Labconco Newshttp://www.labconco.com/newsLabconco periodic e-news featuring helpful tips, application information and new product announcementsen-usWed, 28 Jun 2017 02:17:41 2JunCDT-6:00Wed, 28 Jun 2017 02:17:41 2JunCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/rssCMC3 RSS Generatorcontact@labconco.com ()webmaster@labconco.com (Web Master)<![CDATA[4 things you need to know about airflow monitors on chemical fume hoods]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-airflow-monitors There is an entire world of airflow monitors for fume hoods that do different things and serve different purposes. Perhaps you thought your airflow monitor came with your fume hood, or perhaps you think you don’t even need one. This article will have you discussing airflow monitors like an expert.   

1. Airflow monitors are required.

I’ll let the standards do the talking…

Per ANSI Z9.5-2012, Section 8.10:

“All Hoods and exposure control devices shall be equipped with a flow indicator, flow alarm, or face velocity alarm indicator as applicable to alert users to improper exhaust flow.”

Per NFPA 45-2015, Section 7.8.7:

A measuring device for indicating that the hood airflow remains within safe design limits shall be provided on each chemical fume hood... The measuring device for hood airflow shall be a permanently installed device and shall provide continuous indication to the hood user of adequate airflow and alert inadequate hood airflow by a combination of an audible and visual alarm. Where an audible alarm could compromise the safety of the user or the research, alternative means of alarm shall be considered.  

Per 29 CFR 1910.1450, Appendix A, OSHA Laboratory Standard:

 “. . . . each hood shall have a continuous monitoring device to allow convenient confirmation of adequate hood performance before use. If this is not possible, work with substances of unknown toxicity should be avoided or other types of local ventilation devices should be provided… chemical hoods should be maintained, monitored, and routinely tested for proper performance.” 

Per Prudent Practices, Section 9.C.2.4:

 “Make sure that a continuous performance monitoring device is present, and check it every time the chemical hood is used.”

Per SEFA-1, Section 4.1.10:

 “All hoods shall have some type of monitor for indicating face velocity or exhaust flow verification.  The monitor can be a simple pressure gage connected to a Pitot tube in the exhaust duct, one of many electronic monitors, or a vaneometer.  Regardless of the monitor installed, it should provide clear indication to the hood user whether exhaust flow or face velocity is within design parameters.  A ribbon taped to the bottom of the sash is not acceptable.”

By now it should be clear that fume hoods need something to measure air flow.  So why don’t fume hoods come standard with an airflow monitor?

Well, that’s because…

2. There are many types of airflow monitors

If one came standard on each hood, there would be no choice of what type you would get. The two major categories are analog and digital airflow monitors. The analog shows a red, amber, or green light, depending on the hood’s current airflow measurement.

As you may have guessed, the digital is more sophisticated, not only giving a digital read-out of the face velocity, but also the red, amber, or green light. It furthermore provides relay contacts on the back in case you want to wire it to send a signal to the building management system if the hood goes into alarm. 

Before you can choose the right one, you need to know…

3. Your mechanical system type matters to the airflow monitor.

Digital Airflow Monitor

Is your hood on a constant volume (CAV) or variable air volume (VAV) system? If the hood is being installed on a constant volume system then you can use either a digital or analog airflow monitor provided by the hood manufacturer. If the fume hood is being installed on a VAV system, the airflow monitor will need to come from the VAV supplier so that it can be properly calibrated to the specific VAV system. 

A constant volume airflow monitor from a hood manufacturer will not work on a VAV system because when you lower the sash while a constant volume of air is being exhausted from the hood, the face velocity will increase – even if the hood’s design includes air bypass areas.

The airflow monitor is calibrated for two specific points: with the sash fully open (lowest velocity point) and with the sash fully closed (highest velocity point). On a VAV system, the face velocity does not change nearly as much since the volume of the air decreases when the sash is lowered, so there isn’t a distinct low and high point. Therefore, the monitor cannot be calibrated correctly unless it complies with the VAV system.

Which leads me to my final point…

4. Airflow monitors cannot be calibrated at the factory, period.

Analog Airflow MonitorUnfortunately, a factory calibrated airflow monitor cannot be accurate for real-life conditions. Your laboratory conditions, including what exhaust blower the fume hood is connected to, cross drafts from supply air registers, fume hood placement, and duct run design all impact the airflow going through your fume hood. So your hood manufacturer can hook a hood up to an exhaust at its facility and calibrate it to those conditions; however, once it’s removed from that facility and shipped to you, all of that calibration goes right out the window.

Your airflow monitor must be calibrated where it will be used.

So now that you know what the experts know, you know that every fume hood needs an airflow monitor. To know whether to get your airflow monitor from the fume hood manufacturer or your air handling installers, you need to find out what type of mechanical system the hood will be installed on. Then you will be able to schedule the calibration, knowing this is a step that must be done in the field.

If you have further questions, please contact our experts at Labconco.

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Wed, 15 Mar 2017 08:34:00 8MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-airflow-monitors
<![CDATA[How to Properly Care for your Freeze Dryer]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/how-to-properly-care-for-your-freeze-dryer As is the case with all categories of laboratory equipment, the longevity of your freeze dryer depends on how you use it (application), how often you use it (frequency of use) and how well you care for it (maintenance).

While it is true that some freeze dryers continue to lyophilize effectively for decades, the average life span of a freeze dryer in today's laboratory environment is approximately 10 to 15 years.

Do you want to know the secrets to getting that much life out of your freeze dryer?

Let's break down application, usage and maintenance—all those factors that determine how long and how well your freeze dryer works—and identify several Do's and Dont's to guide you.

DO . . .

How to use and properly care for your freeze dryerMake sure your freeze dryer is compatible with the eutectic temperature of your sample(s).

First and foremost, ensure your sample is compatible with your freeze dry system before you use the unit. A good rule of thumb is to plan for your most challenging sample and choose a system based on that need.

It's not possible to modify a freeze dryer’s condenser temperature.

The condenser temperature should be 10 to 15°C below the sample’s eutectic point. Low freezing point solvents, for instance, should not be used on -50°C units.

Certain acids should not be used with bare stainless steel and should only be used with PTFE models. Systems that reach -84°C are ideal for lyophilizing samples with low eutectic temperatures (like those that contain acetonitrile).

Systems that reach -105°C can handle samples containing small amounts of ethanol.

Perform regular vacuum pump maintenance.

Have you ever had problems with your freeze dryer not pulling sufficient vacuum?

If so, you're not alone—it's one of the most common freeze dry troubleshooting issues. The good news is that performing regular pump maintenance can help solve the problem, both reducing immediate downtime and increasing unit life in the long term.

After you’ve ensured you have the appropriate lyophilizer for your samples (see above), do the same for your pump: standard rotary vane pumps work well for aqueous based solutions, and hybrid or combination pumps are best suited for use with solvents or acids.

A low maintenance option, the scroll pump, is a new offering, which does not use oil at all.

In some cases, secondary acid or solvent traps can be used to extend the life of your vacuum pump by providing an additional barrier between the lyophilizer and the pump.

Dry ice traps are also available if you don't have the appropriate temperature differential between the eutectic temperature of your sample and the collector temperature.

Last but certainly not least, make sure to change the oil in your vacuum pump every 1,000 hours (or sooner if your application warrants). If in doubt, check the appearance of the oil. If it's cloudy or darker than an iced tea color, it needs to be changed.

Note that some pumps, such as hydrocarbon free scroll pumps, can pull a deep vacuum for freeze drying without using oil. If you've chosen a scroll pump, make sure to change the scrolls after every 40,000 hours of use.

Clean the freeze dryer after each run.

It's necessary to defrost and drain the condenser after each standard run.

If using acids, note that you'll also need to neutralize the chamber.

Regardless of the sample used, you must rinse and wipe down any components that may have come into contact with chemicals to reduce the risk of damage. Don't let water—especially chemically contaminated water—sit on the stainless, acrylic or rubber components of your freeze dryer.

     Related Article: Need a Lyophilizer? Read this before you buy…

     Related Article: How to Freeze Dry Faster

DON'T . . .

How to use a freeze dryer, and how not to!

Put samples in the freeze dryer that aren't completely frozen.

A sample must be completely frozen to be included in a lyophilization run. If it's not, a large volume of the sample will evaporate, thereby producing a high initial vapor load.

The vapors can then pass through the condenser and into the vacuum pump where they can do damage. Or, in worst-case scenarios, liquid could be sucked directly into the pump, causing even more damage.

Note that if a sample starts to melt back in-process, simply make adjustments so that is remains frozen or remove it from the system entirely.

Overload your freeze dryer.

Overloading your freeze dryer can make sessions last longer or even cause them to be wholly unsuccessful. The vapor load that the condenser must accommodate is the greatest when a sample is first loaded. 

The instantaneous load capacity rating is the quantity of vapor a freeze dryer can accommodate at one time. This is a different measurement than the ice holding capacity or the 24-hour collection rating.

When freeze drying multiple, large volumes, make sure the condenser temperature does not rise shortly after the sample is loaded. If this does happen, you are close to exceeding the instantaneous load capacity. In these instances, consider staggering the loading so samples are started at varying intervals.

