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When to decide to repair, replace or refurbish your laboratory equipment

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Posted by: Violet Manning
Posted on: 24/04/2024

The lifespan of chromatography equipment plays a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency and reliability of analytical processes in your laboratory.

From HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) systems to GC (Gas Chromatography) instruments, the longevity of these tools varies widely, influenced by factors such as usage intensity, maintenance practices, and technological advancements.

As laboratories strive to uphold stringent standards of accuracy, it’s vital to know when equipment requires repair, replacement, or refurbishment.

Signs to refurbish or replace your laboratory equipment

When deciding if your laboratory instruments or hardware needs replacing, there are several common signs to look out for.


The safety of the user is a primary factor in deciding when to refurbish a laboratory.

Equipment usually has safeguards to protect people, but if things like emergency shut-offs or pressure relief valves aren’t working properly, they can’t protect your staff.

It’s also worth regularly checking that gas services aren’t showing signs of leaking and that ventilation systems are working effectively so your staff aren’t breathing in hazardous chemicals.


Your laboratory operations rely on the consistent performance of your chromatography equipment.

If you notice variations in analytical results, like changes in retention times or peak shapes, it might indicate underlying problems with equipment performance. Using outdated or subpar equipment can not only affect productivity but also lead to inaccurate results. This can compromise the reliability of your findings by producing erroneous data.

Your laboratory layout might also be affecting your productivity, causing staff or students to get in each other’s way frequently, so it’s worth reviewing this regularly to ensure an efficient flow is in place.

Rust and corrosion

Laboratories exposed to high humidity, corrosive chemicals, or saline environments are particularly susceptible to rust and corrosion, hardening and cracking of rubber seals, and degradation of plastics.

Over time, metal components of chromatography equipment may succumb to corrosion due to natural oxidation processes.

This is why it’s important to regularly inspect equipment, looking for any areas on metal surfaces that appear darker or discoloured compared to the surrounding material. It’s worth paying special attention to seams, welds, and joints, as these areas are particularly susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Equipment failure

One of the clearest signs that your laboratory is past its best is if equipment starts to fail. That could be a complete breakdown, or an increasingly frequent need to recalibrate.

At some point, it becomes more economical to replace equipment that is no longer functioning well, a good option for this is purchasing reconditioned equipment, which we talk more about a little later.

How to assess and maintain equipment

To spot the signs mentioned above, you should regularly inspect your laboratory equipment and have a regular service maintenance plan. By having these in place, you can catch problems early on, preventing costly repairs or downtime in the future.

The below proactive measures ensure the continued functionality and reliability of your laboratory.

Regularly clean HPLC equipment

Proper cleaning procedures are essential for maintaining the performance and longevity of your HPLC equipment.

To ensure optimal operation, it’s important to regularly clean components such as solvent lines, injection ports, detectors, and columns. Thorough cleaning helps prevent contamination, preserves the accuracy of analytical results, and extends the lifespan of your equipment.

For detailed instructions on how to clean HPLC equipment effectively, check out our blog here.

Put a routine service plan in place

Having regular servicing helps prevent breakdowns by addressing potential issues before they escalate and ensure your analysis continues to run smoothly and your lab works efficiently.

Additionally, servicing optimises equipment performance by fine-tuning settings, calibrating instruments, and troubleshooting minor problems, all helping to extend the lifespan of your equipment and minimise costly repairs or replacements in the long run.

At LC Services, we provide support for a wide array of machinery within numerous laboratories. You can learn more about our service plans and preventative maintenance here.

Utilise refurbished parts or equipment

Choosing refurbished equipment can be a cost-effective and reliable alternative to purchasing new instruments, particularly for labs with budget constraints.

One way we help ensure laboratories run smoothly is by introducing our reconditioned and exchange parts programme, which is available worldwide. We recently even shipped reconditioned parts to a client in Australia, with delivery taking just three days.

All of our refurbished parts and equipment undergo rigorous inspection, testing, and refurbishment processes to ensure quality and reliability. By opting for refurbished equipment, you can enjoy significant cost savings and contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing waste, all without compromising on performance.

When purchasing reconditioned lab equipment, several factors need to be considered, such as service and source history, and warranty, all of which we cover in our blog here.

Why choose LC Services

At LC Services, we offer a range of service plans, which include preventative maintenance.

All our service contracts do vary and are dependent on you, your chromatography equipment, and instruments, as well as the volume of business you have. We consider all of this, offering any specific customer requirements before giving you a specialised quote.

Each of our service plans includes technical support, tailored to meet the needs of your laboratory, plus access to our online breakdown logging facility.

Explore our service plans

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