Here is the second example of a 'must have' SOP which should be in place for any laboratory performing HPLC analysis.
Part 2 of 3:
HPLC System Preventative Maintenance Frequency & Procedure (PM):
Regular cleaning, inspection and maintenance of the modules which make up the HPLC system should be carried out on a regular schedule. The frequency will depend on how the system(s) are used and what part lifetimes are typical. Preventative maintenance must not be confused with repairs or servicing to restore operation of the system after damage has occurred. Many companies perform PM services every 4, 6 or at most, 12-months.
- PM procedures should include the inspection, cleaning and replacement of normal wear and tear parts such as: filters, frits, valve seals, injection seats/seals, pistons, piston seals and lamps. The PM provides an opportunity to inspect the condition of the modules and parts to insure they are operating properly. The goal should be to replace worn parts before they contribute to poor reproducibility or a failure. If the parts are found to be damaged, then that would be considered 'service' not maintenance and indicates that previous data collected on the system may be unreliable. Don't delay performing PM services on your instruments. Regular maintenance is a requirement. Your related SOP's should address which modules require regular maintenance ( A policy SOP), how often it is performed (A frequency SOP), who performs it and what training have they had (Training Requirements SOP. Also document in the specific Instrument's Logbook), which parts and tools are required (The actual PM SOP for the module) and what tests are performed to insure that it was done correctly (Separate SOP's for each Test).
Make sure you have several people review the draft SOP's before approving. Sometimes what appears clear to you may in fact have a different meaning to someone else. Clear procedures should contain enough detail that people with different backgrounds will each carry out the procedure in the same manner. Often, these types of documents will go through many drafts and even after approved, should also be open to future suggestions to make them even better.