There’s nothing worse than pulling out a piece of equipment for the first time in a while and finding that it doesn’t work anymore, especially when you've got a patient in the chair.
Not taking proper care of your equipment can shorten its lifespan and cause it to need repair more often - not spending the time to clean and money to calibrate will cost you more in the long run.
I'm not saying you'll need to pull each piece of equipment apart, but If you learn the basics of keeping your equipment in good shape you’ll be able to keep it out of the repair shop and ready to use in your clinic.
I hope to share some simple tips to help you keep on top of your equipment maintenance.
Dust is bad, really bad.
Aside from the fact dusty equipment means your surgical environment is generally unclean, dust and electronics don’t mix well.
Excess dust can cause solder contacts to weaken, potentiometers (knobs) to get scratchy and fans, vents and heatsinks to get clogged.
Keep equipment cased, in a cupboard or covered where possible and remove any dust that does accumulate regularly with a cloth.
For hard to reach areas you can use a gas duster or “canned air” type of electrical cleaner or a clean paintbrush used exclusively for dusting cracks, crevices and around the edge of screens and vents.
Eventually any type of battery will begin to leak corrosive materials that can easily damage equipment.
This is especially common in wireless foot pedals or transilluminators that use AA or AAA batteries.
Try to remember to swap dead batteries sooner rather than later to avoid any damage.
"NEVER take the batteries out and put them back in the wrong way around when the equipment is not in use – it's a fast way to burn your office down, or at the very least, damage your equipment."
Clean battery contacts periodically
Even if you’re super careful about dust, some battery contacts and springs may eventually need cleaning to maintain solid contact.
If you’re noticing evidence of intermittent connections within the circuit, you might be facing this issue.
To solve it you’ll have to use contact cleaner and a cotton bud.
It removes any surface debris and corrosion that might be contributing to poor battery connections.
Excess heat can cause stress on electronics as well.
Make sure that any built-in fans are in working order on equipment that has them.
And definitely don’t block any vents. Avoid positioning two extra hot units too close to one another.
Any situation where things regularly get hot can be an issue so make sure there’s good ventilation!
Change replaceables parts regularly
Some equipment uses components with a limited lifespan that need to be replaced regularly.
A diode laser uses a fibre optic cable which wears out over time. Sure, you're replacing the tips, but the cable between the unit and disposable tip is slowly degrading each time you use it.
Always use the correct power supply
Make sure you power all your devices correctly. If the power supply can be removed from the device, label it with the name of the device.
I’m not saying you need to only use the manufacturer’s power supply. Just be aware of the specifications and use a power supply with the correct specs.
Here’s the basics:
Always use a power supply of the exact voltage value specified—unless the manufacturer gives a range. Voltages that are too high can cause damage.
You must use a power supply that delivers at least as much current as the device specifies. More is OK, less won’t work.
Pay attention to the polarity of the power supply. You must match the polarity of the device with the power supply or you could risk damage. When using a universal power supply to replace a lost power supply, check if the centre pin is positive or negative and change if required.
Wipe things down, don't wet them.
Learning the hard way the difference between a wet cloth, and damp cloth can be an expensive mistake.
A lot of the repairs that come across my desk are related to doctors or nurses incorrectly cleaning, immersing, and sometimes even autoclaving devices!
In most instances, the best cleaning product for wiping down electronic equipment is an Ajax wipe which has had most of the cleaning solution wrung out, leaving the cloth damp enough to clean but dry enough not to leave excess moisture which will get drawn in around the edges of screens and buttons with capillary action.
Well maintained equipment is happy equipment
Cleaning and maintaining your gear might sound like the most boring job in the world.
But your hard work will pay off if you put a little bit of effort into keeping your gear in top shape.
Use these tips to keep your tools in good shape and ready to use when inspiration strikes.
Finally, if a piece of equipment is making a funny sound, vibrating when it isn't supposed to, or smells funny, it's probably breaking down – Apply the STOP -THINK -ACT methodology.
STOP! Prevent further damage
THINK! What is causing the issue?
Am I using it correctly?
Is there a consumable that should be replaced?
have I assembled it correctly?
ACT! Make any required replacements, changes, or send the equipment in for service assessment.
If you've bought one of our products and would like to book a service, let us know today at osseogroup.com.au/service