Neglect maintenance.

At the end of a run, it's easy to remove your completed samples and forget to defrost and drain the condenser—an act that not only lengthens the process for the next user but can also cause damage to the unit if done frequently.

Maintenance is important for vacuum pumps, too. Although it can be time consuming, changing the oil frequently is a must. Especially when there are multiple users of a single system, keeping a maintenance log of oil changes and compressor cleanings can help ensure none of these crucial tasks are neglected.

     Related Equipment: PrimeMate Oil Change Systems

     Related Equipment: Scroll Pump

Have a specific product question? Contact Senior Application Specialist Jenny Sprung.

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Tue, 10 May 2016 05:00:00 5MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/how-to-properly-care-for-your-freeze-dryer
<![CDATA[Michael Flanagin: A day in the life of a Labconco Representative]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/michael-flanagin-a-day-in-the-life We checked in with Michael Flanagin, the Labconco Representative for the northern central region, to better understand a day in the shoes of a Labconco Representative. Many of our representatives work outside the office across the United States or across the globe. Michael is in Chicago, a short flight from our Kansas City home base.

Although no day is the same, his morning starts with a phone call or a web request, which is the initial introduction followed by Michael placing a face-to-face meeting. Michael tries to meet with at least three different clients face to face every day. These meetings could be as short as 15 minutes or could last for as long as it takes to answer laboratory planning and equipment questions for any size of group, which might take hours. Michael says, “I want to learn as much as I can about the laboratory’s current projects, architecture, the lay-out of their labs, and especially their biggest pain points we can try to address.”

“The process of developing a laboratory equipment solution from start to finish can take anywhere from three months to 24 months,” Michael stated, “so you often don’t get things done in one meeting or even two. It can take months or even years of work.”

Over lunch, he usually stops at his second office – Panera – where he turns their free wi-fi and bottomless coffee into intelligent answers to the onslaught of emails he receives every day.

In the afternoon, he follows up on new calls for help. If a customer is looking for a specific piece of equipment, he inquires if they have a favored equipment distributor. Then he gets skilled partners at that distributor involved and hands it off to them to take care of the final details to get the equipment delivered. Often times he follows up a week or so later to see if his clients need anything else.  

Michael wears many hats from presiding over Type C1 Axiom Lunch-and-Learn sessions to joint-training sessions with dealer representatives, along with the occasional visit to ongoing or recently completed projects.

One of Michael’s favorite things about his position is being on the frontline for Labconco. He loves being in the labs and working with the scientists and researchers; getting to know their needs and supplying solutions. “I believe these labs are doing work that will change lives every day,” Michael says. “One lab is making 3-D antigens that will be able to detect breast cancer when injected. That’s world-changing work and it is being done in our equipment.” 

You can contact Michael (or the representative for your area) when you need expert laboratory equipment and planning help. 

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Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:00:00 8JunCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/michael-flanagin-a-day-in-the-life
<![CDATA[Washing efficiencies reduce laboratory headaches]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/washing-efficiencies-reduce-unnecessary-headache It’s no secret that washing laboratory equipment falls low on the list of desirable tasks in the laboratory. Frustrations with washing arise due to many factors, including:

  • Time required
  • Hands-on/laborious processing
  • Wasted water

Washing processes in the lab continue to transform for standard washers. But what about volumetric pipettes?

Traditional pipette washing systems that fill and drain water out of a plastic tube typically consume hundreds of liters of water. Afterward, DI water has to be rinsed over the pipettes in the same wasteful manner used in the washing process. Finally, once the pipettes have been rinsed, the drying process can begin. Typically time-to-dry requires more than a full work day to completely dry a batch of pipettes.

Ultimately, the process of washing volumetric pipettes can cost your lab as much as 600 L of water and 23 hours of downtime.

A Better Way to Wash

Automated pipette washer/dryers eliminate frustrations with pipette washing in three effective steps.

  1. Active washing that scrubs the inside of pipettes with water, liquid detergent and compressed air.
  2. Thorough rinsing using tap and purified water.
  3. Forced air-drying.

A good automated pipette washer/dryer's total cycle time should be under five hours. For each unit used, a batch of of around 60 pipettes started in the morning could quickly be turned around for use in the early afternoon.

For even faster processing, heated pipette washers help remove stubborn materials left over from viscous or dried samples. Once washing is completed, heated forced air further drop cycle times down to just over three hours.

Using automation, laboratory pipette washing can be reduced to hours instead of multiple work days. Removing hands-on involvement and reducing water consumption in the washing process translates to time, energy, and money redirected to other parts of a busy laboratory.

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Tue, 20 Jun 2017 06:45:00 6JunCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/washing-efficiencies-reduce-unnecessary-headache
<![CDATA[Carbon Filter Capacity: Is my filter half full, or half empty?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/carbon-filter-capacity-is-my-filter-half-full-or
Granular carbon for carbon filters to adsorb fumes
Activated and Impregnated carbon materials can be effective at filtering contaminants out of liquid or air streams. This process is called adsorption. Like any filter in today’s laboratory, significant energy is spent replacing used carbon filters. Is it then critical to understand how long your carbon filters should last? Of course it is. 
 
Carbon filter capacity is expressed in several different ways, but two methods are most typical. 
 
1. Filter manufacturers typically have dedicated catalog numbers for filters, and those filters have standard sizes. A filter’s capacity is often expressed as a volume for a specific chemical that filter has the capacity to hold. (For example, a filter is rated to hold 250mLs of xylene, then the theoretical volume capacity of that filter for xylene is 250mLs.)
 
2. Carbon and Filter manufacturers often choose to express a filter’s capacity for any given chemical by providing a percentage. This is a “capacity by weight” ratio that can be used to calculate volume based on filter size. (For example, a carbon filter has a filter weight capacity for xylene of 27.6%. If you had 100 grams of carbon, you could theoretically trap 27.6 grams of xylene.)

What does it mean?

Make sure you ask for clarification, are the capacities provided theoretical or realistic values. Any time spent in a chemistry lab will teach you that the theoretical values obtained through stoichiometry and other calculations don’t pan out in the real world – I blame significant digits. Typically, realistic estimates for capacity are around 1/3 of calculated theoretical values. 
 
Another major factor in filtration capacity revolves around concentration. No, not how hard the bench chemist is focusing on his titrations, but the evaporative concentration of the given chemicals; the higher the concentration, the better the adsorption capacity, typically (Labconco Corporation 4-6). There is a catch, the higher the concentration, and the higher the volume of chemical going into your filter. An increase in efficiency and capacity does not always mean your carbon filters will last longer (in terms of time). 
 
Carbon molecule adsorption in carbon filters
Here’s another fun fact: working with mixtures causes a reduction in capacity by nearly 25-40%. Think of your filters as batteries. If Battery A is used to operate Device 1 (a television remote) until it is exhausted then it will last X minutes. If Battery A is used to operate Device 2 (a remote controlled car) until it is exhausted then it will last Y minutes. Assuming that the car will drain Battery A faster than the TV remote, if Battery A is used to operate both devices at the same time until it is exhausted, the battery will last a shorter duration than it did when operating the device with the shorter battery life. For carbon filters this is 25-40% shorter. 
 
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some chemicals experience “displacement” during carbon adsorption. This happens when a chemical has a very weak affinity for activated carbon (such as Methyl alcohol) and is paired in application with a chemical that has a higher affinity, like xylene. Xylene, with greater ‘desire’ to be trapped will actually ‘bump’ the methyl alcohol off of the carbon, releasing it into the exhaust. If your displaced chemical has a low exposure limit, toxicity threshold, or is dangerous to downstream apparatus, take extreme care and monitor downstream concentrations. You may need to employ a polishing system. 

The laundry list of variables that factor into “filter life”

  • Specific Chemical characteristics (molecular weight, volatility, size, etc…)
  • Chemical concentration
  • Evaporation rate
  • Volume of chemical used/released into the stream
  • Humidity (adverse)
  • Temperature
  • Presence of other chemicals
  • Filter make-up
  • Chemical mixtures
 
With the appropriate information and chemical data, carbon filter life can be calculated through a simple set of formulas (Garrett). 
 
As a general rule for good practice and per SEFA 9, laboratories should inquire with manufacturers to the suitability of carbon filtration for their independent and specific application. Should there be changes in laboratory practice or the purpose of a carbon-filtered device, the laboratory should assess how the changes may effect this equipment (Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association). 

Works Cited

Garrett, Brian. "Carbon Filter Capacity: Calculate This!" Labconco General Chemistry eNewsletter August 2012.
Labconco Corporation. Chemical Guide for Carbon Filtered Enclosures. Kansas City, 2011.
Scientific Equipment & Furniture Association. SEFA 9: Recommended Practices for Ductless Enclosures. Garden City, NY, 2010.
 
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Thu, 01 Jun 2017 05:00:00 5JunCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/carbon-filter-capacity-is-my-filter-half-full-or
<![CDATA[3 Takeaways from the 2016 NSF/ANSI Standard 49 update]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/update-to-nsf-ansi-standard-49 (Defining the Class II Type C1)

In March of 2017, the National Sanitation Foundation released the 2016 update to NSF/ANSI Standard 49 (NSF 49). If you own, manage or operate a laboratory with biosafety cabinets (BSCs), here are three major ways the new standard impacts your operations.

