Hitting deadlines is crucial for any business. In competitive industries, any delay in production could make the difference in beating your rivals to market. Delays also result in potential lost revenues, in addition to any remediation costs.
Testing is a key part of the process, which is why it’s so important to keep your environmental test chambers running properly. Maintenance helps in the short term by addressing issues as soon as they arise. In the long term, regular inspections and checkups can extend the life of your test chambers—sometimes more than 15 years.
Finding the right service provider factors into both. It’s a proactive decision that gives you peace of mind—you’ll know whom to call when your test chamber is in need of repair, and you can build a relationship that ensures the upkeep of your test chamber throughout its operation.
Here’s what you should look for when considering test chamber repair and maintenance services.
What Regular Maintenance Entails
The best way to avoid repairs is to practice proactive maintenance. By checking in on the physical, instrumental, and performance of your test chambers, you stay on top of small issues before they become big problems.
This comes in the form of quarterly and annual maintenance. Some things are simple, such as regularly cleaning the test chamber and the surrounding area, washing external water tanks (if applicable), changing the demineralizer cartridge (if applicable), and checking door hinges and latches for signs of rust.
Others require the attention of experts: calibrations, more intricate looks at control systems, and more.
However, some issues emerge seemingly out of nowhere and require immediate attention. At that point, you’ll need a service technician who responds quickly and effectively.
When You Need Repairs, Value These Qualities
Let’s go back to maintenance for a moment. If you cultivate a good relationship with a company that performs regular service, it makes sense to turn to them for pressing repairs. After all, they should know your test chambers inside and out.
If you don’t have a regular service provider, though, consider the following.
You want to work with a test chamber service team that’s available in the communicative and physical sense. When you’re in need of a repair, you’d expect someone to answer the call. That doesn’t always guarantee they can get to you quickly, though.
Some test chamber manufacturers outsource their services, which creates an added line of communication. And even if you’re promised a low rate, extended disruptions to your testing might make them less budget-friendly choices (especially if they’re booked-up).
Instead, prioritize a company that can access your test chamber promptly, and at different times of the day. Your tests may be ongoing and running outside of traditional work schedules. You need a service team that can accommodate your hours. Ideally, work with a company that stations technicians around the country to limit travel when they have to access your test chambers.
Not all test chambers are built in the same way or carry the same features. When researching service, ask questions specific to your test chamber model. The more details you provide, the better. The best technicians can work on most test chambers regardless of size, performance (thermal shock chamber, salt spray chamber, or temperature and humidity chamber, for example), or manufacturers, so you know you’re getting the right repairs and, if necessary, the right parts before they head to your lab.
Customer service requires empathy. If your needs are immediate, find a service team that understands that and can deliver a timely, effective solution, or, at the very least, an accurate timeline. Customer service goes beyond communication, too. It involves honesty.
Say you have an older test chamber. After multiple repairs, it might make fiscal sense to invest in a new one. Your service technicians should tell you when that is. You should also expect them to suggest solutions even when you have a plan in mind.
If Possible, Work With Your Test Chamber Manufacturer
No one knows your test chambers better than the company that manufactured them. Experienced and supportive, they’ll inform you when it’s time to purchase a new test chamber in lieu of costly repairs. Furthermore, they care about their brand—if their machinery goes down for any reason, it reflects poorly on them.
This relationship also provides an invaluable line of communication throughout the life of your test chambers. You can ask how long (and if) your standard or extended warranty applies. You can discuss an advanced service plan that guarantees routine service and preferred rates on parts and repairs.
Whatever service solution you land on, make sure it’s an educated decision. Repairs and maintenance might fix a short-term problem, but they can make all the difference in the long run. There’s no room for neglect.