Equipment inventory and calibration

Your lab is similar to this scenario:

Your laboratory uses various pieces of equipment that require periodic maintenance, and has scheduled internal or external calibrations. Equipment varies from large and expensive pieces, such as NMR, HPLC, GC MS, electron microscopes, automation stations, qPCR, to smaller pieces, such as pH meters, balances, pipettes. The common ground is that each piece of equipment can influence the quality of data it produces, therefore its management is critically important for your lab. Usually, labs like yours would have a list of equipment to better control its management. Such laboratories often employ individuals who are responsible for specific pieces of equipment, caretakers.

Size:  All sizes of laboratories and departments/groups.

Keywords describing the example: equipment management, quality control, accreditation, certification, equipment, maintenance, servicing, calibration

Suggested SciNote structure:

1. Team:  For you, the team is your lab team. People who work on different (or same) projects and collaborate when needed.

3. Experiments: Experiment can be either a quarter (Q1, Q2), a date (e.g. week 1-3, or Jan 2021, or week 1, or a specific date, depending how often the calibration happens), a type of equipment (e.g.: Pipettes Q1 2021), or a concrete piece of equipment (e.g. Balance X). 

2. Project: In this case, you can create a separate project dedicated to equipment maintenance and calibration 

4. Tasks: The task contains the protocol that needs to be followed to calibrate the equipment. Task could again be a date. To be even more precise and make your data completely traceable, you can create an inventory of your lab equipment (with relevant data for each piece of equipment – ID, codes, files etc.). Then, the appropriate equipment piece from the inventory can be simply assigned to the task. This means you will always have the full history of what has been done with each piece of equipment, one click away. Once calibration is done, the task is locked and signed. In this way the Task represents a calibration record for your equipment.

To sum it up, your SciNote structure could be

Team 1: Your Lab Team

Project(s): Equipment maintenance and calibration

Experiment(s): Equipment validations/calibrations in Q1 2021

Task(s): Incubator, Balance, Pipettes, … (with calibration due date, a protocol, certificate, signed and approved).

Equipment validations

Examples of additional functionalities that are helpful:

Inventory management

A dedicated inventory in SciNote lists individual pieces of equipment. For each equipment, you can store all the required information relevant for finding, maintaining and calibrating the equipment. For example, inventory can store name of equipment, equipment type (balance, pipette, PCR,…), manufacturer, internal ID, caretaker name and contact, date of purchase, date of first use, calibration period, next calibration date, next maintenance date, equipment instructions, service company, emergency contacts. Equipment inventory is useful not only to help you maintain and calibrate the equipment, you can also use it to assign the equipment to your experiments and protocols. You can always add equipment to the inventory and then assign it to the task within the experiment. This means you will always have the full history of what has been done with each individual piece of equipment, one click away.

Shared inventories

If you and another lab team are sharing the equipment, the inventory of lab equipment can even be shared between your teams.

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