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Top 5 Cold Storage Unit Best Practices

scientist handling cold storage unit

Your cold storage units are the unsung heroes in your lab. They’re the pieces of equipment you never think about until they stop working.

Here are five best practices for your cold storage units:

1. Make Sure The Cold Storage Unit is Evenly Stocked

An improperly stocked freezer is prone to extreme temperature shifts when the doors are opened. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep the equipment at least 30% full if possible. If this isn’t possible, add a few gel packs or sealed water bottles to keep the temperatures consistent.

Conversely, don’t overstock your cold storage. Not only will this block airflow inside the unit, it will cause your staff to keep the doors open longer searching for items. 

Avoid stocking materials that are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations on the top or bottom shelf of the unit. Instead, place them on the middle shelves of the unit to help them maintain a steady temperature.

2. Keep Your Cold Storage Equipment Cleaned and Sanitized

The best way to discourage bacterial contamination in your cold storage units is to make sure they are regularly cleaned and disinfected. A soft rag and a neutral cleaner is best for this task.

If possible, remove shelves and wipe them down, allowing them to dry completely before returning them to the unit. Clean both the interior and the exterior of the unit, paying attention to the coils as well.

To properly clean the condenser coils, use a vacuum, air jet, or a dry brush. Clean coils keep the heat exchanger working optimally, increasing the lifespan of the equipment while reducing its energy usage.

Never use bleach or harsh disinfectants that could potentially harm your equipment.

3. Frost Control

While no laboratory wants to place a cold storage unit out of service, it’s necessary to schedule a defrost at least once per year, or whenever the frost is more than one centimeter thick. This increases the unit’s energy efficiency and ensures an even temperature. Use this time to check all gaskets and door seals to make sure they’re still sealing properly.

4. Labels Facing Out

Position all items in cold storage with the labels facing out to ensure staff can quickly find what they’re looking for. This helps reduce the amount of time the unit’s doors are open. Discourage random repositioning of stored items. Your lab may even benefit from a spreadsheet that outlines where items are stored in the unit.

5. Replace Cold Storage Units In Time

As cold storage units age, they’ll become increasingly unreliable and consume more energy. You may find your lab is frequently repairing older units. As a rule, the average lifespan of a cold storage unit is twelve to fifteen years. If your equipment is nearing its end of life, consider purchasing a new one or replacing it with a newer used one.

BaneBio is Your Partner for New and Used Cold Storage Equipment

If it’s time to replace your lab freezer or refrigerator, BaneBio has the products you need. Whether you’re looking at a new piece or a certified used piece, browse our products and find your perfect replacement. We accept trade-ins and purchase used lab equipment as well. Reach out to us and learn more!

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Preventive Maintenance For Your Lab Equipment

scientist working in research lab

We all grew up hearing the saying, “a stitch in time will save you nine.” The idea is a simple one; taking care of an issue while it’s small will save you headaches in the future. The concept is true in nearly every situation from routine car maintenance to lab equipment preventive maintenance. 

Why is preventive maintenance for lab equipment recommended? Let’s take a look.

1. Missing Your Lab Equipment Preventive Maintenance Tasks Could Void Warranties

Ignoring routine preventive maintenance for your car, such as oil changes, can ultimately lead to a failed claim against the car’s warranty. Warranties are very specific as to what actions are required to keep the warranty valid. It’s the same for all warranties, including your expensive lab equipment. Planned preventive maintenance tasks should be performed as specified within your equipment’s warranty, and the tasks will need to be tracked and logged.

Preventive maintenance for lab equipment will make it far easier to repair or replace items covered under warranty.

2. Preventive Maintenance Plans Keep Repair Costs Low

Addressing small issues as they arise will save a lot of money in the long run. Equipment already takes up the largest part of your laboratory budget, and no lab manager wants to think about replacing or repairing it. Keeping equipment well-maintained means catching a small problem and fixing it before it escalates into a costly repair or replacement.

As a side note, keeping your equipment well-maintained also means you will get top dollar on it if you trade it in or sell it.

3. Maintain Consistency, Safety, and Accuracy

Laboratory equipment that isn’t properly maintained can become unreliable, providing data that is inconsistent and inaccurate. Additionally, improperly maintained equipment can be hazardous for your teams to use, resulting in injury or accidental exposure to hazardous materials. Maintaining equipment is an important part of a complete quality control plan.

