Analytical lab instruments are expensive bits of kit that can function perfectly for many years - IF you look after them right.
However… We know that many users stick them on a shelf in the lab and use them without thinking about their long term care.
If an instrument stops working, or gives incorrect readings, it can cause havoc in the lab - with team members queuing up to use it for their important and time-sensitive research and analysis!
We want to help you get the most out of your scientific instruments, over the long term. With that in mind, here are our top tips for making sure your instrument stays sharp and accurate…
How to look after your spectrophotometer
1. Keep the environment clean
A poor environment will lead to quicker performance degradation, and can also cause instrument readings to be off. This includes smoke, fuming or volatile chemicals, high humidity or temperature. Where possible, put your instrument on a bench in a clean, cool area, where it’s unlikely to come into contact with smoke or humidity.
2. Keep an eye on the lamps… and be careful how you align them!
If your lamp has degraded, e.g. been exposed to smoke or volatile chemicals, this can lower performance and increase noise and stray radiation. You can replace the lamps without needing to buy a new instrument, but be careful not to touch the new one - contact with skin will cause issues. You'll also need to align them correctly when you put them in! (If you get your instrument regularly serviced by a professional, they will do this for you as needed.) If the lamps are not correctly aligned, the performance of the instrument will suffer and your readings may be incorrect. If using micro-cells or micro flowcells, alignment is even more critical.
3. Train users
It may sound obvious, but users should be correctly preparing samples and allowing the machine to properly warm up before use. Consider getting regular training for your users - or putting a little notice next to the instrument with a user-friendly guide, if you have a lot of user turnover (e.g. students).
4. Watch the power
Your instrument should get a stable power supply - try to avoid plugging it into overloaded lines with a bunch of heavy current-drawing equipment!
5. Have it serviced regularly
We can catch potential issues before they mess with your readings or cause instrument failure. Our engineers can open the instrument, clean and re-calibrate it, and change lamps etc if necessary. By scheduling annual services, for example, you can ensure your instrument lives a long and useful life!
Following these tips should ensure your instrument gives speedy and accurate readings for years to come.