Technical Services functions include the design and fabrication of scientific apparatus; support and repair of laboratory and field instruments and equipment; and software development and implementation for various instruments.

Requests for technical services may be made by speaking with any STSS technician, or through Cathy Ekstrom or Tim Wickland.

Work requests are prioritized using a number of criteria. We will make every attempt to meet your requested completion date. However, due to the number of requests we receive, we also need to take into consideration other factors in our scheduling, such as the number of students that will be affected, the complexity of the project or repair, the availability of materials, and whether any alternatives exist. For example, urgent repairs to equipment for a teaching laboratory will typically take priority over a fabrication project for faculty research. With the high demand for technical services, please plan your project requests as far in advance as possible to avoid disappointment.

The costs of labor, repair parts, and incidental supplies will be borne by the STSS department or the College's equipment repair budget. You will be asked to supply a budget number for the purchase of the other supplies and materials required for your project.

When you purchase new equipment...

we recommend that you keep future repairs in mind. Certain instrument manufacturers are reluctant to reveal information about the internal workings of their equipment, so as to maintain a monopoly on servicing. Given a choice, you may wish to give preference to a manufacturer that is willing to offer our technical staff training or assistance in performing repairs, as this will both expedite service in the future and reduce expenses for the college.

Another issue is that service manuals for equipment items are often expensive or not readily available. The best way to obtain manuals or other service data is to negotiate with the sales representative before the instrument is purchased. Having the manuals on-site will enable us to perform future repairs much more quickly and at a lower cost. We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining service manuals as part of any equipment purchase agreement.

Equipment repair

STSS staff capably perform repairs and maintenance on a wide variety of instruments and equipment. In order to remain current with their skills, our technicians regularly attend training programs hosted by instrument manufacturers and independent organizations. We suggest that you speak with us first regarding your repair needs. We can assess the problem and determine the most cost-effective means to complete the repairs. If this means having the work performed by the manufacturer or other agency, we will make the needed arrangements, if desired.

Even if the equipment is under warranty or service contract, we appreciate being involved in the repair process. Working with the manufacturer's technicians, we can enhance our ability to repair or adjust the instrument in the future after the warranty or service contract has expired. We will also be happy to assist you in determining whether a service contract is likely to be cost-effective, or whether performing repairs in-house would be a better choice.

Equipment design and fabrication

STSS staff are capable of constructing a variety of equipment items, ranging from custom-welded instrument carts and fabricated plastics to precision-machined electromechanical devices and electronic circuits. If you have a specific project in mind, or if you have a requirement you may be finding difficult to address with commercially-available products, we will do all that we can to help you meet your needs. Speak with any STSS technician or Tim Wickland.