Routine management of lab automation equipment ensures laboratory experiments can be conducted proficiently without affecting their quality. Well-maintained pieces of equipment also ensure the experiment results are reliable and consistent. Most importantly, proper care prevents possible malfunctions and unnecessary repairs in the long run. Initially, maintenance costs of such equipment might seem very high but repairing and even replacement in some cases can be far more expensive for the lab.
1. Establish Detailed SOPs
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) dictate how lab automation equipment should be maintained. SOPs are particularly useful for complex lab equipment, ensuring all the team members know how to maintain the equipment.
Accordingly, every laboratory should create SOPs with detailed equipment use and maintenance instructions. An effective SOP includes:
The description of the equipment and its purpose
The procedures to operate it safely
The do’s and don’ts of using an equipment
A detailed guide on quality control and maintenance
Supportive instructions on waste management
Link to reference documents like manuals associated with the equipment and the manufacturer’s website
2. Curate a Preventive Maintenance Program
Just like SOPs, a preventive maintenance program is also essential to ensure all the equipment in the laboratory work with minimal interruptions, be it robotic arm automation or assembly automation equipment. In other words, a preventive maintenance program helps improve the product’s operational efficiency. It should usually include:
A thorough weekly inspection for wear and tear
Checking for error alerts to discover the signs of any possible malfunction
Routine lubrication of any movable parts such as robotic arms, gears, etc.
Proper cleaning and sterilization of the equipment or part of them that conduct sample testing
Intensive training and monitoring of the lab staff regarding operating the lab equipment
3. Ensure Proper Training of the Laboratory Staff
Training the management and technical staff is vital to avoid the malfunctioning of laboratory equipment.. The initial orientation session of the employees should involve induction training and demonstration, so the employees can get a basic sense of how to use the equipment safely.
However, over time, employees should be practically taught how to:
Write and follow necessary documentation like SOPs
Deal with basic malfunctioning of the equipment
Take care of the equipment, such as lubrication and cleaning
Check for possible damage and alert signs
To amplify the training impact, all the employees can be evaluated on a scoring system to understand how well they know about dealing with the lab equipment.
It goes without saying that proper maintenance and care of lab equipment can ensure high performance of laboratories’ results and productivity and reduce maintenance costs in the long run. Therefore, laboratories should establish a robust maintenance plan and follow it. Looking for high-quality automation equipment and hardware? Contact Retisoft today and experience the region’s best laboratory products and services.