v Vidit Goyal, Author at TOMY
How to set up your Laboratory; choosing a centrifuge.

How to set up your Laboratory; choosing a centrifuge.

How to Set Up your Laboratory; Choosing a Centrifuge

More often than not, basic laboratory equipment is glossed over and overlooked until they malfunction, however, equipment like centrifuges and autoclaves are the backbone of research facilities and any downtime can cause issues. Centrifuges are essential to most laboratories, but especially to those in the cell and molecular biology space. Choosing a centrifuge for your laboratory is confusing; they come in many sizes, configurations, styles and serve different functions. A typical lab may have 3-4 centrifuges all for various needs. So how is the team in charge of purchasing equipment supposed to make an informed decision? We’re here to help! In this post, we explain features of different centrifuges, how to know which features are important, and guide you through the purchasing process.

Determining your Centrifugation needs; Centrifuge Configurations.

Laboratories often have three types of centrifuges; a small tabletop centrifuge, a high-speed benchtop one, and a refrigerated, more versatile full-sized centrifuge. The first is mainly used to spin down samples quickly, for homogenizing. The high-speed benchtop centrifuge is used typically for 1.5 – 2 mL microtubes and can climb up to speeds of 15,000 rpm. The third centrifuge is perhaps also the most robust, as it can spin down small tubes, 10-15 mL vials, 50 mL conicals, and even 96 well plates and more, while able to keep samples at a specific temperature. However, owning three machines is expensive and they often aren’t portable, meaning that they occupy a large portion of precious bench space. If your laboratory space is limited, you might find yourself having to create space or share a centrifuge with a neighboring lab. This might not seem like a huge issue, but long spin-down times during processes such as maxi-prepping can cause backlogs and delays.

When choosing a centrifuge we suggest keeping in mind your budget, the types of vials you have, and your cooling needs. Purchasing three separate centrifuges is a luxury few labs can afford, and it can still be costly in terms of space and upkeep. When it comes to centrifuge configuration in terms of the types of vials a laboratory works with, it can be a challenge working with an all-in-one centrifuge, as these typically come with multiple rotors and hexagon screwdrivers to be able to switch out rotors and rotor racks. Consider consulting your end-users and laboratory managers to determine the kind of samples that will need to be centrifuged, and accordingly find a centrifuge that fits all sample types. Next, be sure to go through protocols and determine whether you would need a refrigerated centrifuge. This feature of a centrifuge is based on how fast a centrifuge can cool down, as this affects the length of preparation of samples, but also the coldest temperature the centrifuge can cool down to. Finally, consult with your financial manager to determine the budget for such a purchase. Choosing a centrifuge that serves all of your needs and purposes can be a great investment.

Considering Performance and Safety Over the Years.

When it comes to deciding between centrifuges, performance and safety should not be overlooked. At its core, a centrifuge is a rotor that spins at extremely high revolutions per minute and uses centrifugal force to help separate sample constituents based on density. However, where centrifuge brands and types differ are mainly based on capabilities and safety features. If you require a centrifuge that can cool samples quickly, purchasing one with a very slow cooling procedure can cause long wait times and sample preparation times. When it comes to speed, most centrifuges can achieve high speeds quickly, but should you need a controlled acceleration and deceleration, it could be challenging to find a compatible centrifuge. A soft brake feature can help protect your samples and prevent them from mixing after the separation process and can prove invaluable over the years. A user-friendly centrifuge would also contribute to overall user happiness, as complicated centrifuge interfaces are tough to work with.

Finally, considering the safety of users and samples shouldn’t be ignored. At its very basis, a centrifuge should be able to detect abnormalities in weight of samples and prevent accidents. A lid interlocking system can prevent the lid from opening during high-speed operations, which can be catastrophic. A centrifuge should also be able to identify the rotor type and set appropriate speed limits to ensure the safety of users and samples. Finally, consider purchasing a centrifuge with a low carbon footprint or an eco-mode. This power-saving function serves to reduce costs over time!

Conclusion.

When choosing a centrifuge, keep in mind your feature requirements, performance needs, and safety. One of our products, the TOMY MX 307 centrifuge, features a top-loading design, with a single rotor rack and exchangeable rotors. What’s great about this is that you don’t have to load and unload samples, as shown here. The centrifuge has a host of safety features but most importantly ensures that appropriate speeds are matched based on the type of rotor. With a simple installation, portable design, an eco-mode, and an extremely user-friendly build, the TOMY MX 307 centrifuge will meet all of your needs.

Should you need any more information regarding TOMY centrifuges, or just have some questions regarding features, repair and maintenance of centrifuges, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. Alternatively, you can fill out this contact form as well, and we can get back to you shortly.

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How to set up your laboratory; choosing an autoclave.

How to set up your laboratory; choosing an autoclave.

