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Lab case study: An old incubator finds a new lease of life

An old incubator find a new lease of life - The Queen's Medical Research Institute on the Little France campus. [Paul Dodds]

Shirley Simpson at the Hospital for Small Animals, and Steve McLean at QMRI talk about how they saved money and space by finding a new use for old equipment.

Check on Warp It, the University’s online reuse platform, or directly with colleagues, before purchasing new equipment. There may be an opportunity to borrow or adopt a colleague’s equipment.

Reuse equipment with Warp It

Shirley Simpson, Senior Surgical Nurse, Hospital for Small Animals

I originally tried to buy a reconditioned incubator but it was going to be too small. Plus it cost £300. As a department we often buy second-hand or reconditioned items to keep costs down. The Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI) has donated equipment which we have in use.

The Head of Surgery here suggested I ask Andy Kordiak, the University’s Equipment Purchasing Manager, to see if he could get a laboratory incubator or a baby incubator as I had already tried a couple of companies. I presumed I would get it for free if someone was clearing an old lab and I thought there would be a spare one within the University.

I did not inspect the equipment, I just asked for an estimation on size and weight. This was so I could judge if it would be big enough to meet our needs and also so I knew how many people to send to collect it. The incubator was transported in a Hospital for Small Animals van driven by one of our animal care assistants. One of the servitors went along to help him lift it.

It was easy to organise and I would definitely ask for pre-loved equipment from within the University again.

Steve McLean, Technical Manager, QMRI

I got in touch with Andy Kordiak as I wasn’t sure about the procedure for moving equipment between university sites and because initially we were planning on selling some pieces to other departments.

The original owner of the incubator has a newer one and we try to encourage people not to hoard their equipment because we don’t have space.

He had decided that the incubator was quite old and that it may break soon so it wasn’t going to be used for any important work nor was it worth trying to sell. We made this clear when getting rid of it as although it is working at the moment it might not last long.

Thankfully the person who was getting rid of the incubator is very keen to have any equipment reused rather than binned. The only condition we stipulated was for collection to be arranged by the person wanting the incubator.

I also generally prefer to pass on items within the University rather than externally as I think there is probably less bureaucracy associated with doing it this way; it was a very simple process with the incubator. And of course, we avoided any disposal costs which may have arisen as a result of binning the incubator.


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