ISO 15189:2012 Medical Laboratories- Requirements for Quality and Competence requires medical laboratories to have documented procedures for the calibration of equipment that directly or indirectly affects examination results. Equipment calibration is also beneficial for laboratories without specific accreditation. For example in research institutions it demonstrates compliance with internationally recognised quality standards and increases confidence in test results. This principle is particularly applicable to temperature controlled equipment, such as incubators and anaerobic workstations, which may be used during the isolation, enumeration or identification of bacteria.
The benefits of temperature calibration, and temperature homogeneity throughout the working volume of an appliance, are well understood for conventional incubators because variability in performance can affect the numbers, sizes and other visual characteristics of bacterial colonies growing on agar plates, as well as bacterial growth rates in liquid culture. Microbiologists are also beginning to appreciate the influence of temperature and other environmental parameters on the growth and viability of anaerobic bacteria.
An increasing number of our customers use anaerobic workstations to grow highly fastidious, poorly characterized anaerobes, which have been identified in complex ecosystems using molecular techniques but, until recently, have not been cultured. For example, there is considerable current interest in the bacterial species which constitute the normal human gut microbiota and the role of these organisms in human health. The growth requirements for many of these species are not yet fully understood. Ensuring temperature stability and homogeneity throughout the working area of an anaerobic chamber provides an additional level of assurance when working with fastidious anaerobes and removes a potential variable when attempting to optimize their growth and study their physiology.
If your laboratory must demonstrate that temperature performance could directly or indirectly affect results, the temperature mapping process provides independent, UKAS-accredited testing and supporting certification. It confirms that the workstation temperature is controlled and displayed within specified tolerances. This process comprises calibration of the workstation temperature sensor and a comprehensive temperature profile of the entire working and incubation area. Data is collected from up to 12 sensors, traceable to national standards, positioned throughout the workstation chamber.
How we achieve a uniform temperature gradient in Whitley Workstations?
This is achieved through careful design of the product, optimising air flow and temperature control to achieve the lowest possible temperature gradient. Don Whitley Scientific has been designing and manufacturing modified atmosphere workstations for over 40 years so have a wealth of experience in this area.
DWS UKAS Service
In order to save you the cost of expensive call outs and project delays, we can often provide essential maintenance, schedule routine servicing and carry out your UKAS calibration/ validation work in the same visit. Whilst onsite, our engineers will not only take the time to explain the calibration procedure and why it is necessary but they will endeavour to provide your certification within 5 working days. This helps to make sure the whole UKAS process is as painless as possible for you and your staff.
Even if your laboratory doesn’t necessarily need UKAS accreditation, the cost is comparable with that of standard calibration. This means that for added peace of mind, UKAS calibration/validation could be a very shrewd investment. And because we can carry out any repairs or servicing at the same time, this can help avoid the cost of additional call outs and reduce down-time in your laboratory.
The technical expertise employed within Don Whitley Scientific for designing and manufacturing our own microbiology equipment provides an ideal background for our UKAS-approved calibration engineers.
Your queries answered – no obligation
If you have any additional questions about UKAS or would like any additional information about the benefits that this service could bring to your laboratory, please contact us today for a no-obligation consultation.
What is UKAS?
UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) is the sole accreditation body recognised by government to assess organisations that provide reliable data and results for a defined set of tests. All assessments are made against internationally recognised standards.
DWS is accredited to BS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2005 for calibration activities. This means that we have been assessed by UKAS and are able to provide calibration and validation services for heat sterilisation equipment, temperature controlled processes and temperature indicators.