Best practices dictate that pipettes undergo preventive maintenance and calibration at least once per year. Calibration involves dispensing set volumes of a liquid, usually water, into the weighing pan of a calibrated balance. Service personnel correct for temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure, and then compare the expected weight to the actual weight. Among the numerous service options are end-user, in-house instrument service groups, third-party maintenance organizations, and the original manufacturer. All have their benefits and drawbacks. Small, independent service providers are numerous and focus on academic customers within a relatively small geographic area. Regardless of their size, service organizations work either through “depot” arrangements (pipettes are boxed and shipped to the servicer) or on-site. Servicers generally do not require a minimum number of devices for depot service, but all have requirements for on-site service. The reason pipettes require regular maintenance is that they are mechanical devices that are, in many instances, used constantly. Volatile acids, bases, and organic solvents wreak havoc on the seals, o-rings, and metallic components.

Seventy-eight percent of the respondents feel that their current pipette(s) are adequate for their research. The sources of errors our respondents encounter with their pipettes include:

Human errors 27%
Viscosity reduces accuracy 16%
Liquids stick to tip 15%
Immersed tips carry over liquid 13%
Surface tension reduces accuracy 10%
Pipettes take up more liquid 7%
Liquids evaporate 4%
Other 4%
Liquid temperature 3%

The amount of time per day our readers and/or their staff spend using the pipettes in their labs:

Less than 1 hour 24%
1 - 2 hours 29%
2 - 3 hours 17%
over 3 hours 26%

The top ten factors/features our readers look for when buying a pipette:

  Important
Durability of product 98%
Consistent performance
and accuracy of product
97%
Availability of tips and accessories 93%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 89%
Price 86%
Designed to permit recalibration 80%
Service and support 80%
Ergonomic operation 74%
Warranties 73%
Leak detection 58%

Types of pipettes survey respondents are currently using or planning to purchase:

  Currently Using Planning to Purchase
Manual: single channel 28% 4%
Manual: multi-channel 16% 2%
Manual: fixed volume 11% 2%
Electronic: single channel 8% 3%
Electronic: multi-channel 7% 2%
Electronic: fixed volume 1% 1%
Repeater 12% 2%
Other 1% 0%

For more information on pipettes, including useful articles and a list of manufacturers, visit www.labmanager.com/pipettes

Completed Surveys: 398

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