4. Preventive Maintenance Helps Your Lab Stay Compliant

Your lab equipment is covered under several regulations. Starting with ISO/IEC 17025, these regulations are highly specific regarding how to calibrate, test, and maintain laboratory equipment. Failure to follow regulations can lead to costly violations and possible suspension of your laboratory’s licence.

5. Downtime Will Ruin Your Day

Your lab equipment never chooses a good time to fail. It’s unpredictable, and a failure can ruin your test results and samples. Planned preventive maintenance will help mitigate the risk of a catastrophic failure that can adversely affect your team’s hard work.

Leave it to the Pros

BaneBio recommends routine preventive maintenance on all your critical instruments and equipment to help make sure your equipment is running optimally. To find out how our qualified used laboratory equipment technicians can stop problems before they start, contact us for a free consultation today.

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Research Laboratory Equipment Maintenance & Repair Checklist

3 researchers in a laboratory

The biggest investments you will ever make for your lab are purchasing your equipment, and maintaining it to keep it working properly. How do you keep it running safely, smoothly, and accurately? Here is a research laboratory equipment maintenance and repair checklist to keep your equipment humming along.

Start with an SOP

Every piece of equipment, from your microscopes to your biological safety cabinet, should have a clear Standard Operating Procedure relating to it. An SOP ensures that everyone using the equipment understands how to use it properly, and how to maintain it. Being able to prove that you have an SOP can help you in many ways, from regulatory compliance to tapping in to the warranty on a piece of malfunctioning equipment.

Your SOPs should cover, at a minimum:

  • The piece of equipment referenced, as well as the serial number, year, make, and model
  • A definition of any abbreviations used within the document
  • A list of employee job titles who have authorization to use the equipment, as well as any applicable certifications
  • Detailed instructions for proper use of the equipment
  • Detailed description of the maintenance required for the equipment

Keep a separate folder near each piece of equipment, and store all documents that came with the equipment such as guides or maintenance instructions. This is the perfect place to keep records of all maintenance, calibrations, repairs, and routine cleaning performed on the equipment.

If applicable, directions for disposing of any waste or hazardous materials should be included in each folder as well.

Routine Cleaning

Cleaning is an important part of ensuring your research laboratory equipment remains in good working order, with no chance of cross-contamination of your samples. To thoroughly clean your equipment:

Daily: 

  • Wipe down all equipment externally
  • Clean and disinfect your sinks 
  • Organize and sanitize all work spaces

Weekly: 

  • Deep clean the equipment
  • Use a 70:30 mix of alcohol or ether to clean your microscopes
  • Check for expired solutions, such as those needed to calibrate equipment

Calibration

Calibration ensures the accuracy of your test results, making this a very important step in laboratory maintenance and repair. 

  • Post signs reminding users to calibrate
  • Make a running sheet of all results after calibration
  • Ensure that all necessary calibrating supplies are near the machines
  • Keep completed calibration logs in the folder you created for the equipment SOPs

Routine Maintenance

Routine maintenance not only keeps your equipment running smoothly and accurately but it will allow you to notice issues you might have missed such as failing parts, loose pieces, and other potential troubles.

Check the manual supplied with the equipment for manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance. Some machines require a more complete inspection annually, or every few months, to make sure they are performing optimally.

Repair, Replace, or Refurbish?

If you notice your equipment is not as reliable as it once was, you have three choices: repair it, refurbish it, or replace it.

Older pieces of equipment may still have some life in them, and refurbishing might be the answer. To refurbish your laboratory equipment:

  • Dismantle the entire piece of equipment
  • Deep clean each individual piece
  • Polish or lubricate moving parts
  • Replace parts that are showing sign of wear

If your equipment is still not functioning properly, you will need to send it out for a professional repair or have someone come to your location to fix it.

If the equipment is past its lifespan and is no longer reliable, replacing it is the best option. Luckily, used laboratory equipment is available, saving money on replacement costs. In addition, companies like BaneBio will buy your equipment or use it as a trade-in on newer equipment.

This checklist is not an exhaustive list of all your research laboratory equipment maintenance and repair issues, but it’s a good jumping off point for getting started on your own program.

BaneBio is available for repairs, relocations, sales, services, assembly, and purchases of laboratory equipment. Have a question? Contact us today to see how we can help you!

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Your Laboratory Equipment: Why a Contract Service Agreement Just Makes Sense

laboratory equipment preventative maintenance
No matter what your core business is, you need the right tools in good working order to deliver accurate results on time and on budget.

Never is this more evident than inside a laboratory. Having the right equipment—and keeping it running smoothly and calibrated accurately—is what makes it possible for your staff to do their jobs.