  1. Changes to how your BSC(s) can be decontaminated for service or between scopes of study – After considerable debate, Vaporized Hydrogen Peroxide (VHP) has been added as a new approved methodology; joining Chlorine Dioxide (CD) and formaldehyde applications. The addition of a third method increases your options and flexibility when working with a certification agent. VHP has long been used in space decontaminations, but was never an approved process for BSCs.
  2. Public open access to Annex E – This informative section of the standard was released to the public for free download in 2014; however, its scope left a lot of unanswered questions. The 2016 update looked to provide more useful information to BSC operators, how to select a BSC, how to use a BSC, where to locate a BSC within the laboratory as well as other recommendations, tips and hints.
  3. A newly designated and defined type of Class II BSC – While Labconco’s Purifier® Axiom® has been available since late 2014 and was the primary motivator for this change, it wasn’t until the release of this update that NSF 49 has formally recognized, designated and defined what a C1 actually is. The addition and validation of this new form of Class II BSC will forever change how microbiology labs and compounding pharmacies handle nuisance and hazardous usage of chemistry in their sterile procedures.

For more detailed information on the 2016 NSF Standard 49 update, see the Laboratory Equipment article, "NSF/ANSI 49 Updates: What the Biosafety Industry Needs to Know" by Jessica Burdg.

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Tue, 23 May 2017 07:30:00 7MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/update-to-nsf-ansi-standard-49
<![CDATA[Video: Gail's Story-Laboratory Freeze Drying Risk & Reward]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/video-gails-story-laboratory-freeze-drying-risk-

Gail was responsible for something irreplaceable: a key link to the future of her company... and a cure. If you lyophilize samples in your lab, her story may be very similar to your own. 

FreeZone Freeze Dryers, Lyo-Works OS and End-Zone End Point Detection

Gail needed to track the integrity of her freeze drying process, which could often last more than two days. But she could never be certain that her samples were fully lyophilized and that nothing had gone wrong with them. Any unexpected change in the vacuum level, temperature or even laboratory conditions could ruin her irrepalceable samples, and she wouldn't know until it was too late to do anything about it. 
 
When Gail visited Labconco, her story led to fundamental changes in how laboratory freeze drying is done. With the creation of the Lyo-Works Operating System, samples can now be monitored from anywhere via smartphone. And with End-Zone™ End Point Detection, FreeZone Freeze Dryers can even send you an alert when your samples have lyophilized completely. 
 
Find out more about how the solution Labconco developed can help your lyophilazation process
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Tue, 23 May 2017 05:30:00 5MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/video-gails-story-laboratory-freeze-drying-risk-
<![CDATA[The problem with fentanyl: Handling toxic drugs]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/the-problem-with-fentanyl Tune into the nightly news and you may not be surprised to hear a story about the growing opioid epidemic in the United States. Opioids, which are analgesic drugs with a high liability for abuse, are typically prescribed to treat severe pain. Often intended for short usage periods, addiction rates to opioids have skyrocketed, broadening the number of communities that have been impacted by the crisis. For prescribed patients or drug users that use opioids for extended periods, many must continually increase their dose sizes to overcome tolerances that inhibit these drugs’ therapeutic pain-relieving effect. Often, increasing a dose eventually leads to a search for more potent opioids, and perhaps none is more common than fentanyl.

In many ways, fentanyl is an exceptionally useful drug. Originally discovered by Paul Janssen in 1960, the highly potent pharmaceutical is frequently utilized to treat acute and chronic pain. It’s also administered in support of anesthesia. The most remarkable characteristic of the drug is its potency. At roughly 100 times more potent than morphine, fentanyl typically finds itself near the top of lists of hazardous drugs. 

Despite recent media attention devoted to fentanyl, the presence of the drug itself is nothing new in healthcare settings. It has been prescribed for decades, and is typically handled in dosage forms that minimize unwanted exposure for healthcare professionals. Examples of common forms of fentanyl include transdermal patches for extended-release dosing, intravenous injection in support of general anesthesia, and as oral lozenges for patients needing immediate relief from acute pain. Safe dosage forms also help to explain why accidental/inadvertent overdoses by healthcare professionals are extremely rare.

What’s the concern?

The problem with fentanyl arises when the drug is in raw powder form. Prior to being placed into a controlled drug format (i.e. transdermal patch, injectable solution from a vial, etc.), fentanyl is synthesized and purified in salt form. Fentanyl’s appearance is white and powderous in nature, much like flour, and it can easily be confused for illicit drugs with much lower potencies such as heroin or cocaine. As the drug’s street popularity has increased, fentanyl has increasingly been discovered mixed into other drug products.

And here is the cause for concern – lethal doses of fentanyl and heroin, side by side:


Image courtesy of New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab

Who is at risk?

Crime scene processors and forensics laboratory technicians are perhaps the most at-risk for accidental exposure to fentanyl, besides those who willingly take the drug. Unless in a sealed, original container, it is impossible to discern the nature of a powder sample. Therefore, extreme care must be used when collecting and handling any substance potentially containing fentanyl from a crime scene, or during analysis in a laboratory.

How should I protect myself?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn at all times when handling any hazardous drug. PPE should include proper respirators for protection from powders, protective eyeglasses or a face shield, a laboratory coat or coveralls, and non-porous gloves.

Any potentially hazardous sample should also be handled in a containment enclosure designed specifically for safe manipulation of potent compounds. These enclosures provide a secondary protection beyond PPE by creating a controlled, negative pressure environment to further reduce exposure to hazardous powders.

Enclosures for handling of potent compounds should:

  • Create non-turbulent airflow that pulls hazards away from a user
  • Have at least one bag-in/bag-out HEPA filter
  • Be tested by a 3rd party organization (such as SafeBridge Consultants, Inc.)
  • Be constructed of easily cleanable materials (such as metal and glass)

Who can I consult?

Not sure you’re outfitted with the right enclosure to safely handle fentanyl, or other hazardous powders? Get in touch with a containment expert.

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Thu, 18 May 2017 05:45:00 5MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/the-problem-with-fentanyl
<![CDATA[Common mistakes when using a laboratory freeze dryer]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/common-mistakes-using-a-laboratory-freeze-dryer Here are solutions for several common mistakes made in laboratory lyophilization. Following these suggestions can increase the quality of your samples and prolong the life of your freeze dryer.

Incompatible Samples

Often a sample is placed on a freeze dryer without any consideration as to the compatibility of the sample with the specifications of the freeze dryer. When lyophilizing, it is important to identify the components of the sample and their requirements for lyophilization. Incompatibility can result in decreased quality of the freeze dried sample and, more importantly, expensive damage to the freeze dryer or vacuum pump.

Collector Temperature

Although it is not critical to know the precise freezing point of a sample, estimating the general freezing point or eutectic temperature of your sample is important. The collector temperature of the freeze dryer is recommended to be 15° C to 20° C below the freezing point of a sample. This difference is necessary to keep the sample frozen during primary drying and to effectively trap the lyophilized vapors before they reach the vacuum pump. Collectors have fixed temperatures at -50° C, -84° C and -105° C.  For aqueous samples, a -50° C collector temperature is adequate. When solvents are present in samples, the freezing point is suppressed. For samples containing acetonitrile, a -84° C collector is recommended and for samples with up to 10% methanol, a -105° C collector is recommended. No harm is caused by using a freeze dryer with a collector that is colder than the minimum requirement.

Collector Size

It is important to ensure the size of the collector is big enough to accommodate the volume of the entire sample load. Stopping a run and defrosting the collector is not an ideal option. It is easier to make sure your entire run can be accommodated before starting the run. No harm is caused by using a collector that is bigger than the minimum size requirement.

Component Compatibility

Some samples may contain compounds that require special components in the freeze dry system. Acids, solvents and particulates are common compounds that can be accommodated with modifications.

  • Acids: Polytetrafluroethylene (PTFE) coatings protect stainless steel collectors and coils.
  • Solvents: Glass lids are used when a solvent damages acrylic lids.
  • Particulates: Inline HEPA filters, placed between the collector and the vacuum pump, protect vacuum pumps from damage from particulates. 

Vacuum Pump Damage

Maintaining deep vacuum levels is the most common problem in laboratory freeze drying.  A damaged vacuum pump is the leading cause of inadequate vacuum levels in a freeze dry system. If the vapors are not completely collected on the coils in the collector, they will enter the vacuum pump. Oil vacuum pumps are the most susceptible to damage from these vapors. Often the vapors will condense in the pump and mix with the oil. Once mixed in the oil, water can cause extensive damage to a pump while solvents and acids can cause even more damage. Combination rotary vane/diaphragm and scroll pumps are more resistant to harmful vapors but still can be damaged from exposure.

Damage to any pump will be avoided by preventing vapors from entering the pump. Ensuring the compatibility of the samples to the freeze dryer, as discussed earlier, is the most important preventative step to vapors entering the pump. Here are more suggestions.

