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Five statements about maintaining analytical Instruments: true or false

Effective maintenance of analytical instruments is often an overlooked subject. We asked four experts in the field to shed a little more light on the area.

Five common statements:

 

    1. If it is under warranty, I don’t need a maintenance agreement
    2. Regular maintenance is only necessary for some technologies
    3. I can save on maintenance costs if I have several instruments at the same site
    4. Maintenance is only for older instruments
    5. It is becoming increasingly common to sign up for maintenance agreements,
    so I guess it must be worth it

 

 

1. If it is under warranty, I don’t need a maintenance agreement


False: Warranty is quite different from preventative maintenance 


Lindsey Nelson, FOSS Customer manager, USA: “Many think that when they first buy a unit, no agreement is necessary for the first year because of the warranty. But a key thing about warranty is that it is not preventative and will not help maintain your instrument, keeping it running just right for reliable results.”

Merete Kræmmer Christiansen, Global manager, Services: “The warranty is important because it protects you from unforeseen costs in case you experience a problem, such as a breakdown, during the warranty period. However, to protect your instrument investment on a longer term basis, preventive maintenance makes a big difference to how long you can expect to have an optimally performing instrument.”

 

 

2.   Regular maintenance is only necessary for some technologies


False: Regular maintenance adds value for any equipment and new digital services are adding a new dimension. 


Henrik Jaunet, Senior Customer Support Manager, France: “Flow instruments in particular, such as MilkoScan, WineScan, Fossomatic and BactoScan, need to be maintained regularly in order to stay in good shape and stick to the original specifications. Many wear parts are replaced during a preventative maintenance visit on these instruments. NIR instruments have far less wear parts, but still benefit from regular checks.”

Eric Markwardt, Vice President, Customer and Sales Support at FOSS North America: “There are definitely different needs depending on the instrument.  An instrument based on flow cytometry technology like the Bactoscan, needs comprehensive maintenance at regular intervals to continue to perform at high levels.  

While the maintenance for an NIR instrument is less intensive, it is still highly relevant. Take the Foodscan for example. The preventative maintenance (PM) protocol should be followed.
For example, this protocol also includes the performance of database cleanup and conducting backups when performing this Preventive Maintenance visit. It’s not uncommon for instrument users to neglect this step and it’s somewhat time consuming, yet essential to do.”  

 

Merete Kræmmer Christiansen: “All instruments require some form of preventive maintenance. Plus, an interesting new dimension for maintaining the overall performance is the advent of so-called digital services. This goes beyond maintaining hardware, for example, with regular validation reports on calibrations for infrared-technology based solutions. Here the new digital services offered by FOSS such as FossAssure can do this remotely and not only once per year but up to 12 times a year.”

 


3.   I can save on maintenance costs if I have several instruments at the same site

 

True: Particularly when several units are located at the same site

Merete Kræmmer Christiansen: “It varies from region to region, but generally it is true to say that it is an advantage if one site visit can cover several units. Generally, several instruments at the same site are generally covered by a discount because travel costs are being compressed.”  

 

4.   Maintenance is only for older instruments

False: Any instrument needs a maintenance plan, plus a FossCare Service Solution gives an extra year of warranty.

Henrik Jaunet: “No, definitely not. Instruments need to be maintained right from the beginning,” 

 

Eric Markwardt: “New instruments benefit from FossCare the most in the form of warranty coverage. Carrying a FossCare plan essentially doubles the factory warranty. In the case of a premium plan, this coverage can continue for many more years in the form of an ongoing limited parts warranty. Lapsing your FossCare coverage would end this warranty protection.”

 

 

5.  Other instrument users have maintenance agreements so it must be worth it

True: Ask your FossCare representative for examples. 

 

Eric Markwardt: Recently, a company experienced some failures linked to monochromator units in their near infrared instruments. Because they had FossCare coverage on their instruments, they did not have to pay for the replacement parts. 

 

Henrik Jaunet: “The fact that we still have some instruments around 15 – 20 years old still working away out in the field is a testament to the power of regular maintenance. Another thing is that many appreciate that they can reach a support person quickly.”