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SOP for Operation & Cleaning of Universal Incubator UN-260

Objective of this SOP is to describe the procedure for operation of Universal Incubator.

This SOP describes the execution of operation of universal incubator in which environmental conditions can be controlled for growing microbial cultures; this SOP is applicable to microbiology laboratory.

Incubator: an apparatus in which environmental conditions such as temperature can be controlled for growth of microbial cultures.
Temp.: the degree or intensity of heat present in a substance or object, especially as expressed according to a comparative scale and shown by a thermometer or perceived by touch.
SOP: is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations.
SS: a form of steel containing chromium, resistant to tarnishing and rust.
°C: a unit of measurement of temperature on a specified scale also known as Degree Celsius.

  • To interface this SOP to the actual practices of flow patterns.
  • To ensure that the SOP is updated & reflects the actual execution.
  • To review the SOP in case of any change or whenever it is due for revision.
A. M. Microbiology:
  • To follow the instructions laid down by this SOP.
  • To keep the relevant SOPs valid and updated.
Quality Control Manager:
  • To ensure that the SOP placed at the proper place and user should be trained accordingly.
Quality Assurance Manager:
  • To assure through periodically audits that the SOP is valid and followed accordingly.

  • Ensure that the instrument is clean and free from dust and placed in a safe area.
  • Lay the power cable, so that, it doesn’t come into contact with any hot part.
  • Plug the provided power cable into the rear of the appliance and connect it.
  • Turn the power switch on by pressing the On/Off switch on the front of the sterilizer, see figure – 2.
Figure – 2: Switch-on the Incubator

  • First start-up display appears on the screen, set the desired temperature by pressing the activation key on the left or right of the respective display, figure – 3.
Figure – 3: Set the Temperature

  • By turning the knob to the left or right, adjust the set value (e.g. 23°C & 33°C), figure – 4a & figure – 4b.
Figure – 4a: Turn the knob left or right

Figure – 4b: Turn the knob left or right

  • Save the set value by pressing the center button of the knob (confirmation key), the display returns to normal figure and the sterilizer begins adjusting to the defined set value, figure – 5a for bacterial incubation & figure – 5b for fungal incubation.
Figure – 5a: Save the set value by pressing the knob

Figure – 5b: Save the set value by pressing the knob

  • Turn the power switch off by pressing the On/Off switch on the front of the incubator after setting the temperature parameters, see figure – 6.
Figure – 6: Switch-off the Incubator
  • Open the door completely by pulling the door handle from right side to the left, figure – 7.
Figure – 7: Opening the door
  • After testing desired materials incubate agar plates and broth media bottles properly, place them carefully inside the incubator at the temperature ranges 20 °C – 25 °C for fungal microorganisms & 30°C – 35°C for bacterial microorganisms respectively.
  • Do not load the chamber too tightly, so that the air circulates properly inside the working chamber, also do not place any material on the chamber floor or touching the chamber side walls, figure – 8.
Figure – 8: Correct Placement of Chamber Load
Note:  If the door is open while the sterilizer is in operation, the incubator may overheat and pose a fire hazard. Do not leave the door open during operation.
Note:  Do not load such materials which produce poisonous explosive vapors or gases, if there is any doubt then they must not be loaded into to the incubator.
  • After loading the desired materials into the incubator, push the door handle from left side to the right for closing the door, figure – 9.
Figure – 9: Closing the door

  • Be sure to start maintenance or service work after the incubator has been unplugged.
  • A temperature sensor is installed near to ventilation flap at the top of the chamber, be careful not to damage this sensor during cleaning the chamber, if sensor comes loose from the fixing clip, reattach it.
  • Gently wipe stains from the body with a soft cloth, to remove stubborn stains, wring a cloth moistened with neutral detergent diluted with water, and wipe off the stains with it.
  • Do not use benzene or thinner or any volatile substances to clean the body as these substances may deteriorate the body or strip the paint, and also wipe off any moisture with a dry cloth.
  • If rust spots appear on the surface of the working chamber due to impurities, the affected area must be immediately cleaned and polished.
  • Grease the moving parts of the door (hinges and lock) with thin silicone grease and check that the hinge screws are not loose, once a year.


Hazards to Staff
  • Risk of burns from hot incubators.
  • Risk of melting plastic objects causing fire.
  • Risk of drying material catching fire.
  • Risk of electrical shock.

Safety Precautions
  • The incubator chamber is made of stainless steel never attempt to use liquids containing substances that corrosive to stainless steel, such as concentrated acid, salts & alkalis.
  • Take care when operating chamber as electric shock may be hit when opened.
  • Be careful not to pinch hands when closing the door.
  • Do not pile specimen on top of one another, sufficient air should be allowed to circulate round the material so that heat does not build-up and the materials combust.
  • Heat Labile plastic objects do not be placed inside the incubator.

Temp.: Temperature
SS: Stainless Steel
°C: Degree Centigrade
SOP: Standard Operating Procedure


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