April 2008 Archives

Adventures in SEM delivery

Delivery of the JEOL JSM-6490LV scanning electron microscope has not gone as planned. First, there was a significant delay prior to my arrival on campus. Then the big day had arrived, April 21, and after meeting our service engineers (Alex and Jerry), walking the path the scope was to take, unpacking the water chiller unit we were waiting for the shippers to arrive with the scope. While on the way to get a cup of coffee before the heavy lifting began, Jerry got a phone call from JEOL (Jim?) to let him know that the column crate had been mistakenly sent to another lab in Colorado.

Things went to hell in a hand basket after this.

So, the column unit was reshipped to Duluth via air freight and arrived April 23 AM. Somewhere along the way the original shipping crate was removed and the column was placed on another pallet and the left side was scraped by a forklift. Alex went to inspect the damage and found cosmetic damage to the panel but nothing significant and the shippers loaded the unit and shipped it to the UMD campus Med School loading dock.

When the column arrived, Alex, John, and myself were there to observe/assist with the moving. We knew there was going to be trouble as soon as the back door of the truck was opened. The column was covered with furniture pads and strapped to the side of the truck. One strap was over the bottom portion of the console, and the other strap was over the upper portion of the column.... BAD!! Fortunately (?) the upper strap didn't appear to have much tension on it, but still an inexcusable situation. Then the movers loaded the unit onto a pallet jack and proceeded to manhandle the unit off the truck and onto the dock. The transition from the bed of the truck to the dock ramp was less than smooth and the column nearly slid off the pallet jack. It was clear the movers had never handled this kind of equipment (SEM). They worked much too quickly and with little regard for the delicacy and expense of the equipment. After moving up to the second floor of the Med School, across to the MWAH then down to the ground floor of MWAH the column finally arrived on the ground in front of LifeSci 93. While the movers went back to the truck to unload the factory crate containing the rotary pumps etc. Alex, John and I inspected the damage. At this point we noticed there were no feet attached to the front of the microscope column while the two at the rear were present. Closer inspection found that the steel frame the feet should have been attached to was seriously bent towards the back of the column, as if someone had hit the front feet with a forklift.

So, the you-know-what hit the fan. Several calls to JEOL and a subsequent meeting on the 24th resulted in the decision to replace our column with another new unit that had been used as a demonstrator for JEOL in the LA area.

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