Why is Pipette Calibration Important?


Pipette calibration is important for good laboratory practice and is a vital part of any lab regime where precise volumes of fluid need transferring or diluting. Routine calibration produces higher quality results and saves money on reagents. Pipettes typically wear down or break 0.1-1.0% over each year, even with normal usage. Worn pipettes are outcomes of continuous usage, frequency of volume change, user experience, the overall treatment of the pipette, the make of the pipette and the type of work. The wear and tear can impact performance measurement, produce poor test results, delays, rework and waste. Breakdowns can be noticeable but most are silent failures that are overlooked such as old sealing mechanisms, cracked shaft, corroded piston, and using the incorrect tip.

Pipette manufacturers usually provide calibration tools and set the initial guidelines which could have an effect on 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.

Error can be reduced by providing a stable work environment, practicing good technique, ensuring instrumental cleanliness and using the proper tip. Maintaining the instrument with preventative maintenance and calibration is approximately 10-20% the cost of getting a completely new replacement pipette. Preventative maintenance is essential to attaining better results, performance, and extending the longevity of the pipette itself. Preventative maintenance includes cleaning and inspecting working parts, changing greasy seals, checking for corrosion, and repairing or replacing any necessary parts.

Service is not a hurried process and is usually required once a year, however, calibrating every six months or even as much as four times a year will increase consistent reproducibility. Pipette companies can calibrate their tools in varying services. Regulated labs requiring data point results go through calibration certifications with pass/fail status according to manufacture or operator requirements. Labs with ISO 27205 accredited service involve full certification and statistical analysis to perform the specified calibration.

Wheaton offers fast and reliable service repair, maintenance and calibration for Socorex pipettes ranging from basic repair to Good Laboratory Practice requirements. We can guarantee that only genuine Socorex spare parts are used for repairs and that the instruments are built to last. If you would like to talk to technical support personnel about service requests, warranty repairs, repair preparation or any other questions you may have, please contact us at 800.225.1437 ext. 9901 or email us at servicerequest@wheaton.com.

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About the Author : Jackie Williams

Jackie has a dual role at WHEATON. She serves as both a Product Manager for Liquid Handling and a Content Strategist for all WHEATON products. She has worked in the pharmaceutical, food & beverage and chemical industries prior to joining WHEATON. Her educational background includes a B.S. in chemistry from Ursinus College and an MBA from Rutgers University. Jackie brings products to market with insight gained from hands-on experience.

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