Pipette manufacturers usually provide calibration tools and set the initial guidelines which could influence the pipette’s functionality when the instructions set are not reproduced exactly as the manufacturer instructs. If the standards are not consistent with the manufacturer’s claims, the pipette’s calibration will be off course. Environmental factors such as warmer or colder temperatures and humidity play a role as well as the temperature and viscosity of the test fluids. The environmental factors should always be recorded and incorporated into the data sheet. If a pipette tip is used other than the original tip offered for the specific pipette from the manufacturer, the functionality may be lessened. A pipette failing to produce accredited results may require repair.

Accuracy Matters

Pipettes provide accurate measurements of very small volumes of liquids in the quest to obtain correct test results. Pipettes are mechanical devices that require regular calibration service to maintain their accuracy and precision, they are the primary tools that laboratory scientists use each day.  In addition to receiving proper care and use, pipettes should undergo regular performance verifications, preventive maintenance and calibrations.

Preventive Maintenance

Over time and with use, parts within your instrument begin to breakdown, causing either silent failures or noticeable problems in the functionality of your pipette.  Silent failures can be caused by a sealing mechanism that may be old, a shaft that may be warped or cracked, a piston that may be corroded and needs to be cleaned, or even the use of an incorrect tip.

Preventive maintenance should happen along with calibration on a regular basis to ensure that your instrument continues to function properly. A good preventive maintenance process involves thoroughly cleaning and inspecting the working parts of your instrument, replacing grease and/or seals, checking for corrosion, and repairing and/or replacing parts as necessary.

Calibration

Your pipette is a sensitive instrument.  You can help reduce error in pipetting by providing a stable and suitable working environment, by practicing good technique and by ensuring that your instrument is clean and calibrated and used with a tip that ensures a solid pipetting system.  Pipettes NEED TO BE CALIBRATED!  Even with normal use, all pipettes drift over time.  You should expect your instrument to drift anywhere from 0.1-1.0% each year.  Manufacturers recommend that instruments be calibrated at least every six (6) months to a year, and as often as four (4) times a year.  The ISO 8655 Guide (Standard for pipette manufacturing) recommends regular pipette calibration for the very same reason.

If your organization prefers to outsource your pipette services due to the tedious and complicated nature of the task, or if you have questions about creating a solid pipette calibration program, contact us, we specialize in Thermometer Calibration, Pipette Calibration and Centrifuge Calibrations.   (614) 771-4700.