Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Centrifuge
Choosing the right centrifuge can be a challenging task due to the wide range of models and manufacturers available in the market, each offering different features and constantly evolving with new advancements to cater to customer needs. To begin with, it's likely that the number of users and available space in your laboratory has changed since you last purchased a centrifuge.
Furthermore, innovative techniques in the lab may have necessitated changes in rotor requirements. Fortunately, specific features have been developed to cater to these new protocols, providing users with a variety of options to meet their specific needs.
The next step is to assess the essential requirements of your laboratory, such as the temperature, speed, and volume needed for your applications and protocols. Once these factors are identified, you can consider the format of the samples you will be working with, whether it's PCR tubes, microcentrifuge tubes, microplates, disposable conical tubes, bottles, or polycarbonate collection tubes. Based on these requirements, you can then evaluate the available rotor options, which are designed for different tube and sample container types, volumes, and prioritize performance, safety, and user comfort.
Does the model have improved ergonomic design or easy rotor installation and removal?
In addition to being energy-efficient, carbon fiber rotors offer enhanced performance and durability while improving safety and ergonomics. Traditional metal alloy rotors used in centrifuges can pose a risk of injury to laboratory staff during installation or removal. Heavy rotors may require assistance from another person to remove them from the centrifuge. Modern rotors with improved ergonomic features and lighter weight make rotor installation and removal easier, reducing the risk of lower back injuries and contributing to a safer work environment.
Is sample contamination a concern?
The techniques and advancements in modern laboratories for rapid separation of liquid and solid components are continuously improving. Choose rotor lids that are certified for biocontainment and feature a click-lock mechanism, ensuring secure containment of specimens and reducing retrieval time compared to screw-on lids. Additionally, consider transparent rotor lids that allow for early visual inspection of damaged tubes, enhancing safety precautions.
Centrifuge Capacity & Size: There is a wide range of centrifuges available with varying capacities and sizes. The capacity of a centrifuge refers to the number of sample centrifuge tubes it can accommodate. This means that different centrifuges can handle different sizes of samples.
However, the quantity of centrifuge capacities or its high-speed capabilities are not always the most critical factors when determining the best centrifuge for your laboratory. The ideal choice for research and rotor performance depends on what is best for your specific specimens and the safety of your staff. Bioprocessing and multi-use environments may require a centrifuge with advanced programming features such as password protection. Laboratories with multiple users at different skill levels require a flexible centrifuge with safety features like automatic rotor identification. Always consider the specific needs of your laboratory to determine which centrifuge features are most important for your research success.
RPM and RCF (G-Force): When considering the speed of a centrifuge machine, both the RCF (relative centrifugal force) and the RPM (revolutions per minute) are important factors. The G-Force, or relative centrifugal force, exerted on the rotor is a crucial consideration when purchasing a centrifuge, as it determines the applications that the centrifuge can handle. The RCF is dependent on the rate at which the rotor spins and the radius of the rotor.
Availability of Replacement Parts: It is important to ensure that replacement parts for the centrifuge are readily available before making a purchase.
Maintenance Reliability: If you want to maximize the lifespan of the centrifuge, regular maintenance is crucial. We recommend scheduling yearly maintenance, which includes inspections of speed, brushes, temperature, and other components.
Safety Features: Centrifuge usage requires safety precautions, and many manufacturers incorporate built-in safety features.
Sealed Rotors: Sealed rotors are designed to prevent the leakage of biohazardous substances during centrifugation.
Electric Lid-Lock: An electric lid-lock feature prevents accidental opening of the centrifuge lid while it is in operation.
Rotor-Recognition Technology: Rotor-recognition technology identifies the type of rotor installed and ensures that it does not exceed the maximum required speed.
Does the model feature Automatic Rotor Identification?
The inclusion of automatic rotor identification in centrifuge models simplifies and expedites the setup process while eliminating the risks associated with overspeeding and other rotor-related issues, especially in high-speed centrifuges. This technology allows for the automatic detection of a specific rotor when it is securely installed in the centrifuge axis. The rotor's name and specifications are then loaded into the system, eliminating the need to manually find and set rotor codes and streamlining the setup process.
Are corrosion-free rotors available?
Manufacturers are offering alternatives to metal alloy rotors to enhance centrifuge performance and safety. Metal rotors are susceptible to corrosion and structural damage caused by centrifugal forces. To address this, centrifuge makers have shifted to advanced materials such as carbon fiber composites, which are lighter, durable, and corrosion-free. This eliminates the need for derating or reducing speed over the rotor's lifespan, thus protecting the investment in the product.
Consideration should be given to access an Expert Service Team.
The support and maintenance of centrifuge rotors are crucial for the longevity of your investment and the safety of your workplace. Look for manufacturers that offer on-site rotor inspection and safety centers with dedicated product service representatives who can assess the safety of your rotors and provide a comprehensive report for each inspection. As part of the inspection, the representatives may also provide information on proper rotor care and offer recommendations based on the current condition of the rotor to optimize your centrifuge performance.
Additionally, having access to a reliable customer service team is a critical factor to consider when making a decision. Whether you are looking for a high-end product or a small benchtop centrifuge, having a knowledgeable service team available to provide support, as well as access to parts and consumables, is essential for the smooth and long-lasting operation of your centrifuge.