WHAT IS PIPETTE CALIBRATION
A pipette is an instrument used to measure and transport volumes of liquid. Although this instrument seems relatively small, a pipette has a handful of moving parts that must be maintained and calibrated frequently to ensure accuracy. For example, a pipette consists of pistons, o-rings, seals and gears. After time and excessive use, these parts start to wear, which in turn affects the performance of the pipette. To confidently perform measurements, pipette calibration and maintenance is essential.
PROPER PIPETTE MAINTENANCE
Caring for a pipette is extremely important. When a pipette is properly maintained, the instrument will not only last longer, but it will provide more accurate results and will be calibrated more precisely. Consider the following when performing basic maintenance on your pipette:
- Wipe down the exterior of the pipette after each use to avoid cross-contamination.
- Visually inspect the pipette before and after each use. The pipette should be free of any damages or cracks, the plunger should be straight and the micrometer window should be properly aligned and crystal clear.
- Clean the pipette frequently by removing the tip ejector and disassembling the lower and upper half of the pipette. Be sure to inspect all moving parts and clean the air passages.
- Check to see if any parts are high on wear or deteriorating and replace if they are.
- Lubricate the pipette and then reassemble
- Send pipette to be calibrated frequently to ensure measurement accuracy
It’s important to note that these are just basic steps to take with any pipette. Check the pipettes manufacturer’s manual to ensure that there are no additional steps or procedures that need to be done.
BENEFITS OF CALIBRATING A PIPETTE
Pipette calibration is vital and can guarantee numerous benefits for you company, such as:
HIGH MEASUREMENT PERFORMANCE
Reaping this benefit is always a plus. When a pipette can measure to its highest degree, you can feel confident that the chance of measurement error is slim. High measurement performance leads to repeatability, which in terms of measurement is always a good thing. Measurements should always be consistent and precise. By frequently having your pipette calibrated, these can be guaranteed.
Pipette calibration ensures you and your customers that your instrument is reliable. Reliability is vital when it comes to measurements. If a measurement instrument is not reliable, measurements may not be accurate, which in turn could lead to safety issues, financial hardships, and increased downtime.
Everyone wants accurate measurements. That’s why frequent pipette calibration and maintenance is imperative. Accuracy is guaranteed when a pipette is frequently being checked to ensure proper measurements. Similarly to reliability, when a measurement is not accurate there is a chance of safety risks, financial issues, and downtime.
PREPARATION FOR PIPETTE CALIBRATION
Before starting pipette calibration, a technician must gathering the following materials needed for the testing process:
- Analytical Balance
- NIST Calibrated Thermometer
- Volumetric Flask
- Pipette Tips
After the equipment has been gathered, then a technician will be able to move forward with pipette calibration process.
HOW PIPETTE CALIBRATION IS PERFORMED
If your curious how a calibration lab performs pipette calibration tests, here is a 4 step guide on how technicians measure and perform pipette calibration. A calibration lab follows each step to ensure that your pipette is calibrated precisely to guarantee pipette measurement accuracy. Knowing that a calibration lab takes all testing steps seriously allows you to feel confident that your instrument will come out working even better than before.
During pipette calibration, a technician will start by recording the make, model, and serial number of a pipette. Notably, the model of the pipette will determine the minimum and maximum volume setting the technician should be measuring in.
The technician will use the pipette to collect liquid and then place it on the analytical scale. Once the pipette has been gently placed on the scale, the technician will then set the scale to 0 and securely place a pipette tip onto the pipette. This will ensure that the scale is only measuring the liquid.
Once the pipette has been placed on the scale and is securely closed, the technician will begin to measure volume settings. The pipette calibration test will consist of readings for the minimum, mid-point, and maximum volume setting. The testing will also include a recording of the temperature of the liquid being measured. Depending on the Standard Operating Procedure, the measurement and recording process will be repeated anywhere between 5 and 10 times.
After the volume measurements have been recorded, the technician will review them to determine accuracy. If the pipette fails the calibration test, the technician will observe the pipette and dictate whether the pipette needs repair. If the pipette needs to have work performed, the technician will administer the repairs and then recalibrate after the repairs have been made.