Labeling machines and equipment properly in a laboratory is important when it comes to exhibiting good laboratory practices. A research lab witnesses myriad experiments at the same time, while a single analytical lab may process hundreds of samples in a week. The equipment needs to be labeled properly since it gets shared amongst technicians and scientists. As you can imagine, tracking all of this work demands a reliable and structured system.
You must understand that traceability is the hallmark of a well-run laboratory, and having reliable records ensures that data can be analyzed and verified. In many industries, especially medical and pharmaceutical sectors, there are extensive regulations that impact lab practices and help protect customers, professionals, and the general public. When implementing a lab device or equipment process, it is important to standardize the formats for information that can or will be tracked. This entails data such as equipment ID numbers, data formatting, naming conventions, and locations. Having different formats between labels can confuse and make information difficult to trace. Read on to gather laboratory safety tips that you should know.
Choosing the right number of characters and a standardized data format makes it easier to update tags and transfer equipment between different locations you are managing. You may find that creating label templates is helpful so that you have a reference whenever new tags are required.
SELECTING DURABLE LABEL MATERIALS
Most laboratories leverage various solvents like isopropanol and methanol for cleaning, and these can easily reduce the face of a printed label. There can be additional caustic and acidic materials in a laboratory that could damage labels if spilled. Understanding the potential hazards, in addition to sources of abrasion or extreme conditions, helps in choosing a label substrate material that is well-suited for your unique lab environment.
ADHERENCE TO LAB PRACTICES
Labels can be added to equipment, but they don’t serve a purpose if they are not referenced by technicians, scientists, or any other personnel. Protocols are necessary for lab practices, and keep in mind that labeling is no different. It is beneficial to have a written labeling process that your team can reference with clear instructions for most tasks. If there is new equipment brought to the lab, it should be labeled properly. Failing to adhere to your standardized labeling plan often leads to the testing machine going out of calibration or malfunctioning or simply making it difficult for you to track the status. For testing machines, it is important to document the specific testing machine used for analyzing, which helps track issues.
OVERALL LABELING STANDARDS
How you choose to label your equipment and machines is a part of the overall lab safety and communication plan. There are other notifications present in modern laboratories, such as hazard labels, safety signs, and compliance tags. To avoid any confusion, every lab must review existing signs and labels periodically to ensure that each is communicating the required information. Proper labeling of testing machines and equipment in the laboratory is an essential process, and one must follow a set procedure. By following the best practices, you can ensure that your testing machine and other lab devices are properly maintained, compliant, and in perfect working condition. With durable labeling options available that are highly resistant to laboratory environmental conditions, you can find the right solution for your unique lab needs.
UNRAVEL THE 3 KEY LABORATORY TIPS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Recreate Realistic Workflow
The primary step to test labels helps ensure a workflow to test them. In the laboratory, this entails an experimental setup with solutions, containers, and equipment that are similar to the ones you will use throughout the labeling solution. Although one shouldn’t be testing valuable experimental samples at this stage, it is important to use just enough quantities of alcohol and other chemicals the label may contain. Understand that workflow isn’t exclusive to experimental conditions or sample processing – it is important to verify that all labels can be printed consistently. It is recommended to leverage realistic exposure times for chemical and any extreme temperatures; this includes steam autoclaving, cryogenic storage, and heated water bath incubation. This is where most troubleshooting occurs – setting up printers, creating and using templates, and ensuring the finished product, like RFID and barcodes, is printed accurately.
Scanners should be tested throughout the workflow to ensure that RFID and barcodes are readable and databases can be analyzed and modified. This requires additional planning to determine the best way to scan each other. For barcodes, it is essential to optimize how each container will be scanned. For RFID, many samples can be read without any need for a direct line-of-sight – it is essential to determine whether a metal or aqueous barrier may hinder the chip’s readability.
Check the Label & Print Out
Printout plays a key role in the label itself – therefore, when testing any new identification system, make sure that there is no smudging or fading, or anything that can affect barcode readability. The best way is by adjusting your printer setting to the printout you wish to attain. The dark setting can usually be optimized to get a crisper printout. When a harsh lab environment is needed, a thermal transfer label is recommended. These printing systems, when using resin ribbons, offer a printout that can withstand exposure to harsh chemicals; this entails xylene, alcohol, and strong organic solvents that can be smudged.
Consult Label Manufacturer
After rigorous testing, any new identification system will demand optimization. While it is easy to carry out optimization in-house, it is highly beneficial to consult with your trusted label manufacturer. By partnering up with our team or any other manufacturer with years of experience, any deficiency experienced can be assessed and addressed quickly with bespoke solutions. It is essential to test the system once personnel have been trained and used just enough times to know how it works. If any problem arises, feel free to connect and address the issues, potentially with more efficient strategies that may not have been available.
With a keen focus on creativity and precision, our team helps transform ordinary packaging into extraordinary works of art. Their cutting-edge printing techniques and a deep understanding of design aesthetics enable them to deliver visually striking labels that leave a lasting impression. Committed to client satisfaction, Label Arts collaborates closely to bring unique visions to life. Whether it’s for beverages, cosmetics, or any product, we elevate branding through their exceptional labeling solutions.