Start-up Sequence

To prevent vapors from entering the pump, make sure the collector coils have cooled to at least -40° C before the vacuum pump is started. If the collector coils are not at adequate temperatures, they will not trap moisture from the air and any volatile vapors during system pull down. Having a purge valve that allows the vacuum pump oil to heat up before system pull down will prevent vapors from condensing in the hot oil.

Shut down

The majority of vacuum pumps have a gas ballast that can be used to purge containments from pump oil. After the freeze dry run, a pump should be allowed to operate with the gas ballast open for 20-30 minutes. This gives any vapors that condensed in the pump an opening in which to leave the pump. Running the pump heats the oil so that the contaminants are essentially distilled out of the oil.

Maintenance

Frequent oil changes will limit the damage to the pump if vapors enter the pump. During oil changes, flushing fluid can be used to rinse away any contaminates within the vacuum pump. It is important that oil levels are maintained and pumps are never allowed to run above or below the recommended oil levels.  

Freeze Dryer Maintenance

Freeze dryers are often laboratory workhorses that are simply used for years with little attention to their maintenance needs (aside from vacuum pump oil changes) until one day they no longer work. With very little effort, the lifespan of a freeze dryer can be greatly increased.

Emptying the Collector

At the end of a run, it is very easy to take the finished lyophilized sample and forget about defrosting and emptying the ice in the collector. Limiting the exposure of water or even worse, acids and solvents, to the freeze dryer will lengthen its lifespan. Freeze dry collectors should be defrosted, drained and wiped down immediately after every use. Neutralizing collector coils after any acid exposure is critical. If the collector is not drained, and the liquid is not noticed before the next start up, collector liquid will be pulled into the vacuum pump. Some freeze dryers feature drain line detectors to prevent this maintenance nightmare from occurring.

Checking Lids for Crazing

Lid for FreeZone Freeze Dryer

With extended exposure to some solvents, like acetonitrile, over time, acrylic can craze. Lid crazing can compromise vacuum levels and if allowed to continue, may cause the lid to implode when exposed to deep vacuums. Replacing the lid with visible crazing or using a glass lid when lyophilizing incompatible solvents will eliminate freeze dryer downtime.  

These common mistakes are often eliminated in newer freeze dryers as their designs offer many features that make freeze drying and freeze dryer maintenance easier. Features such as remote notification of operating and maintenance alerts, one-button data logging, auto start-up and onboard diagnostics are just a few of the features available for labs that want a lyophilizer that will provide high quality results, with little hassles, that will last for decades. 

 

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Tue, 09 May 2017 05:15:00 5MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/common-mistakes-using-a-laboratory-freeze-dryer
<![CDATA[Freeze drying using isopropyl alcohol]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/freeze-drying-using-isopropyl-alcohol The use of IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) in freeze drying applications are numerous, sometimes as an inexpensive precursor for manufacturing pharmaceuticals.

Other uses are for a disinfectant to destroy bacteria and fungi on equipment, a solvent to aid in chemical reactions, preservative to sustain a pharmaceutical, or, a coolant for samples with specific temperature requirements.¹

It can even be used as an extractant. IPA is polar, which makes it easy to extract other polar chemicals from plants or animals, as well as extracting liquids to create new pharmaceutical products. If a drug requires long term storage or shipment, then lyophilization, or freeze drying, is a great preservation method.

This process requires a temperature differential of no more than about about 15-20 degrees to prevent collapse and melt back of the sample. The freezing point (or eutectic temperature) of 100% IPA is -89°C, which is too low to safely freeze dry with a standard lyophilizer; however, diluting the IPA with water raises its eutectic point.

A -105°C FreeZone® Freeze Dryer can lyophilize samples that are extracted in IPA for long term storage.

Freeze Dry Process

The process of freeze drying requires three steps:

  • Pre-freezing
  • Primary Drying
  • Secondary Drying

Having a sample completely pre-frozen is essential for a properly lyophilized sample. Because of its low freezing point, IPA may melt on the quick walk from the freezer to the freeze dryer. Using an insulated flask will help prevent this melt back. Labconco offers two sizes of insulated flasks depending on the volume of sample.

With the freeze dryer ready, add the samples one at a time, waiting for the vacuum to recover after each sample. Once the samples are added and a full vacuum is achieved, primary drying may begin. The primary drying step removes 92-93% of the moisture, and is the longest step in the freeze dry process.

When the samples look dry, you can move it into secondary drying by adding heat to the samples, removing the remaining 7-8% moisture. You can add heat to a flask by wrapping it in aluminum foil or other insulator. The secondary drying step takes approximately half the time required for primary drying.

Once the samples are completely dry, they are ready to be stored or shipped for use.

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¹Pharmaceutical Uses of Isopropyl Alcohol | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_6105411_pharmaceutical-uses-isopropyl-alcohol.html#ixzz1O2U4VPAl

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Wed, 03 May 2017 06:30:00 6MayCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/freeze-drying-using-isopropyl-alcohol
<![CDATA[How to select lab vacuum pumps for high vapor-flow applications]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/how-to-select-vacuum-pumps-for-high-vapor-flow When selecting a vacuum pump for lyophilization, evaporation or concentration applications, a vital consideration in pump performance is vapor tolerance. These applications tend to involve high vapor flows that make extra demands of the pumping capacity, so a pump that is designed to handle those vapors is important to your success. But what do we mean by “handle those vapors?”

First things first. The first criterion in selecting a pump is to make sure that you have one that produces vacuum in the most effective range for your application.

References and resources courtesy of Vacuubrand

Vacuum Range

Most evaporative applications in the lab are best served by diaphragm pumps. These can be made of chemical resistant materials and produce enough vacuum to evaporate nearly every lab solvent (except DMSO) at room temperature. With the addition of modest heat, even DMSO is manageable.

In contrast, lyophilization (freeze drying) requires vacuum that is deep enough to induce sublimation – movement of a solvent directly from the solid state (e.g., ice) to the vapor state. Effectively, since evaporative use of vacuum is directed at lowering the boiling point, for sublimation we are trying to achieve a boiling point that is below the freezing point (eutectic temperature). This takes much deeper vacuum than diaphragm pumps can reach. For these applications, rotary vane pumps are the most common choice.

Evaporative Applications

In the case of evaporative applications, it is very common for both heat and vacuum to be used to induce evaporation. As the warmed vapors pass through a length of vacuum tubing on the way to the pump, it is likely that they will cool enough that some condensation will occur in the lines. Where does that condensation go? Well, it moves to the pump. What happens when it gets there will determine the progress of your application.

vacuum pumps including diaphragm scroll and hybrid combination pump

Liquids are not compressible and can impose mechanical forces that can damage your vacuum pump. Further, liquids inside a pump can be evaporated on the expansion stroke and condensed on the compression stroke, consuming a portion of the pumping capacity with every cycle, and impairing performance. If the pump has catchpots (also known as inlet separators), the liquids can be collected before they ever get to the pumping mechanism. This protects the pump mechanism from the forces introduced by the incompressible liquid. Pumps used with high vapor-load applications are best equipped with inlet separators.

Related Article: “How to select the correct Cold Trap” by Jenny Sprung
During laboratory evaporation, the main function of the Cold Trap is to collect harmful vapors before they enter the vacuum pump

Along with the catchpots, it is important that the pump have an effective “gas ballast.” Vapors that reach the pump mechanism before condensing can be condensed in the pump on the compression stroke, causing similar problems as the already condensed liquids described above. Gas ballast, or a purge system, introduces air between pump stages to blow condensed vapors through the pump, mitigating mechanical wear and tear on the pump of internal condensation.

Recall, however, that the reason you are using a vacuum pump is that you want to remove the air. What happens when you introduce air to remove condensable vapors? Some vacuum is lost. Depending on the design of a vacuum pump, the vacuum loss may be as little as 3-4 Torr, or as much as 12 Torr, with a corresponding loss of pumping speed near the ultimate vacuum.

The difference may be enough to compromise your ability to reach the vapor pressure of the solvent you are evaporating, thereby dramatically slowing your process. Some manufacturers address this problem by providing an intermittent purge system. Intermittent purge introduces a periodic pulse of air instead of a continuous stream with the goal of achieving the desired vacuum conditions most of the time, interrupted by periodic pressure spikes from the purge air. When working with evaporative processes, make sure you ask your vacuum pump manufacturer if the pump has gas ballast, how it works (continuous or intermittent), and how much vacuum capacity is lost when the gas ballast is operating. If they can’t or won’t tell you, that should be a red flag.

In contrast to rotary evaporators, concentrators are less likely to get condensation in the vacuum tubing because the vacuum is mainly what induces the evaporation. (The speed of the rotor can elevate internal temperatures in the concentrator to 35˚C.) So the considerations are the same with respect to the need for gas ballast and its impact on the available vacuum, while the inlet separators are most useful to protect the pump from particulates and droplets of liquids.

Sublimation Applications

FreeeZone Freeze Dryer with vacuum pump and clear chamber

Lyophilization creates different considerations, however, as the temperatures are so low as to require much deeper vacuum – typically in the range of 10-3 Torr – to induce sublimation. In this range, oil-sealed rotary vane pumps are the most common technology. With oil-sealed rotary vane pumps, the pump oil can become contaminated or degraded by the condensation of vapors in the oil. If the vapors are corrosive, the oil, which should be protecting the pump, becomes corrosive as well and can shorten the life of the pump if not changed very regularly. The correct operating temperatures for the solvents in use, along with careful process control, will be big factors in protecting the vacuum pump from vapors.  

