All laboratory equipment will wear down eventually. Nevertheless, there are lots of ways you can reduce wear and tear and extend the lifespan of laboratory equipment effectively.
Keeping lab equipment in good shape is crucial to maintaining the safety of procedures and the accuracy of results. But since most types of laboratory equipment are used almost every day, how can laboratory managers and personnel reduce wear and tear on them?
Here are some great ideas:
1. Prioritize preventive maintenance
Preventive maintenance is the best way to keep lab equipment, such as ultra-low temperature laboratory freezers, in the best shape possible and prevent costly repairs or replacements. That said, instead of fixing lab equipment as they break down, maintain them regularly to prevent problems in the first place. Aside from saving money in repairs and extending the service life of the equipment, preventive maintenance also reduces delays in the lab due to broken equipment.
2. Clean regularly
Just like any other type of equipment, lab equipment wears down much faster if it’s burdened with dirt and debris. That said, regular and thorough cleaning is a must when it comes to lab equipment maintenance. Aside from employing a Clean As You Go policy, ensure that lab equipment goes through deeper cleaning periodically to remove any debris, dirt, or residue in the nooks and crannies.
3. Calibrate properly
Regular calibration is another crucial part of lab equipment maintenance, not only for the accuracy of results but also for equipment upkeep. Calibrate equipment and instruments regularly to keep them accurate as well as to avoid unnecessary repairs.
4. Read the product manual
The manual contains all the necessary information needed to maintain equipment safely and properly. Read the manual carefully, especially if it is a new piece of laboratory equipment that you are not familiar with.
5. Teach personnel about proper usage
Lab equipment won’t last if they are constantly misused. Teach laboratory personnel how to use a piece of equipment properly before they even touch it. With proper handling and usage, pieces of lab equipment are less prone to breaking, as well as wear and tear. Moreover, allow trained personnel only to handle lab equipment to avoid premature replacements.
6. Reduce hazards
There are many physical hazards present in a laboratory, not only to people–but also to equipment. Protect your equipment from possible hazards, such as electrical wiring problems, chemical spills, and fire risks, by putting appropriate safety measures in place.
7. Replace parts when necessary
When a component of a piece of lab equipment is faulty, timely replacement is the key to prevent further damage. Hence, don’t hesitate to replace equipment parts when necessary. However, when the replacement part is going to cost more than half of a new piece of equipment, it’s more economical to replace the whole unit entirely.
8. Use a maintenance log
Having an equipment maintenance log helps ensure that proper maintenance is done on time. You can use one of your own or you can download a free template from the Web.
Lab equipment and instruments are costly, which is why extending their service life is the best way to keep your laboratory budget under control. Use these tips to keep your lab equipment in good shape for more years to come, both for the accuracy of work and the economic advantage.