Quality means reliability
Apart from staff training, the equipment used is also important, i.e. the pipette tips (Read Application Note No. 354). To ensure the best quality results, pipette tips must not exceed permissible error tolerances when autoclaved, since autoclaving is a standard procedure in preparation for space missions. Factors like tip shape, material, and production quality determine the accuracy of the pipetting system and the reproducibility of results (Link Webinar Good Plastics, Bad Plastics). System providers like Eppendorf manufacture a pipetting system rather than only single parts of it. They contribute in particular to the reproducibility of test results, often unnoticed but nevertheless very valuable:
ISO 8655 regards the pipette and tip to be a system. Thus, the use of other pipette tips than recommended by the pipette manufacturer constitutes a breach of the system. The standard further stipulates that when using alternative tips, the manufacturer’s declaration or certificate of conformity does not apply.
Since Eppendorf manufactures pipetting systems that must be calibrated according to ISO 8655, they have to produce tips that - regardless of the batch - are consistently of the same high quality. Otherwise the pipettes would not pass their own internal production controls. Manufacturers of alternative tips do not have to meet this obligation. In order to minimize production costs, they are free to choose the level of quality and, for example, set the maintenance cycles of the tools as broadly as just permissible. System providers, on the other hand, are driven to ensure tight production tolerances complying in pipette tips regardless of batch. This ensures the system is consistently within stated error limits, which is crucial for unique working environments like the International Space Station or laboratories of the highest security level, as researchers here have to rely on reproducibility, replicability, and repeatability even more.