One solution to the vapor challenge in lyophilization applications is the hybrid pump (or combination vacuum pump). These pumps combine a rotary vane section – which creates the deep vacuum needed – and a diaphragm pump which keeps the oil in the rotary vane pump under vacuum. The effect is to minimize condensation of solvent vapors in the pump oil, as well as to continuously distill out the vapors that do condense there. Not only does this prolong the life of the pump oil – extending oil change intervals by a factor of ten – but also pulls corrosive vapors out of the oil and reduces internal pump corrosion by a factor of about 50 when an application involves acid vapors. It’s worth noting that contaminated pump oil will corrode a pump whether it’s running or not, so keeping the oil clean is important even you don’t use the pump very often.

Related Video: How to avoid the mess of vacuum pump oil changes
You can probably understand why I hate to change the oil in my lab’s vacuum pumps. After all, there’s a little bit of “neat freak” in all of us who choose a career in laboratories...

One last consideration with oil-sealed pumps: make sure you have an oil mist filter on the exhaust. As air or vapors move through the pump, aerosols of oil can be created that be discharged into the workspace. Even if the pump exhaust is properly routed to a fume hood or exhaust duct, it is much better practice to capture that oil mist in a mist filter than deal with the mess or hazard.

Because of the various challenges of working with oil-sealed pumps, many users have tried to employ oil-less technologies. As noted earlier, the physics of diaphragm pumps do not permit them to reach this depth of vacuum. Scroll pumps run dry, and thus eliminate oil changes, however it is important to check the compatibility of your solvents with a scroll pump to avoid expensive failures.

Other Lab Vacuum Applications

Notice that this article has not addressed final drying and molecular distillation applications, nor pumps that serve as roughing pumps for turbomolecular pumps used in instrumentation vacuum. These tend not to be high vapor-flow applications. Similarly, filtration and aspiration applications often see high airflow but not vapor flow, as the vacuum used for these purposes should not be deep enough to generate copious vapor. In all of these cases, the most important concern is a pump that provides vacuum appropriate to the need.

Checklist for High Vapor-Load Vacuum Applications

  • Appropriate vacuum level
  • Corrosion resistant pump
  • Inlet catchpots (or cold traps for oil pumps) to keep condensate out of the pump
  • Gas ballast that manages condensate while minimizing impact on pump capacity
  • Oil mist filter on the exhaust of oil-sealed pumps
  • Consider hybrid pumps for longest pump life and to minimize service
  • Carefully follow manufacturer’s guidelines for pump operation and service

Related Article: “How to freeze dry faster” by Kelly Williams
These simple steps can be taken to reduce the required time to freeze dry samples.

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Thu, 27 Apr 2017 05:15:00 5AprCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/how-to-select-vacuum-pumps-for-high-vapor-flow
<![CDATA[The Right Biological Safety Cabinet for Your Job]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/the-right-biological-safety-cabinet-for-your-job Mike May's article, "The Right Biological Safety Cabinet for Your Job" in Lab Manager Magazine uses reference material and expert interviews to lead you to the right biological safety cabinet for your laboratory and your specific procedures. You'll know all the right questions and how to find their answers after reading this.

When selecting a new biological safety cabinet (BSC), many factors should be considered... The first question, says Brian Garrett, product manager at Labconco, is, "What kind of protection do you need: product, personnel, or both?" . . . .

May covers the BSC basics and then dives into the details, such as materials of construction, and airflow patterns and their purposes. 

Read the entire article, "The Right Biological Safety Cabinet for Your Job" by Mike May in Lab Manager Magazine. 

 

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Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:45:00 13AprCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/the-right-biological-safety-cabinet-for-your-job
<![CDATA[USP update: Enclosure selection guide for the compounding pharmacy]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/usp-update-enclosure-selection-guide-for-the-com There’s been a lot of talk around compounding pharmacies lately with the release of USP <800>, a new chapter that provides guidelines for compounding of hazardous drugs. USP <800> is a broad chapter, providing guidance when handling both non-sterile and sterile hazardous drugs. A significant portion of the chapter, focusing on enclosure selection, can be complex to navigate. So how does one determine what type of enclosure they need in their compounding pharmacy?

It boils down to two questions.

  • Are you preparing non-sterile or sterile drugs?
  • Do the preparations contain NIOSH-listed hazardous drugs?

Non-sterile, non-hazardous compounding

For non-sterile, non-hazardous compounding, covered in USP <795>, a single HEPA filtered Class I Biosafety Cabinet is typically used to protect compounding personnel, and the compounding area, from a drug powder. Drug powders are trapped on the HEPA filter, and pure air exhausts back into the room.

Sterile, non-hazardous compounding

In sterile, non-hazardous compounding, covered in USP <797>, a clean bench is recommended. It protects and maintains the sterile environment around the compounded product and work area before exhausting back into the room and is more ergonomic than a Containment Aseptic Isolator (CAI).

Non-sterile, hazardous compounding

For non-sterile, hazardous compounding, covered in USP <800>, a specialized balance enclosure or Class I Biosafety Cabinet is required. This can either include a single HEPA filter that is ducted to the outside, or two redundant HEPA filters that exhaust back into the room. It provides user protection during hazardous drug manipulation such as preparation of hormone replacement therapy creams (HRT).

Sterile, hazardous compounding

Finally, in sterile, hazardous compounding, covered in USP <800>, an exhausted Class II Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) is typically preferred. Exhausted models of Class II Biosafety Cabinets come in different formats. A USP <800> Class II BSC for sterile compounding can either be a Type A2 cabinet with a canopy connection to duct outside, a Type C1 cabinet that is ducted to the outside, or the less favorable Type B cabinet that is ducted outside.

Type C1 cabinets provide superior protection for users and maintain a sterile environment in the direct compounding area. Exhausted Class II cabinets provide the best product and personnel protection when preparing sensitive sterile injectables such as antineoplastics/chemotherapies.

No matter what type of compounding you perform, Labconco has your pharmacy covered.

For detailed information on equipment needed to meet USP guidelines, download the PDF: Labconco Compounding Pharmacy Solutions.

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Tue, 04 Apr 2017 07:15:00 7AprCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/usp-update-enclosure-selection-guide-for-the-com
<![CDATA[Infographic: lyophilization, concentration or evaporation]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-lyophilization-concentration-or-evap Which is best for my samples?

This infographic will help you select the right methods and equipment to best preserve your specific samples. Lyophilization, concentration and evaporation (including nitrogen blowdown) methods are all considered. 

In concentration and evaporation, liquid molecules become vapor molecules. In lyophilization, sublimation occurs when solid molecules become vapor molecules. By bypassing the liquid phase, many samples are better preserved.

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Tue, 28 Mar 2017 07:45:00 7MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-lyophilization-concentration-or-evap
<![CDATA[Axiom Week: Day 1]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/axiom-week-day-1-2 FAQs, Myths, Fabrications & Misinformation about the Type C1 Purifier Axiom - Part 1

In March of 2017, the NSF International released the 2016 update to NSF/ANSI Standard 49. One major change affected the “Definitions” section, harmonizing the language for the different types of Class II Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) and adding the Class II, Type C1.

The Axiom has already been listed by NSF International to Standard 49 for both 4 and 6 foot options, in both 8 and 10 inch sash heights, and installed in both recirculating and ducted modes. 

MYTH: NSF/ANSI 49 does not recognize the Type C1 designation.

TRUTH: NSF/ANSI Standard 49-2016 recognizes and defines the Class II Type C1.

MISINFORMATION: The Axiom is not an NSF listed Type A BSC nor a Type B BSC. 

TRUTH: From NSF Business Unit Manager, Maren H. Roush: 

“As noted in the official NSF Listings online at http://info.nsf.org/Certified/Biosafety, Labconco models 30441, 30448, 30461 and 30468 do not fall entirely under the “A” or “B” cabinet type definitions in the 2012 version of NSF Standard 49. However, they were found to meet the materials, design, construction and performance requirements of NSF/ANSI 49-2012, and as such, were Certified by NSF International. 

“Standard 49 allows for cabinets that vary in design, construction, or installation of accessory equipment, if appropriate tests and investigations indicate that the equipment is durable and reliable, can be cleaned and decontaminated, and performs in conformance to the Standard. The aforementioned Axiom models were tested by NSF International to Standard 49 in both recirculating mode and with direct exhaust. 

“Additional tests that were performed on these Axiom models included smoke visualization above the directly exhausted section of the work surface and an evaluation of the cabinet’s ability to maintain inflow velocity in the event of an exhaust system failure (with the alarm function disabled).” 

Return to Labconco.com to learn more about the Type C1 every day this week.

