Time to make lemonade with your Agilent 1100 – HPLC routine maintenance

They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. In this case, the COVID-19 pandemic has handed us all more downtime, so let’s talk about one aspect of a testing lab that tends to get overlooked or given less priority than other daily tasks: routine maintenance. The combination of downtime cannabis labs are experiencing due to the COVID pandemic and a prevalent numbers of Agilent 1100s being used in these labs which not supported for service due to the “End of Guaranteed Support” (EGS) implemented by the manufacturer, it’s now more critical than ever to take advantage of the situation and educate you and your team on this topic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the cannabis and hemp community in an unprecedented manner. Some of the hardest hit businesses in the cannabis market during these times are the testing labs. Just a couple months ago, labs were running multiple shifts, investing in more personnel and instruments just to keep up with increasing sample volumes and executing on guaranteed turnaround times. Those same thriving labs are now operating with a skeleton of the workforce due to the lack samples. While we all know at some point those flourishing times of insanely high sample volumes will return, the question remains, “when?”. While we’re feeling this hardship and tensions are high due to this uncertainty of “when?”, there are still great opportunities for your lab and team to capitalize on right now.

Not too long ago many labs focused primarily on throughput, improving on sample preparation techniques, and growing their customer base and….rightfully so. There was little time to invest in other things like routine maintenance, creating a proper routine maintenance log book, keeping inventory of replacement parts, etc. And, on a quick note: not just having some inventory, but the right amount of those key replacement parts on hand for when your system went down, so you could quickly get it back up and running again. Most of us, including myself (yes, I was guilty of it too) learned this lesson the hard way. For those of you who can’t relate, I hope you embrace this article and the future literature we publish on these topics to not only prepare, but implement what we preach to avoid the troubles and headaches of instrument down time. The dreadful experience of looking at the calendar and waiting days for that package to arrive with your replacement parts is one of the most helpless moments in your professional career. The amount of business revenue loss from not having replacement parts on hand and not practicing routine maintenance can make a devastating impact on your business. BUT, using this downtime we all have right now to educate yourself along with your colleagues and implement a good routine maintenance schedule, you’ll save yourself money, time, resources, and headaches down the road. The best part….you’ll most likely be able to increase your sample throughput thanks to more instrument up-time!

We’re turning our attention to help you capitalize on the routine maintenance opportunities mentioned above. We’re focusing today’s blog on one of the most commonly used instruments in a cannabis lab; the Agilent HP 1100 series HPLC system. This system is usually equipped with a PDA or DAD for potency testing and known as the potency workhorse. Knowing how prevalent these systems are in the cannabis industry, practicing a routine maintenance schedule is of the utmost importance. Especially, since as of May 31, 2015, 1100 series HPLC systems were categorized “End of Guaranteed Support” (EGS) by Agilent. For those labs that do implement a routine maintenance program, they are most likely using a third party for this service, which can be VERY costly for those services and still leaves a dependency on someone else. It’s doesn’t leave one with a lot of security when you have to rely on someone else to get your system back up and running. So, take action and get educated, equipped and empowered with the right information and consumables. Let us help you gain that independence for these tasks and provide you with a stable supply chain for the consumables you need for routine maintenance schedules.

There’s no excuse not to give your system the love and care it deserves during this downtime you have right now. Make the time and investment now in your systems, it WILL pay off! Once you get in a good routine, it doesn’t take that much time to keep things up and running properly. Remember, the more love and consistent attention you give your system, the less likely you’ll have a surprise on your hands down the road. With that surprise leading to losing money, a back log in samples, etc.

For this blog, let’s start with some literature support to get you going! Here’s a link that provides you scheduling times and replacement parts your system needs https://www.restek.com/Supplies-Accessories/HPLC-Accessories/Instrument-Accessories-Parts?s=ins:ag and a link for our LC accessory routine maintenance parts that we carry https://www.restek.com/pdfs/GNOT3158-UNV.pdf). For those of you starting from scratch, check out these two popular kits that will get you on the right path: Autosampler PM kit (cat.# 25271) http://www.restek.com/catalog/view/9668 and Pump PM kit (cat.# 25270) http://www.restek.com/catalog/view/9669. Don’t forget to take this downtime to check out our video library to educate you and your team on routine maintenance. And, keep in mind if you have any questions or need assistance, just give our Technical Support team a call!

MOST IMPORTANTLY, Be safe everyone and know we’re here for you! Let’s make the best of things during these tough times and come out of this pandemic better and stronger together. That together includes our instruments.

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