Preventing Instrument Maintenance Issues and Downtime in LaboratoryWorks: Part One

Unplanned and unexpected instrument downtime in a lab means delays and frustrations that can potentially damage a lab’s reputation to reliably deliver high-quality results.

Problem: Unplanned and unexpected instrument downtime in a lab means delays and frustrations that can potentially damage a lab’s reputation to reliably deliver high-quality results. A 2018 survey of 700 lab managers in four countries—conducted by market research firm Frost & Sullivan on behalf of Agilent Technologies—asked lab managers to rank their top five challenges.

Instrument maintenance and downtime topped the list at 73 percent. Regular instrument maintenance is essential for sustaining high instrument performance and minimizing costly unplanned downtime.

But many variables can sometime result to unplanned maintenance and downtime, these including

  1. High sample loads,
  2. Multiple work shifts, and
  3. Challenging operating conditions

These factors can drive the need for more frequent maintenance than just the basic manufacturer recommended intervals. Keeping track of all that can be a chore, especially when there are multiple instruments in the lab.

Thus, it is critical for lab managers to keep equipment maintained in top condition to avoid any downtime and also costly repairs. While lab managers are ultimately responsible for operational efficacy, It is also important to know that equipment maintenance is a team effort. This means having “people involved at the right place and at the right time.” To render maintenance service within shortest available time or remotely as the case maybe

Laboratory manager also overseeing equipment maintenance is a daily task. Lab manager needs to stay active in the lab and establish open lines of communication with team members to remind them of their responsibilities and to detect any issues that may arise. Lab managers “Prevent the creation of an environment where workers are afraid of getting in trouble if they report problems with equipment.”

Tips To Prevent Unplanned Lab Downtime

1.      Don’t skip preventive maintenance

Scheduling regular preventive maintenance maximizes uptime, extends the useful life of your instruments, and increases the accuracy of your results. It can even reduce unexpected repairs by 24%. To make it even easier, you can schedule maintenance based on your actual application and instrument with your instrument maintenance vendor

2.      Optimize your methods

Partner with application consultants to find and incorporate hidden method improvements that can increase the value of your system.

3.      Expand your system users’ knowledge and skills

Expand your system users’ knowledge and skills Increasing user skill improves your lab’s throughput and analytical accuracy.
Agilent university offers flexible training for all types of users.

4.      Connect, collaborate, and share insights

Quickly ask and find answers to your questions. Build connections and access exclusive content in the agilent community

5.      Get your system covered

Protect your lab equipment and minimize expensive downtime with a AAS service plan. Maintaining instrument performance is critical to the success of your lab. You can enhance productivity, control costs, and empower everyone to achieve excellent results with agilent crosslab service plans.

Our plans cover both agilent and non-agilent instruments, and enable your lab to:

  • Reduce downtime by as much as 2.4* days per year
  • Produce reliable data with high accuracy and sensitivity
  • Protect your software and instruments with the level of repair coverage that works best for you

6. Service Contract Management And Inventory Control

Service contracts and agreements with vendors and service suppliers are another key point in the maintenance process and in reducing downtime.

Employees involved in Preventing Maintenance Issues and Downtime in the Lab

  • Top management
  • Operators
  • Project team
  • Project management
  • Support and administrative personnel
  • Maintenance supervisor team
  • Vendors and suppliers


Posted by Gabriel Oweh

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