This is Day 1 of Axiom Week, see our post for: Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

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Tue, 28 Mar 2017 05:00:00 5MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/axiom-week-day-1-2
<![CDATA[Video: Evaporator & Concentrator YouTube Playlist]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/evap-playlist When you want to help yourself to expert knowledge in the form of video, it's nice to know Labconco RapidVap® and CentriVap® concentrators have a home on YouTube. Find how-to information about installation and setup for all of Labconco's evaporator equipment on this playlist

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Mon, 27 Mar 2017 13:47:00 13MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/evap-playlist
<![CDATA[Zero Net Energy Labs: Sustainability for Laboratory Science]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/zero-net-energy-labs-sustainability-for-laborato Laboratories are places of discovery and scientific progress, housing both the research that matters and the researchers and equipment responsible for it. All that science, though, takes energy, and many facilities—especially those with significant ventilation needs—utilize it in high volumes. To combat this issue, some are looking to zero net energy (ZNE) laboratories as the sustainable, environmentally friendly homes for the science of tomorrow.

What is a ZNE lab?

In brief, a ZNE lab is a building that produces as much energy as it consumes, achieving maximum efficiency and often embracing alternative forms of energy like photovoltaics. Since this energy balancing act is a product of careful architectural design, engineering and equipment planning ZNE labs are not yet common.

Uncommon for now, perhaps—but that doesn't mean laboratories around the globe are not taking zero energy initiatives on current buildings or planning them for future builds. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Research Support Facility in Golden, Colorado, for example, is the largest completed ZNE building in the world. At 360,000 total square feet, this LEED Platinum structure reduces energy consumption while generating renewable energy. (Read more about this U.S. Department of Energy lab on NREL.gov and in the NREL PDF.)

How does a ZNE lab work?

We've established that a ZNE lab produces as much energy as it consumes—that, as one can expect, is easier said than done. One way to control the energy expenditure of a lab is to focus on the fume hoods: although the percentages vary depending on the source, it's common knowledge to lab designers that fume hoods are the biggest offenders when it comes to energy consumption. Choosing a more efficient system and using it mindfully can drastically reduce a lab's energy footprint.

Various versions of high performance and ductless fume hoods play different roles in conserving laboratory energy. Though one energy efficient fume hood is not ideal for all applications, all laboratory personnel can learn the important distinctions between the various types of high performance fume hoods and their uses. The very most energy efficient hoods are ductless and filtered fume hoods, which can handle a much wider variety of applications now than was possible historically.

Other ways a lab can achieve ZNE can be a combination of the following, depending on the science being performed within its walls:

  • Photovoltaic (solar)
  • Energy recovery systems
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Energy wheels
  • Wind technology
  • Chilled beams
  • Natural gas use versus coal
  • Natural lighting
  • Efficient insulation
  • Thermal glazed windows
  • Solar filmed windows
  • Less tempering of air in certain climates

What can you do?

Many of the aforementioned initiatives are large-scale design and equipment based, as ventilation efficiency and overall construction play a significant role in the energy rating of a building or lab. It's important to note, though, that change needn't be on such a grand scale to be impactful. Smaller modifications—many based on the behavior of humans within the lab, not necessarily its brick and mortar construction or contents—can also help with sustainability.

Personnel-initiated environmental stewardship in the lab can include actions like these:

  • Shutting the sash on fume hoods (when appropriate) and using the blower at the lowest required speed for optimal safety
  • Turning off lights when not needed (or utilizing task lighting)
  • Replacing incandescent and fluorescent bulbs with more efficient LED alternatives
  • Using timers for equipment shut down
  • Unplugging lab equipment
  • Recycling metal, paper, cardboard and plastic (all uncontaminated from lab use)
  • Using water-efficient methods for glassware washing

The Takeaway

ZNE labs certainly get the gold star when it comes to energy initiatives (or Platinum, if we're talking about LEED). The equipment choices and design techniques that allow labs to attain this ZNE rating are well thought out and require an environmental commitment at every step. However, a key takeaway from this discussion is that conserving energy on any level in the lab is a worthwhile endeavor. If we are conscious of our actions both at home and in the lab, we can be part of the solution rather than contributors to the problem.

Related Articles

Sources

Alliance to Save Energy 
Clean Energy Action Project 

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Tue, 21 Mar 2017 07:59:00 7MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/zero-net-energy-labs-sustainability-for-laborato
<![CDATA[4 Reasons NOT to use open flames in Biosafety Cabinets]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/4-reasons-not-to-use-flames-in-bscs Damage to HEPA filter due to open flameA Class II Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) uses HEPA filtered, laminar airflow to provide operator, environmental and sample protection. For the purpose of sterility, HEPA filters are typically rated at 99.99+% efficiency for particles 0.3 micron in size.

Typical microbiological procedures often utilize Bunsen burners or other open flames to sterilize and/or reduce cross contamination; however, the use of such open flames inside of a BSC is not recommended for several reasons:

  1. The Class II BSC maintains sample protection through delivery of downward laminar airflow (volumes of air traveling in a single direction at a constant speed, without turbulence) over the work area of the cabinet. Hot air rises, so any open flame causes air to rise against the laminar downflow, creating turbulence and foiling the BSC’s ability to protect the samples in the work area.
     
  2. If an open flame gets too hot, it also has the capacity for melting the bonding agent that holds the HEPA filter media to its frame. This destroys the HEPA filter’s effectiveness, leading to loss of containment in the positively pressured plenum.
     
  3. If the flame goes out and the gas supply valve remains open, flammable gas would be introduced to the cabinet unabated. In an A2 Biosafety Cabinet, where 70% of the air within the BSC is recirculated (see video below), concentrations of the flammable gas could reach explosive potential and pose a serious risk to not only the BSC, but to the user and the laboratory it occupies.

     
  4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) have also addressed this in the publication: Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th ed., (BMBL 5th).

Several measures can be taken to reduce the chance for cross-contamination of materials when working in a BSC. Opened tubes or bottles should not be held in a vertical position. Investigators working with Petri dishes and tissue culture plates should hold the lid above the open sterile surface to minimize direct impaction of downward air. Bottle or tube caps should not be placed on the toweling. Items should be recapped or covered as soon as possible.

Open flames are not required in the near microbe-free environment of a biological safety cabinet. On an open bench, flaming the neck of a culture vessel will create an upward air current that prevents microorganisms from falling into the tube or flask. An open flame in a BSC, however, creates turbulence that disrupts the pattern of HEPA-filtered air being supplied to the work surface. When deemed absolutely necessary, touch-plate micro burners equipped with a pilot light to provide a flame on demand may be used. Internal cabinet air disturbance and heat buildup will be minimized. The burner must be turned off when work is completed. Small electric “furnaces” are available for decontaminating bacteriological loops and needles and are preferable to an open flame inside the BSC. Disposable or recyclable sterile loops should be used whenever possible.

As indicated above by the CDC, if a flame is deemed absolutely necessary, there are types of equipment widely available that are safer alternatives to the Bunsen burner. Some of these employ low profile, pedal attenuated flames; others detect motion.

If you still have questions about using flames in your process, please feel free to contact me.

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Wed, 15 Mar 2017 06:14:00 6MarCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/4-reasons-not-to-use-flames-in-bscs
<![CDATA[Laminar flow in the laboratory: What you need to know]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/laminar-flow-in-the-laboratory What is laminar flow?

Type C1 Laminar flow hood in A-Mode and B-Mode

Laminar flow is defined as airflow in which the entire body of air within a designated space is uniform in both velocity and direction.

According to the CDC, the laminar air flow principle was first developed in the early 1960s. It's still incredibly relevant for modern labs, having literally shaped the way air safely moves in many generations of laboratory enclosures. Today, many categories of laminar flow hoods exist. Although they differ depending on the science performed within, there is one common denominator: all use this type of unidirectional airflow to aid in maintaining sterility, preventing cross-contamination and reducing turbulence.

Just what exactly is laminar air flow, why is it effective and what does it look like in labs today? Let's explore.

How is laminar air flow utilized in different types of equipment?

Class II Biosafety Cabinets, sometimes referred to as laminar flow hoods, maintain product protection through HEPA-filtered laminar downflow over the work zone. Per the NSF definition, these ventilated cabinets also feature inward airflow at the open front to protect operators and HEPA filtered exhaust air for environmental protection. 

  • Class II, Type A cabinets recirculate air back into the laboratory unless a canopy connection is warranted.
  • Class II, Type B cabinets are hard-ducted to the outside.
  • Class II, Type C1 cabinets can function in either Type A or Type B mode. Whichever model suits your application, safe operation within biological safety cabinets is imperative to protect the integrity of your work and your personal safety.
  • PCR stations, enclosures that are specifically designed to house polymerase chain reaction experiment, utilize the vertical laminar flow of HEPA-filtered air to maintain a particulate-free work environment. A UV light is necessary to denature genetic material (DNA, RNA, etc.) and provide secondary decontamination.
  • Clean benches are suitable for applications that require product protection, such as media plate preparation or tissue culture maintenance. Air is drawn in through a prefilter located at the top of the clean bench before being pulled through a HEPA filter.
  • In a vertical clean bench, laminar air is then projected vertically over the work area. In a horizontal clean bench, laminar air is projected horizontally towards the operator. In both instances, laminar flow provides a particulate-free work area.

(Note that some categories of laboratory equipment, like Class I enclosures with perforated baffles or certain high performance fume hoods, employ laminar-like flow. Watch: Airflow in a Class I Enclosure.)

