September 6, 2017
Covered Under Warranty?
CRASH!!!! Your 8-channel liquid handling robot arm just raked across the deck and one of the z-axis rods looks bent. No problem, just call the manufacturer and have them come fix it, after all, it is still under warranty...right? Well, maybe...
Most instrument warranties cover parts and labor but, that usually comes with the expectation that the failure is due to normal wear and tear, not abuse or unintended usage. Using the liquid handler failure above as an example, the 8-channel arm likely got damaged because it failed to move to a safe Z-travel height before moving in X or Y. But, was that because the arm failed to execute that command or because the programmer failed to instruct the arm to do so? While a failure such as this might not occur in assays that have been running successfully for some period of time, they are more common when the user is still developing the assay or debugging it. This type of failure could also occur because an operator forgot to retract the arm after some assay interruption or error condition.
Many OEM's (Original Equipment Manufacturer) will work with you to get the instrument back online and some may even be tolerant of such failures to the point of covering the associated costs under their warranty..but, you will most likely find there is a limit to their understanding. If an instrument fails under normal usage, OEM's should and will cover repair costs but if an instrument fails again, or frequently due to operator error the OEM could and should charge for parts and labor and travel, even though the unit is under warranty. Although such a stance would be unpopular for end-users, it is really no different than what you might experience in other areas of your life. If you use your SUV to haul a boat that exceeds the vehicles gross towing rate you will probably damage your transmission or rear axle. Should you expect Ford or GM pay for that? The honest answer is, no.
Whether you bought the instrument new and are under the original warranty, or if you have purchased an extended warranty, make sure you understand just what kinds of failures are covered. Ask up front. Even if you purchase refurbished instruments, there is a limit to they nature of the failures that are covered (BTW - you should always insist on a minimum of a 6 month warranty on refurbished equipment). New or used, a warranty is a quality statement by the provider. Buying instruments "AS IS" or with a "Money Back Guarantee" should set off alarm bells that the low price option that looks so attractive today, could prove to be a costly investment in the future. Caveat Emptor...
What options should you consider when the warranty expires? That will be the subject of our next blog...
August 11, 2017
Got Liquid Handling Problems? Part 1
Been A While Since You Had Your EVO or Genesis Serviced?
The LabSquad can provide a variety of cost-effective service options;
Basic Tune-Up PM's
Comprehensive OEM-Style PM's
Annual Service Contracts
Just let us know how we can help!
July 11, 2017
Clean Up Your Act... Uh, Instrument
Okay, it's been awhile...a long while. For someone who has never been accused of being the quiet type, I cannot believe it has been this many months since I last blogged.
Ugh. I need to clean up my act...
On that note, I thought I would remind readers on the importance of proper decontamination of instruments prior to service. Field Service Engineers work on a variety of instruments from numerous labs. They rarely have the benefit of knowing what protocols, reagents or solvents have been in contact with a failed instrument.
Every repair or PM procedure from The LabSquad starts with a decontamination. We ask customers to perform this procedure prior to a visit to save time and to tag the instrument's decon status. Even then, our engineers always ask the user to verify decon prior to beginning their work. You can never be too careful. For depot (return to factory) repairs, we will provide a Decon Form that must be filled out and packaged with the returned instrument as we do not want shippers (...your, ours, freight carriers) to be exposed to any 'badness.'