As the name suggests, a laboratory centrifuge is a type of centrifuge that is used in the laboratories of hospitals, clinics, and research centers. Laboratory centrifuge parts include mainly the rotor and the motor. Besides that, it can consist of different kinds of sensors such as door sensor, rotor sensor, unbalance sensor, etc. The analog type of centrifuge can consist of an analog type of speed regulator. The cooling centrifuge consists of a compressor. So, based on the design laboratory centrifuge can consist of different parts for different functions.
The detail of these parts has been explained in the topic of the centrifuge. Here, we will be talking about the types, uses, operating procedures, handling, maintenance, price, and the contact details for the purchase of the best laboratory centrifuge in Nepal.
Laboratory centrifuge drawing
This is a general laboratory centrifuge drawing showing the external parts. There can be some modifications based on the manufacturing companies.
Types of Laboratory centrifuge
The laboratory centrifuges can be differentiated into a number of types based on size, features, etc.
On the basis of the size of the rotor, they are mainly of two types. The first one is the standard laboratory centrifuge which is simply known as the centrifuge. It mostly uses test tubes for centrifugation. Similarly, the other one is known as the microcentrifuge. It uses microcentrifuge tubes for centrifugation. As the name implies it is smaller than the normal centrifuge. Thus, it holds a lower volume of the sample.
On the basis of the size of the machine, the laboratory centrifuge is again divided into two types. The first one is known as the benchtop centrifuge. The other one is known as the floor-standing centrifuge.
On the basis of the operating temperature, it is further divided into a normal and cooling centrifuge. The cooling/freezing centrifuge consists of a compressor for the cooling action.
On the basis of the control system, laboratory centrifuge can be analog and digital type.
Laboratory centrifuge uses
A laboratory centrifuge can be used in the lab for blood separation. By this, it helps to separate the blood cells and the serum. The serum can be used in different tests of biochemistry.
In research laboratories, it is useful in the isolation of the macromolecules such as DNA, viruses, and proteins.
Why do we need to balance a laboratory centrifuge?
Any kind of centrifuge machine needs to be balanced before centrifugation. If you do not balance the centrifuge machine, then the machine will begin to make more vibration and noise. This can cause wear and tear of the centrifuge machine. Similarly, this will also affect the result of centrifugation. The sample will not properly undergo the process of separation. Besides these, it can even cause danger to the operator. Hence, the centrifuge machine should be balanced before undergoing the process of centrifugation.
How to balance a laboratory centrifuge?
Follow the following steps to balance laboratory centrifuge.
1. Place the machine on a plain and rigid surface
2. Take the sample container containing the sample with the same weight
If the container such as the test tube consists of an identical sample, then you need to add equal volume in each container. However, if the container consists of samples with different densities, then you need to take the measurement of the containers using a digital balance. Make sure that the containers have equal weight.
3. Take a balancing container if needed
You may need the balancing container in either of the two cases. The first case is that if you are unable to make a balance between the available sample containers. The other condition occurs when you do not have sufficient samples or sample containers to make a balance.
A balancing container is a container (such as a test tube), that is necessary to make a balance within the centrifuge. For this, you may take a container with water in it. Then properly measure the weight of the sample along with the water in it. Make sure that the weight of the sample container and the water container is equal. Since the density of water is less than that of the blood, you will need to add more volume of water within the container.
If the sample in the sample container is too low, you may not use the digital balance to measure the weight. Instead of that, you can balance it on the basis of the volume. A minor variation in the weight will not have a significant effect during the process of centrifugation.
4. Place the centrifuging containers in an opposite direction for balancing
Since there are various kinds of centrifuge rotors, there can be different configurations for the tubes. So, I won’t be able to explain this step. But remember that, you need to adjust the containers in such a way that the centrifugal force remains equal within the rotor heads.
The figure shown below is for the process of balancing the machine. You can go through it for general purposes.
Handling of laboratory centrifuge
There are few things that you need to take care of while using the laboratory centrifuge. Some of them are as follows.
- The glass containers can break due to the high centrifugal force. Thus, it is better to use a plastic container for holding the sample.
- The centrifuge makes a lot of noise and vibration. Thus, it should be placed on the plain, hard and fixed surface.
- Using the centrifuge at a lower rpm for a longer time period during centrifugation can extend the life of the machine and reduce noise/ vibration.