Video demonstration, laminar flow in action:

So, what is zoned airflow?

Zoned airflow is not truly laminar. Zoned airflow is used when equipment cannot achieve all of the protection required of a Class II biosafety cabinet with standard laminar airflow. Each zone, or column, of airflow is defined and has its own range in airspeed. This allows for higher speed barrier air columns to be utilized as an engineering solution to equipment that otherwise would have poor containment or product protection ratings.

How does laminar flow differ from dilution flow?

Dilution flow is not the same as laminar air flow. The dilution flow principle is used in equipment such as filtered glove boxes. In these instances, HEPA-filtered air mixes with and dilutes interior airborne contaminants inside the glove box, and those contaminants are removed via a filtered exhaust system. After the contamination source has been sealed, the dilution rate—or air changes per minute—will determine how much time must lapse before materials can be removed from the main chamber.

What is turbulent flow?

While laminar air flow helps to reduce turbulence, turbulent flow encourages it by creating unintentional swirls of air that place particles randomly on surfaces within an enclosure. Turbulent flow can be disruptive to work that requires a dust-free environment and can lead to contamination. Obstructions, like items left inside enclosures, can create this unwanted turbulence.

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Wed, 08 Mar 2017 05:30:00 5MarCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/laminar-flow-in-the-laboratory
<![CDATA[Infographic: Selecting USP 800 Equipment]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-selecting-usp-800-equipment USP <800> requires a negative pressure Containment Primary Engineering Control (C-PEC) such as a Class I BSC for non-sterile compounding. The C-PEC must also be placed into an exhausted, negative pressure room. Follow these four quick steps to take the guesswork out of selecting the right C-PEC for your USP <800> compliant pharmacy.

This infographic will help you understand how to select the right solution for USP <800> in your pharmacy. 

 

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Tue, 07 Mar 2017 08:55:00 8MarCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-selecting-usp-800-equipment
<![CDATA[Top 5 mistakes made in the lyophilization process]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/top-5-lyophilization-mistakes It’s been said that freeze drying is an art, not a science, but there are ways to help improve your artistic capabilities. 

Some of the top mistakes of the freeze dry process are…

1)     Not knowing your sample’s melting point

Without knowing what temperature your sample melts at, you can’t choose the correct lyophilizer for your needs, and your samples may melt during the process. A freeze dryer requires a temperature differential between the sample’s eutectic temperature and the freeze dryer collector. The collector must be 20 degrees colder than the eutectic temperature to allow for proper sublimation during lyophilization.

Example: Ethanol has a freezing point of -114C. If used in a freeze dryer, the collector temperature would need to be -134˚C. Unless you’re using a liquid nitrogen freeze dryer, freeze drying a sample in pure ethanol would be impossible. In fact, just freezing pure ethanol is difficult. If you dilute ethanol with water, you can raise the sample’s eutectic temperature to a point that it could be freeze dried using a -105C freeze dryer.

2)     Thinking colder is better when freeze drying on a shelf-type freeze dryer

I had a customer who thought the freeze dryer wasn’t working because on the port-type freeze dryer the samples took 2 days to freeze dry, but in the tray dryer, they were taking a week.  When I asked what the shelves were set at, I was told -40˚C.  Without an appropriate temperature, freeze drying is going to take a long time. The ports freeze dried more quickly because of ambient heat from the room.

During  primary drying, you want to set the shelf temperature to just below the sample’s eutectic temperature. With a water sample, this would mean the shelves would be set at about -5˚C since water freezes at 0˚C. Allow just enough heat to the shelves to encourage the molecules of the sample to move, yet prevent melting.

3)     Using the wrong equipment for your samples

Many freeze dryers are used in a group setting, so before purchasing one, make sure each person using it knows the following:

  • how much moisture needs to be lyophilized
  • what the sample is (and the eutectic temperature)
  • how to properly use the freeze dryer

If you need to process 10 liters of sample, a 1 liter freeze dryer is not the best option; an 18 liter would be recommended. Make sure you get the right temperature collector to prevent samples melting and contamination of your vacuum pump oil.

Finally, if the unit is not used correctly, it could ruin everyone’s samples. The Guide to Freeze Drying can help.

4)     Not maintaining the vacuum pump

Although it seems like a small piece of the freeze dry puzzle, the pump needs to be in optimal working order for freeze drying to work. There are a few things to remember about the vacuum pump; Running the pump with the gas ballast open 30 minutes before and after the freeze dry process will elongate the life of the pump. Opening the gas ballast purges contaminants out of the pump to prevent damage to internal components.

Check the pump oil often for discoloration and particles, and change the oil as needed. Doing regular oil changes keeps the pump pulling at optimum vacuum during the freeze dry process. http://www.labconco.com/news/avoid-vacuum-pump-oil-change-messes

5)     Having the wrong freeze drying accessories for your process

Do you need to stopper samples under vacuum?  If so, a stoppering chamber is required. Are you freeze drying in flasks? Then a drying chamber with ports is needed. If you are doing solvents or acids, a hybrid vacuum pump is recommended.

By avoiding the above mistakes, you can give your freeze dryer and pump a long life, and you‘ll have a masterpiece sample when your freeze drying is done.

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Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:35:00 5FebCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/top-5-lyophilization-mistakes
<![CDATA[Meet Labconco's International Team]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/international-team Our international team is an exceptionally eclectic and dedicated group, and we’re proud to have them in our Labconco family. Led by International Sales Manager Nathan Ladd (second from bottom left) and International Operations Manager Aide McLaughlin (top right), team members work with our international network of distributors throughout 138 countries to provide the documentation and support necessary to ensure orders are shipped promptly and correctly.

“Some territories are more complex than others in terms of export requirements,” Aide says. “We also handle letters of credit, which are forms of payment, and produce a number of other types of documentation based on shipping locations. We hear all the time that our forwarders appreciate our consistent, clear and well-presented documentation.”

Collectively, the team is proficient in Italian, Russian, French, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese. They work together seamlessly, dividing their time between our home office in Kansas City and their respective locations around the globe. Each member plays an integral role, bringing unique skills and significant professional experience to the group. Each regional sales manager, for example, has been working in laboratory equipment sales for at least 10 years.

While they work together as a cohesive unit, individual personalities shine through all the same. Kevin Conley, Senior International Support Specialist (second from bottom right), for example, collects currency from various countries and displays them on his cubicle wall (see photo). Alex Reymar, International Support Specialist (second from top right), travels for pleasure as often as his schedule allows and has visited 49 states and 31 countries—so far.

When the regional sales managers visit our office for training sessions or meetings, the international team enjoys going out to lunch as a group. In fact, food brings the department—and others—together often, Nathan says.

“One of the highlights for those who do regional travel is getting to try local specialties or unique dishes native to a location. It is always amazing how food can be such a unifier and a great conversation starter with distributors, end users and colleagues,” he says.

While the cuisine of choice may vary, the topic of conversation at these luncheons generally features two central themes. “It’s an opportunity to catch up on what’s happening in our lives and also discuss projects,” Aide says. “We are always focusing on what we can do better next time.” 

Contact Labconco's International Team

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Thu, 16 Feb 2017 06:45:00 6FebCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/international-team
<![CDATA[Crisis averted: Lab equipment on demand]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/crisis-averted-lab-equipment-on-demand Even in the calculating world of science and manufacturing, problems can come at you fast. But when one unexpected problem arose, Customer Service Representative Becky Alexander put her experience to work to come to the rescue.

One of our Distributor Representatives was having a major issue with a mistake encountered by a lab manager who was in a hurry to get a new process up and running in her lab. The buyer had spent a lot of time focusing on finding the right fume hood for her specific application; however, she had been so focused on finding the right hood that she neglected entirely to buy a base cabinet for it, putting her in a real bind to get the fume hood installed in time.

In a panic, the lab manager and her distributor came to Becky looking for a speedy solution. The lab manager made the urgency of the situation absolutely clear. From the production facility, the lead-time for a new base cabinet was around four weeks. Based on her urgency, a standard order just would not do. After talking the problem through with the representative to fully understand the situation, Becky turned to Labconco XPress Shipping for the solution. She knew, based on the fume hood specifications, that XPress Shipping had the base cabinet they needed in stock.

The XPress Shipping program stores an inventory of readymade equipment, ranging from glove boxes to fume hoods to base cabinets, that can be shipped quickly when someone needs an item that doesn’t require custom design. Through this program, after we receive a receipt of order and upon request, products are shipped in 48 hours or less. This means that the lab manager would get the base cabinet for her fume hood much more quickly than she feared.

Even when the shipping order had been placed, Becky wanted to make sure not to let the order fall through the cracks. Throughout the shipping process, she also gave the lab manager’s distributor updates on when the package shipped, its location periodically through the shipment, and finally gave a solid delivery date while helping the distributor smooth out any concerns that the laboratory manager had.

Great work, Becky! With quick thinking, personal interest in the success of our clients and XPress Shipping, Becky was happy to make someone’s day. 

*Shipping in 48 hours or less is subject to availability.

XPress Shipping logo

XPress Shipping

Labconco XPress speeds delivery of selected equipment to you. View a list of products that qualify.

