Ensure electrical power is safe for the laboratory
Precision Power International (PPI)
Cost-conscious laboratory managers see electrical power as critical to maximise instrument availability and produce low-cost reportable results, according to Precision Power International (PPI).
The company claims that water is ubiquitous, but before we can use it as a potable or laboratory resource, it needs to be treated.
It goes without saying that we do not attempt to drink untreated water and the water we do consume and use in the laboratory meets high standards of purity.
Untreated water in any form is hazardous to human and animal health, as well as the health of a laboratory's reputation.
Water quality is therefore regulated for public health, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards and sound business practice.
As with water, the same applies to electricity used for laboratory instrumentation, analogue/digital processes and bioinformatics.
Electrical power is omnipresent to our way of life.
In the 21st century, we largely use electricity to operate our businesses, technologies and homes.
We are dependent on this energy form for the operation and measurement of our laboratories.
The company believes we should be ensuring that our purchased commercial electrical power is really safe for our laboratory instrumentation, report production, sample preservation and stored data; and checking if it is ultimately harmful to our operating budget.
In our digital age of high-speed computers, nanotechnology and attomole-capable instrumentation, less-than-pristine power quality (out of tolerance to the instrument/equipment manufacturer's specifications) has a direct impact on: overall performance; the cost per reportable result; instrument availability; and the cost to maintain.
In short, 'dirty power' is a direct negative impact on the laboratory's bottom line.
There is no doubt that laboratory managers take great strides in making provisions to utilise appropriate equipment, processes and quality assurance to avoid questionable water quality.
After all, water is identified as a laboratory and process 'critical utility' and is regulated.
According to PPI, we should be asking if the same operational requirements and investment in equipment are made to assure an appropriate standard of care is in place for mitigating poor electrical power.
For all laboratories, unconditioned power coming in off of the commercial grid is harmful to sensitive instrumentation and the laboratory's operating budget.
For most laboratories, power quality correction or at least a mitigation plan, either in the form of 'emergency preparedness' or the 'cost of conducting business', does not exist or requires a review to bring it up to date.
Both process water (HPLC applications) and electrical power in the laboratory require remediation before use in scientific processes.
While specific levels of chlorinated water are safe for consumption, these levels are hazardous to GLP compliance, diluents and reagent preparation in the laboratory.
Attomole sensitivity testing is directly affected by water quality.
Laboratory water quality intervention at the point of use is required to assure compliance with ASTM, ISO, NCCLS and/or EP/USP process, sterility and reagent grade (1, 2 and 3) water standards to conduct normal business operations.
Electrical power is a real-time resource.
Electricity, when generated, is produced in a highly regulated form.
Electric power becomes adulterated during distribution and use.
As a real-time resource, electricity is consumed as quickly as it is produced.
Electrical power is produced wherever electric (E) and magnetic (M) fields exist and fluctuate in the same space.
Light energy is electromagnetic and E and M fields affect power.
Collapsing M fields induce electricity in a conductor (wire), which is how commercial electrical power is produced.
E and M fields are omnipresent.
Extraneous magnetic fields (radio frequency - RF, EMI), variable-frequency drives and power impulses commercially contaminate generation electrical power.
Electrical power production standards for wave form, amplitude, phase and frequency are regulated by numerous federal and state agencies in the US.
Therefore, when first generated at its source, electrical power has high fidelity and is free from contamination, also called harmonic distortion.
All is well with electricity until the power enters the high-voltage power distribution system - independent system operators (ISOs).
Since our electrical power is easily contaminated by nature and end users, we should be asking what the laboratory manager can do to ensure acceptably clean levels of power for instrumentation and bioinformatics.
The laboratory needs to provide its instrumentation systems with corrected (contamination-free) electrical power with a voltage wave form that is sinusoidal, within limits, on frequency, assuring that the voltage and frequency are not distorted (harmonic distortion) and are in phase with one another via power factor correction techniques.
The best way to achieve pristine electrical power is via regenerated power technology (RPT), which delivers true online power, 100 per cent of the time.
For critical instrument applications, a discrete, certified instrument power protection system (IPPS) with RPT and smart monitoring/reporting is the most attractive and lowest-cost investment, according to the company.
With an IPPS, the electricity is corrected between the commercial power source and the instrument.
IPPS units are designed for specific instrumentation or are custom designed for complete laboratory applications.
Most of the discrete IPPS units are readily connectable 'plug-and-play' designs.
The cost of installing an IPPS is generally less than five per cent of the instrument acquisition cost and provides a high return on investment.
Precautions are taken at the point of use to protect laboratories from water contamination.
The reality is that unconditioned commercial electrical power can be just as harmful to the laboratory's instrumentation, production of reportable results and bottom line.
It is simple to protect a laboratory's investments, while achieving peace of mind for the laboratory personnel and stakeholders.
PPI claims that assuring an RPT and smart monitoring IPPS is protecting critical instrumentation and equipment is the best precaution the laboratory manager can take.
The mission of the laboratory is to produce timely, low-cost reportable results, within budget.
Maximising operational effectiveness by managing critical utilities, including electrical power, has a direct positive impact on the laboratory's bottom line and the environment.
The company is offering a number of reliable, cost-effective, system-specific power protection solutions.