Fortunately, unlike some of the challenges laboratories have dealt with in the past six months, controlling downtime due to faulty instrumentation is one factor that affects your business that is within your control as a lab owner or manager.

There are four reasons why contracting with an experienced industry partner for an ongoing laboratory service agreement makes sense for you as a lab owner or manager:

1. Mitigates Downtime

First and foremost, if your equipment isn’t working, your lab’s productivity grinds to a halt. When your instrumentation is down, your staff can’t work. Having your equipment properly maintained on a regular basis is the most effective way to fix that. Knowing your instrumentation is being evaluated and maintained by a service contract team will enhance your team’s performance, mitigate downtime, and give you peace of mind.

2. Reduces Costs

With your lab instrumentation and equipment as with so many other things, an ounce of prevention is well worth a pound of cure. When you have periodic, regular maintenance through a service agreement, it is much more likely that problems with your equipment will be caught and addressed before they turn into larger issues. Letting one of these issues with your instrumentation go unheeded and unaddressed can take a big toll on your productivity, compromising your production schedule and deliverables. And if any of your lab equipment needs to be repaired, your service partner will be available to fix it—and that means you can manage your timelines better, meet your deadlines, and keep costs under control.

3. Allocates Resources Effectively

Are you currently relying on your bench scientists to keep their own equipment running well? While it may be true that some of your staff have the skills and experience needed to maintain and calibrate their lab equipment, does it make sense to ask them to? Assigning these more routine maintenance and repair tasks to a team of experts whose only job is to keep your equipment in good working order will allow your team to focus on the higher level of tasks you hired them to do.

4. Saves Time

Having a single point of contact when you need equipment maintained or repaired will save you from the lost time that results from having to manage different vendors and various maintenance schedules for each of your departments. A contract service agreement simplifies this often-complex administrative process and gives you and your team more time to focus on accomplishing the deliverables and other tasks at hand.

When you contract with an experienced and reliable service partner, you will have the assurance that your investment in your equipment and instrumentation is being protected properly. In addition to having the peace of mind that your assets will be in top working order when you need them to be, you will be able to mitigate downtime, reduce costs, allocate your resources more effectively, and save time—all important strategic advantages that your lab can leverage to benefit your laboratory operation and results.

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The Benefits of Preventive Maintenance for Your Lab Equipment

lab equipment repair
Most things you own require some degree of preventive maintenance. In your personal life, your vehicle is a perfect example – you need to have preventive maintenance performed from time to time in order to improve the odds of reliable performance. The story is the same with laboratory equipment. If you keep up with the recommended preventive maintenance for your lab equipment, it’s far more likely that you’ll get a long useful life from each piece.

Let’s take a closer look at why preventive maintenance is a good idea. When you are ready to schedule this kind of work, please contact BaneBio for assistance!

Avoid Wasteful Downtime

In a busy lab, downtime simply is not acceptable. When you are without key pieces of equipment unexpectedly, you will have a hard time catching up – and falling behind in this way can have all kinds of other ramifications. While you’ll obviously have to stop using equipment for it to be serviced, the benefit here is that you can schedule the downtime at a point in the schedule which is convenient for the operation as a whole. Looking out ahead on your calendar and picking out spots to have service completed is the best way to reduce the productive time you lose to service work.

Save Money in the Long Run

It’s true that you will need to spend money to have preventive maintenance performed on your lab equipment, but that money is likely to be a wise investment when all is said and done. It’s usually more cost effective to get out in front of a problem than to let it get to the point where the piece of equipment needs major repairs – or needs to be replaced entirely. Try to see the big picture on this point and understand that investing in your lab equipment now should not be seen as an optional expense.

Remain Accurate

One of the most important reasons to keep up with preventive maintenance is to help your equipment stay on track from an accuracy perspective. Inaccurate equipment is virtually useless in a lab, so this motivation alone should be enough to pay attention to your maintenance schedule. A properly working piece of lab equipment is one you can rely on to offer the kind of accurate performance that your business or organization demands.

Keep It Simple

By working with BaneBio to handle your maintenance needs, you can keep things simple with regard to your equipment care. By having a go-to vendor for all of your preventive maintenance needs, you won’t need to waste time tracking down help when you realize that some type of work needs to be done on a piece of equipment. Build a relationship with BaneBio through consistent maintenance visits and we’ll be ready and able to handle many various issues that could pop up along the way. In the end, you don’t want to be bogged down with equipment maintenance when you should be focused on the work that your organization is trying to complete. Reach out today to learn more about what we can offer!