A clinical laboratory centrifuge is used for pre-analytical processing of human samples such as blood, urine or sputum. The instrument is also used for the separation of lipoproteins in reference procedures for their measurement, separation of cellular components, and separation of DNA fragments.
Integrated with advanced technologies, modern centrifuges come in a variety of models. Choosing the right option is critical to optimize centrifugation. However, this can be complicated unless you have a good idea about the choices available. So before lab professionals go about buying the device, it is necessary that they educate themselves about the wide range of options available.
The important factors to consider when making the purchase decision are your centrifugation requirements, available space, type of model – benchtop or floor standing – and budget. A cost-effective solution for medium sized and small laboratories, benchtop centrifuges are convenient and save floor space. Modern devices come with versatile features and are available in a wide variety of platforms designed for different applications. There are general-purpose benchtops, micro centrifuges, small clinical centrifuges, cell washers, and high-speed benchtops. On the other hand, floor-models are suitable for high-capacity sample processing. The floor-model categories include super-speed centrifuges, ultracentrifuges, and low-speed centrifuges.
Basic centrifuge design is simple, consisting of an enclosed compartment inside which a rotor spins rapidly. Factors to consider when choosing a device are:
- The maximum g-force the device can generate
- Types of rotors that support your application – fixed angle or swinging bucket
- Speed and capacity, compared to other company’s centrifuge
- Safety features and technical specs
- Availability of accessories and replacement parts
- Number of tubes or samples to be processed in a run, shift, or day
- Durability and warranty terms
- Maintenance, operation and installation costs
Important safety features to look for in a centrifuge include lid lock, clear lid for observation of samples, Cool-Flow air flow design and automatic rotor imbalance detection. It is also important that laboratory personnel are educated on how to operate the equipment safely. Here are some tips:
- Never overlook safety features as they are there to protect you
- Do not leave the centrifuge until full operating speed is attained
- In case of a power failure, do not open the lid to retrieve samples for at least one hour
Finally, purchase of the centrifuge from a reliable supplier of laboratory equipment comes with many advantages. In addition to a wide choice of models to choose from, laboratories would be ensured of excellent maintenance service support.