How to Set Up your Laboratory; Choosing an Autoclave

Being in charge of setting up a laboratory is a daunting task, and involves tackling the demanding ordeal of sourcing the latest computers, the shiniest benches, the most advanced equipment, and a trusty autoclave. Autoclaves are an essential piece of equipment for the majority of biology laboratories, and choosing the incorrect one can be a costly decision. This process can be lengthy and confusing; autoclaves come in many shapes, sizes, capacities, and styles. So how exactly is a facilities manager supposed to make an informed decision while balancing all their other responsibilities? Easy; they can read this post which outlines autoclaves, their features, and how to choose one!

Determining your Sterilization needs; Autoclave Size.

When deciding on your sterilization needs, ask yourself and/or your users what types of objects will be sterilized. This could include glassware, tools, bioreactors, liquid media, fermentation devices, etc. It’s important to ensure that your largest items will be able to fit inside the autoclave chamber. Autoclave sizes are typically measured in liters, measuring the total volume of the inside of the chamber. Keep in mind, however, that effective chamber volume is usually lower than the described volume and should be a factor in your evaluation.

Another valid consideration is to measure the exact capacity per cycle of the autoclave to determine throughput. To determine this, simply consider the configuration of the autoclave you have in mind, the types, sizes, and quantities of the items being sterilized, and the effective volume. Be sure to double-check the number of items that will fit, as this a very important determinant of throughput. Once these three values are determined, you can understand the effective throughput; and then be able to decide on the size of the autoclave you need, should you require a different output.

It’s important to realize that the size and type of autoclave you choose can have a large effect on your lab’s efficiency. One must consider the frequency of loads, time per cycle, load size, and the number of users before making a decision. If your lab has a steady throughput requirement, you might benefit from having several medium-sized autoclaves, and by staggering use, you can ensure a high throughput. Having a large single autoclave might be appealing at first, but any malfunctions, breakdowns, or maintenance can cause a huge drop in efficiency.

Determining your Installation Utilities and Compatibility

Autoclaves can have varying voltage requirements, so your electricity source and input is an important consideration. Some autoclaves require up to 240V outlets, which aren’t as accessible as standard 120V outlets. Access to water and/or steam are also essential to an autoclave’s functionality. Traditional autoclaves require an external water main or steam main to work. Others, however, might not require a water intake and can simply function with water that is added into the chamber. If you have an autoclave in mind, be sure to check its installation requirements and compatibility with your water and electricity inputs.

In addition to ensuring compatibility, it’s crucial to determine installation needs. Outside of the cost of the actual unit, it can be costly in terms of the time and money it takes to install your autoclave. Should your autoclave require a steam intake, a water drainage solution, or a higher voltage to function, these can easily drive up your total costs. Aside from this, a large in-the-wall autoclave requires a fair amount of square footage to be functional at optimal output, making it a tough decision should your laboratory space be limited. Choosing the right autoclave that is compatible with your facility and is easy to install can save you a lot of time and space!

Determining your Total Costs Over Time

Finally, choosing an autoclave comes down to the total cost of ownership, not just the upfront costs of the unit itself. It’s important to mention that as a facilities manager, your costs don’t go away as soon as you’ve purchased your new autoclave. There are maintenance costs, breakdown costs, and replacement costs that will inevitably come up. Autoclaves are robust devices, but the combination of high usage and the elements, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your autoclave will need some maintenance every now and then. Regular upkeep involves replacing parts, paying a technician, and managing costs during downtime.

Typically, autoclave gaskets are the most commonly replaced item. The cost of replacing gaskets can run up to a few thousand dollars during ownership if gaskets need to be replaced often. Gaskets typically require changing due to the intense heat and pressure that develops during a cycle, subjecting gaskets to harsh conditions. Of course, gasket design and material quality determine the frequency of required changes, but gaskets that are changed often will only serve to drive up your costs, even though the per-part cost might initially seem cheap. A well functioning gasket ensures autoclave longevity and has a lower likelihood of breaking. Choosing an autoclave that is easy to maintain, and has low costs over time can save you a lot of time and money!

Conclusion

When choosing an autoclave, keeping in mind your costs over time, your facility’s utilities, and the throughput requirements can help you make an informed decision. One of our products, the TOMY SX Series autoclaves provides a lot of great benefits while keeping costs down. It features a top-loading autoclave, that requires just water to get up and running. The gaskets themselves are typically replaced once every three years, keeping costs over time to a minimal. With a minimal installation investment, easy to use, and a robust build, the TOMY SX Series autoclaves should be able to meet all of your needs with ease.

Should you need any more information regarding TOMY autoclaves, or just have some questions regarding features, repair and maintenance of autoclaves, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. Alternatively, you can fill out this contact form as well, and we can get back to you shortly.

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