Miami University

Instrumentation Laboratory Support Page

A number of Principal Investigators (PI) approached the IL about writing a "boilerplate" 
wording showing the level of support available from the IL for research grants that could 
be included on their grant applications to funding agencies.

This was written by Dr. John M. Hughes (Past Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School):

Miami University maintains a progressive policy of maintenance of major instrumentation. Maintenance of such instrumentation at Miami is supported by the Instrumentation Laboratory (IL). The IL (fully funded by the University) employs an electrical engineer, an electronics technician, and a machinist, and maintains fully equipped electronics and machine shops.

The Instrumentation Laboratory (IL) has developed a "boiler plate" wording for inclusion on bid requests, quotes, and purchase orders for instrumentation, in order to be sure that the IL's needs are met to ensure that we can support the purchased instrumentation following the warranty period.

For all instrumentation to be purchased:

Two paper copies of service manuals (CDs are not an acceptable substitute), including ALL schematics (electrical, including all boards and sub-modules included in the instrument; plumbing; vacuum; and pneumatic schematics, if applicable), and full and complete parts lists and parts diagrams. 

Documentation must be current with the revision of the instrument that is delivered and show any modifications that have been made for our installation. (Or updated documentation must be furnished to Miami before the end of the warranty period.)

If the company is hesitant to furnish Miami with the above documentation for proprietary reasons, they should be informed that the IL has signed "non-disclosure agreements" many times in the past and has no problem with signing them for this purchase in order to overcome the company's concerns.

Purchases should also include all needed service tools/accessories (i.e. extender cards, plug-in modules, etc.) needed to maintain and service the equipment. (Consult IL personnel to determine what is needed.)

For sophisticated and expensive instrumentation:

To facilitate maintaining and servicing of sophisticated equipment, the IL recommends that the principal investigator (PI) include service training for IL personnel to be conducted at the instrument manufacturer's facility. 

"On-site" training (at Miami) has been found to be substandard and usually haphazardly done, thus is not an acceptable substitute. Off-site training gives the IL an opportunity to get a  better understanding of the instrument and its maintenance and service needs without the distractions inherent with training in an area being actively used for research. It also allows the IL to develop a relationship with the manufacturer's service support personnel, which can be very advantageous when attempting to troubleshoot a difficult problem. 

The IL pays for all travel and expenses for their personnel to attend this training. The cost of the training itself in paid by the PI and should be included as part of the purchase.