Every manufacturer in the instrument business has gotten the phone call from an old customer. The customer bought a great analyzer and used it successfully. Then, for various reasons, the instrument became forgotten. A few years later, there is a new project and nobody remembers how to use instrument or software properly. Even worse, nobody quite remembers where to find the sample cells. Repair people visit and bring back reports of new civilizations evolved from unidentified crud that was left by the last user. Eventually and at some expense, the instrument is brought back to life. Users are trained, useful data is collected and the instrument owner profits.
Running an instrument regularly (every week) and using the data forces laboratories to keep things clean and confirm instrument performance. Regular use gives operators practice and familiarity that leads to better analytical results.
As new opportunities or problems arise, laboratories will shift focus and work in other areas. Analyzers can be stored away. But, the best analyzers are run by skilled people. And these skills can atrophy with time. Below we list some suggestions for the minimum effort required to keep an instrument and staff ready to quickly restart regular particle analysis.
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