Centrifuges are essential to the daily work in any laboratory. Yet they can be a source of incidents if used improperly. New technologies are making centrifuges easier to use, which have a direct and positive impact on user safety and ultimately research success. Here are a few technology innovations that deliver both simplicity and safety in the lab.
1) Keep it light
Rotors have historically been made of metal, which can be heavy and prone to corrosion. Next-generation technologies like carbon fiber rotors, such as Thermo Scientific™ Fiberlite™ rotors, offer a durable, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight design for improved ergonomics, lowering the likelihood of damage to equipment or injury to laboratory personnel during rotor installation or removal, thus contributing to a safer working environment. Not only does this make the rotors easier to remove and carry, but the reduction in weight also means that the rotors can accelerate and decelerate faster in the centrifuge, saving research time.
2) Lock it tight
Proper installation ensures rotors are safely secured in the centrifuge chamber. New quick, secure rotor exchange technology, such as Thermo Scientific™ Auto-Lock™, enables users to install or remove rotors in a matter of seconds. Rather than using a traditional tie-down system to bolt the rotor into the chamber—which requires considerable strength, technique, and time—Auto-Lock rotor exchange is a simple-to-operate system that, after just placing the rotor in the centrifuge, locks the rotor in place and secures it during its run, and requires only a single push of a button to release and remove.
3) Select it right
Overspeeding of the centrifuge rotor can occur if the wrong rotor codes and speeds are programmed into the centrifuge. This user error can prematurely stop a centrifuge run or cause a rotor incident, with consequences ranging from time lost due to an incomplete separation to damage to valuable samples or an entire centrifuge system. Avoid this potential with instant automatic rotor identification, such as Thermo Scientific™ Auto-ID™. Auto-ID rotor identification instantly detects the unique magnetic pattern of a rotor when it is secured in the centrifuge and then automatically loads rotor name and specifications into centrifuge parameters. It removes the human-error potential by making it impossible to accidently enter an incorrect rotor code or rotor speed.
Philip Hutcherson is Product Manager, Superspeed and Ultraspeed Centrifuges, Thermo Fisher Scientific; www.thermoscientific.com/centrifugation.