Lab Management

Results from the Lab Manager Analytical Instrument Survey

We asked Lab Manager readers to tell us about their analytical instrument use including those instruments used for spectrophotometry, chromatography, mass spectrometry, NMR, elemental analysis, TOC analysis, X-ray analysis, particle sizing, calorimetry, pH analysis, viscometry, refractometry, spectrophotometry, titration, and balances.

The majority of Lab Manager analytical instrument users are employing this equipment for analytical chemistry applications.

What applications are you using analytical instruments for?

Analytical Chemistry 68.70%
Environmental Testing (e.g. water, soil) 32.96%
Clinical Analysis (e.g. blood, urine, tissue) 26.32%
Life Science Research (e.g. metabolomics, genomics, proteomics) 24.93%
Materials Characterization and Research 22.99%
Pharmaceutical Analysis 17.73%
Food & Beverage Analysis 16.07%
Petrochemical Testing 9.14%
Forensic Analysis 8.59%
Other 3.88%


Maintenance plays an important role in ensuring the accuracy of the results produced by your analytical instruments. Approximately 40 percent of respondents reported that in-house staff perform their analytical instrument maintenance while a further 36 percent use the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for servicing.

Who performs your analytical instrument maintenance?

In-house staff 39.44%
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) 35.56%
Third-party service provider 10.28%
Multi-vendor service provider 8.89%
Combination of the above 4.44%
Other 1.39%

Survey respondents frequently commented on the high cost of service contracts and slow turnaround times for getting service technicians into their facilities to repair and maintain their analytical instruments. For those who perform in-house maintenance, detailed troubleshooting and maintenance sections in the manual from the OEM makes servicing easier. However, many respondents wish that more of the instrument servicing could be done by the user.

Purchasing Plans

Approximately 84 percent of survey respondents are looking to purchase an analytical instrument in the near future. The highest percentage of respondents are looking to purchase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), technology that has wide applications in analytical chemistry and that enables the separation, identification, and quantification of compounds in a sample. The main reason for purchasing new analytical instruments is to replace aging systems.

If you are planning to purchase new analytical instruments, what is your primary reason?

Replacing aging system 46.86%
Adding to existing systems, increasing capacity 36.30%
Purchasing for the first time 7.59%
Changing to a different method 4.95%
Setting up a new lab 2.64%
Other 1.65%

More than 90 percent of survey respondents agreed that reliability and accuracy are the most important factors to consider when purchasing analytical instruments. Less than one quarter of respondents thought that a small footprint or size was important to consider, even though space is typically limited in laboratories.

Please rate the following factors/features that influence your decision-making process when purchasing products and services.

Very important
Reliability 93.48%
Accuracy 92.96%
Durability 77.18%
Sensitivity 71.47%
Ease of use 65.35%
Service and support 64.87%
Low operating costs 59.09%
Low maintenance / easy to clean 55.40%
Safety features 47.88%
Warranty 44.73%
Compatibility with current equipment 44.35%
Small footprint / size 23.99%

Another important feature to consider when purchasing analytical instruments is the accompanying software. Many respondents commented on the importance of having user-friendly and intuitive software paired with analytical instruments. Users also pointed out that the frequency of software updates can disrupt their workflows and they would like to be better informed when updates become available.

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