on how each laboratory equipment should be used. These individuals are usually the lab managers or the equipment officers.
The SOP guide should keep the following:
- Title and description of every document’s scope
- Abbreviations used with corresponding definitions
- List of the personnel responsible for the equipment, which should also include each person’s qualifications and training requirements
- Instructions for the use of every equipment, in great detail
- Instructions on waste management, if applicable
- Reference documents
Documentation of Equipment Maintenance
This contains all the information regarding each piece of equipment. This is also the source of references for all the equipment maintenance where one can also look up and read the history of the equipment.
It’s the lab manager or lab equipment officer who is responsible for creating the documentation. He will create a working maintenance log that outlines the information used to identify each item such as the name, model number, purchase date, manufacturer, model, and warranty.
This should also contain details about repairs, replacement of parts, adjustments, tests, measurement, and cleaning done on the pieces of equipment.
Putting a Preventive Maintenance Program
This ensures that the science equipment is functioning properly, able to maintain its high-quality and working within the specifications of the manufacturer.
This makes the most out of equipment’s operational efficiency and cuts the overall costs. This program is usually done for laboratory equipment with moving parts, optical systems and filters, or gas and liquid flow.
Quality control and maintenance are carried out on a specified schedule, with the results duly documented.
This file should contain any error alerts on the laboratory equipment, along with the recommended action to be taken to solve it. This should also contain basic troubleshooting and logs for error reports and failure events.
Lastly, it should record all the servicing and calibration done on the laboratory equipment, including the corresponding dates these were carried out.
Training Staff on Equipment Maintenance
Both technical and managerial staff should be trained to care for the laboratory equipment and this should be done regularly, as new courses are being released for each new or improved model bought.
An expert should be present during the discussion and demonstration, with follow-up training as refresher courses, which can be done in-house.
To carry this out on a regular basis, necessary documents such as SOPs, service logs, and maintenance logs should be provided. The staff should undergo not just theoretical presentation, but also hands-on training on-the-job for the laboratory equipment use and maintenance.
Afterward, the management should implement a scoring system to help evaluate the effectiveness of the training and prevent risking the safety of both the staff and the lab products.
Observing General Care Tips for Equipment
Lab equipment and furniture, such as microscope tables, should be cleaned regularly to ensure that it can be used anytime. This also prevents stubborn dirt, stains, and substances from getting stuck, ensuring that future laboratory experiments will not be contaminated by impurities that came from past science procedures.
The lab management should make sure that each item is always cleaned before and after using it. Only cleaning aids and materials recommended for the product should be used. A schedule for more in-depth cleaning should also be made, this applies to laboratory equipment that will require a dissembling process in order to get cleaned thoroughly.
Aside from cleaning, there’s also calibration. This scientific process involves comparing standard units of measure against the measurements used by the laboratory equipment.
Scientific calibration is an important part of laboratory equipment maintenance to ensure reliable data. This is essential to make sure that measurements and materials using the lab equipment will always be accurate.
Since biases develop over time in relation to the standard units of measuring, regular calibration should be done not just once, but regularly. This ensures the validity of data and observance of safety in the facility during laboratory experiments.
Maintenance also involves the repair and replacement of defective or outdated lab equipment due to wear and tear. Maintenance and repair, as well as refurbishments, prolong the lifespan of equipment, therefore saving on the costs of buying new products.
Repairs and refurbishments of lab products should be carried out without delay in order to avoid the unfortunate instance of the lab equipment malfunctioning or breaking down in the middle of experiments, which can lead to loss of important data and a risk to the health and safety of your staff.
A major repair should be done with a science product specialist. If necessary, the piece of equipment may have to be sent to the shop to fix it. Minor repairs can be carried out by the lab staff that is trained to handle such equipment.
As for refurbishments, this can give old equipment a new lease on life. This involves a thorough cleaning, polishing, putting lubricant on movable parts, and replacing small worn-out parts.
Contact the Right Lab Equipment Supplier
Knowing how to take care of each item is essential to make sure that it lasts long. If certain equipment needs more complex repairs, let the laboratory equipment supplier or third party manufacturers handle the fixing.
If you need to get more information related to common practice on laboratory equipment maintenance and care to keep your lab clean and your staff’s health in check, read our online blog or contact us at LabTech Supply Company today.