- The sample should always be balanced during operation.
- The machine should be cleaned with damp clothes at the end of the day.
- Never try to stop the rotor with your hand.
- If needed, clean the gasket with warm soap water.
Laboratory centrifuge repair
Since the laboratory centrifuge spins at a high rpm of above 3000 rpm, noise has been a major concern for the users. The noise can be due to a number of reasons. Some of them are as follows.
As stated before, during the process of centrifugation, the centrifuge machine should be balanced. If the machine is not balanced, the noise and the vibration will increase. So follow the necessary steps to balance the laboratory centrifuge. Besides that, in the rotor holder, there may be a rubber washer. This washer is useful for absorbing the centrifugal force allowing the sample containers to sustain high pressure. Make sure that these washers are not missing in the sample holders.
The machine should be air-tight during operation. If this is not the case, then the air and noise will increase for the user. One of the reasons for this could be the breakage, or leakages through the gasket present in the cover. The other reasons can be due to the breakage of the hinge of the door. In either case, you may need to replace it with a new one.
If there are loose screws and nuts, the machine will make a vibration. Thus, fix the screws tightly. If screws are missing, fix a new one.
In the case of a brushed centrifuge, the carbon brush will be in continuous touch with the armature of the motor. The continuous contact of the brush with the motor causes wears and tears in the long run. This causes the deformation of the armature causing the formation of more sparks and noise during operation.
Besides this, the noise of the laboratory centrifuge increases with an increase in the rpm. So to reduce the noise, you may reduce the rpm value and increase the centrifugation time.
2. Power Supply
The centrifuge may not operate if there is a supply of low voltage or no voltage to the machine. If there is a breakage in the power cable, switch, or fuse, the machine will not get any power. Besides that, the centrifuge may not operate if the main circuit board or the power supply board has been damaged. In such a case, you need to replace the damaged piece with a new one.
3. The machine does not operate
The machine may not operate due to a number of reasons.
If there is a problem with the sensor, the machine will not operate. In such a case, the machine will display an error on the display. The sensor can be a door sensor, unbalance sensor, rotor sensor, etc. In such a case you may need to replace the sensors with a new one. If you do not have the sensors, then you can bypass them until you get a new one.
If the motor does not get power, then it will not operate. In the case of the brushed centrifuge, the problem can be due to the carbon brush. If the carbon brush does not make any physical contact with the motor, it will not operate. This is possible due to the breakage or rupturing of the brush. In such a case, you need to replace it with a new one. Similarly, even if the brush touches the motor, it may not operate. In such a case, remove the brush from the motor. Gently rub it on the floor. Then put it back to the machine. It should work.
The carbon brush may be available in different shapes and sizes. So, you need to be careful while choosing the proper carbon brush. A wrong selection of the carbon brush can lead to more noise, wear, and tear of the machine and the brush. Thus, it will reduce the life span of both the brush and the motor.
You can use a tachometer to check the speed of the motor.
Best laboratory centrifuge in Nepal
There is a number of centrifuges in the Nepalese market. Some of them include the centrifuges of Nike and Physilab Companies. However, the most popular or widely used centrifuge may belong to that of the REMI Company.
REMI is an Indian company that has got a single authorized distributor in Nepal. The distributor is known as the Sunrise Surgical House (+977 9841946100), located in Tripureswor, Kathamandu. It will deliver the machine within the country.
The main features of REMI are that it provides a wide variety of centrifuges for almost every application. For the laboratory centrifuge, the most common models include Medico Plus, R- 8C, R-8C Plus, etc.
What I like the most about these models is their durability. I have personally seen a few of these machines being operated for more than 7 years. The only problem that I can think of is its weight. These machines are quite heavy for their sizes.
Laboratory centrifuge price in Nepal
The laboratory centrifuge price can depend upon a number of factors. Some of the factors are as follows.
- Country of Manufacturer– European and American products are more expensive than Asian products.
- Size of Centrifuge:- The 32 tube rotor is more expensive than the 8 tube rotor.
- Features:- The features of the laboratory centrifuge such as sensors, display system, etc increases the price of the centrifuge. Similarly, the brushless centrifuge is more expensive than the brushed centrifuge.
The price of a laboratory centrifuge may vary from around Rs 20,000 to Rs 80,000.