UW News

May 21, 2009

In-house and less costly: Consider the Scientific Instruments Department for certain repairs

Got a piece of scientific equipment that needs repair? You could call a specialty repair shop and pay anywhere from $90 to $390 an hour to get it fixed. Or you could go to the University’s Scientific Instruments Department and get the same service for $78.40 an hour.

That’s a message the folks in Scientific Instruments would like to get across to University labs, many of which don’t know about them. “Although we service a great number of departments, there are still probably 100 facilities that use outside vendors for service,” said Mark Davis, a biomedical electronics technician in the department.

He knows that because Scientific Instruments has a lot of contact with outside vendors — doing referrals, buying parts, overseeing maintenance contracts and so forth. “There are a lot of people on campus that don’t know we exist, and because we stay pretty busy we don’t spend time trying to sell ourselves,” Davis said.

Scientific Instruments is located in the Health Sciences Center — it’s a division of Academic Services and Facilities — but it works with labs and clinics all over campus and beyond. Its technicians install, maintain and repair a wide range of scientific instruments, from research equipment like centrifuges, chemistry analyzers and TCR machines to patient care equipment like otoscopes, ECG/EKG machines, and x-ray machines. And besides its work on existing equipment, it has been known to design instruments for particular purposes

“Because we are University employees, our response time is typically quicker than that of outside vendors,” Davis said.

People interested in having Scientific Instruments technicians consult with them on equipment can contact the department at 206-543-5580. If the equipment is portable, lab staffers can take it to the shop. If not, a technician will come to the lab to assess the problem.

“We’ll either do the work there or take it to the shop,” Davis said. “And if we can’t fix it, we’ll refer you to someone who can.”

Click here for further information on Scientific Instruments.