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Tue, 07 Feb 2017 06:00:00 6FebCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/crisis-averted-lab-equipment-on-demand
<![CDATA[4 things to consider before choosing a ductless fume hood]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/considering-a-ductless-hood Ductless fume hoods such as Paramount Ductless Enclosures are filtered fume hoods that can be portable between labs.Ductless fume hoods, sometimes called carbon-filtered enclosures or filtered fume hoods, are self-contained, filtered laboratory enclosures that remove hazardous fumes, vapors and particles from the laboratory. Unlike traditional fume hoods, installation costs are very low and no ductwork is required. Therefore, many people think selecting one is a slam-dunk when they first learn of them.

“It takes care of the chemical fumes, it’s cheaper, and it’s an easier installation. It only makes sense, right?”

Not. So. Fast.

There are some important things to consider before making the final decision to purchase a ductless fume hood. Take these four aspects into thorough consideration to be confident that a ductless fume hood is the right choice for your laboratory and your applications:

1. Is your general application appropriate for a ductless fume hood?

Although there are different classes of ductless and filtered fume hoods, some hoods still limit applications that can be performed in them. Some ductless fume hoods should only be used light-duty or process-specific fume hoods. Other filtered fume hoods can be used for a wide range of chemicals, but keep in mind that larger chemical volumes will always shorten filter life. 

This means that:

  • A limited number of different chemicals should be used.
  • No extreme heating should be carried out in the hood, i.e. acid digestion applications.
  • Modest chemical volumes should be used, around 500 mls or less per chemical.
  • Moderate chemical exposure times should be maintained.

If your application does not meet these parameters, a standard ducted fume hood is likely the best option for maximum safety and economical feasibility. If you do not know what chemicals will be used in the future, or you have a very long list of chemicals, the application would best be performed in a ducted fume hood.

At this point you should discuss your application with a Fume Hood Specialist to confirm which kind of fume hood is primarily recommended.

2. Will the chemicals involved in your application be effectively filtered with the available carbon filters?

Protector Airo Filtered Fume Hood is a ductless fume hood that uses Neutrodine Filters.Typically, ductless hoods will be outfitted with chemical specific filters. Specific filter types increase chemical trapping capacity for different chemical families; however, some chemicals cannot be safely filtered or aren’t filtered effectively enough to allow ductless hoods to be a financially viable option. Filtered fume hoods can filter out acids, bases, and solvents with one filter type, however, there are still some chemicals (low molecular weight solvents) that will not be effectively filtered. 

To filter various chemical groups, Labconco offers seven different types of carbon filters for use in our ductless fume hoods:

  • HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter: a 99.99% efficient particulate filter for chemical powders and particulates
  • Organic Carbon Filter: Activated carbon to chemically adsorb organic vapors
  • Acid-Sulfur Carbon Filter: Impregnated carbon to neutralize Acids and Sulfur containing compounds
  • Ammonia-Amine Carbon Filter: Impregnated carbon to neutralize ammonia/amine compounds
  • Formaldehyde Carbon Filter: Impregnated carbon to neutralize formaldehyde
  • Mixed Bed Carbon Filter: 60 % Impregnated carbon to neutralize acids and sulfur containing compounds (20%), Ammonia and amine compounds (20%), formaldehyde containing compounds (20%) and 40% activated carbon for organics
  • Radioisotope Carbon Filter: Impregnated carbon to neutralize radioisotopes
  • Neutrodine® Carbon Filters: a comprehensive filter type for use in our Echo and Airo Filtered fume hoods.

If all of the chemicals involved in your application match one of these filter types, it is a good sign that your application will be suitable for use with a ductless fume hood; however, there are some chemical exceptions with each filter type. For instance, some organics (such as methanol) are very volatile, light weight, and are not effectively adsorbed on the organic filter.  Whereas some acids (like perchloric acid) present special hazards and should be used in a specialized fume hood.

The best way to determine if your chemicals are compatible with the filter types offered is to request a Chemical Assessment from our Chemical Specialists. They will review your application to help you determine if it is suitable, make appropriate equipment and filter recommendations, and provide you with any necessary precautions.

In some cases, you may be able to determine the correct filter type using our Chemical Guide for Ductless Hoods. Remember, though, the Guide is not an approved list of chemicals; you and your safety officer must ultimately determine which chemicals, quantities and filters ensure your personal safety.

3. How often will you have to replace your filters?

Although you will not have the added cost of ductwork installation and wiring associated with a standard fume hood, you will still want to consider how often you would need to replace your filters, and the maintenance costs associated with that, to calculate your estimated annual filter costs. Filter lifespans can last from a few months up to two years. You will want to find out how long the expected filter lifespan is for your application, then weigh that against the cost to install a standard fume hood. Also consider the energy cost of running a standard fume hood, which removes tempered air from the laboratory, taxing the HVAC system.

Filter life (and filter replacement times) depend on several factors:

  • What chemicals are being used?
  • What is the filter capacity for the chemicals being used?
  • What is the evaporation rate of each chemical?
  • What is the chemical volume that is being used?
  • What is the duration of usage per day for each chemical?
  • What is the temperature of each chemical?

Need to learn more about carbon filtration? Read these articles for further details:

4. How do the pros and cons of using a ductless fume hood balance out for you?

If you have determined that a ductless fume hood is most likely suitable for your application, the last thing to do is to determine how the advantages of a ductless fume hood stand up against its disadvantages, and how both align with your company's overall goals. The following table sums up the important pros and cons, however, the final decision is up to you and your safety officer, and should be made with sufficient consideration.

Pros and Cons of Ductless Fume Hoods

When considering whether to purchase a ductless fume hood, these four important considerations will help you to make the safest, most economically sound decision for your facility.

If you have any questions regarding this information or need additional information, feel free to contact a specialist. We would love to hear from you.

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Thu, 02 Feb 2017 05:00:00 5FebCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/considering-a-ductless-hood
<![CDATA[Smart ways to get the most out of your Pipette Washer/Dryer]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/smart-pipette-washing-equipment You've already made some brainy decisions if you're cleaning pipettes with an automated pipette washer/dryer because automating the process is allowing you to:

  • Make the whole cleaning cycle faster, so you can buy fewer reusable pipettes
  • Handle pipettes less, reducing the risk of breakage and injuries
  • Save on water bills
  • Put your time in the laboratory to better use

Here are a few ways to squeeze even more out of your pipette washer:

Take advantage of portability

Keeping your pipette washer on a laboratory cart, rather than a bench top, frees up counter space for work and other equipment, and more importantly, it adds mobility to your pipette washer. This way it can be pushed from station to station or even be shared between labs.

Your pipette washer can be stored out of the way on a portable table; it can be loaded at your work station to reduce glass handling even further, and then moved to its air and water supply when it is full and ready to run.

Add versatility with a spindle kit

ScrubAir can also be used to wash small test tubes and vials. Glassware that are 7mm inside diameter or larger can be accommodated by adding a spindle kit. Polystyrene spindles are easy to install and uninstall. A spindle kit comes with 24 each 5mm outside diameter polystyrene spindles with caps and a stainless steel rack that holds up to 20 test tubes.

Keep extra detergent on hand

You can ruin all of the efficiency you’ve invested in by running out of detergent. Make sure that there’s always more than one bottle on the shelf so that using the last drip from one bottle of detergent doesn’t mean you’ve run out completely. That could put your whole pipetting process on hold.

Keep your percolating and drying air clean

If you know your lab’s compressed air is notorious for gumming up the works, get a 5 micron air filter for your ScrubAir. Compressed air is used to both clean and dry your pipettes, so the filter will keep you from introducing contaminants through your laboratory’s air supply.

Friendly with serological pipettes too

Serological pipette costs quickly add up when you're constantly tossing them into the garbage. Swap in the Serological Pipette Insert to quickly disinfect and reuse pipettes of up to 50 ml.

Take a look at your own pipetting process and see if any of these tips are right for you. If you have questions, you can contact me directly.

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Tue, 31 Jan 2017 04:30:00 4JanCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/smart-pipette-washing-equipment
<![CDATA[Infographic: How to Select a Fume Hood Blower]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-how-to-select-the-right-blower One of the first important steps in laboratory design and hood installation is to select the proper blower and ductwork.

It is important that your components are sized correctly depending on hood size, application, cubic feet per minute (CFM), and the distance that needs to be ducted. A fume removal system works well only if the blower, ductwork and accessories are properly sized. This infographic is designed to make choosing the correct blower and accessories a little easier.

Blower Selection

Select a blower that's designed and manufactured for superior performance and long life when subjected to chemical atmospheres. Blowers are available in sizes that can handle airflow as low as 250 CFM, to blowers that can handle airflow as high as 3500 CFM.

To obtain a greater level of detail, consult the Blowers Catalog for features product data, dimensional drawings and selection guides for all of our blowers. There are three common styles of blowers: Coated Steel, Fiberglass and PVC.

Coated Steel Blowers are recommended for low to moderately corrosive applications, Fiberglass Blowers are used for moderate to highly corrosive conditions, and PVC Blowers are used for perchloric acid and other extremely corrosive atmospheres. Forward curved impellers ensure quiet operation and optimum air delivery.

If you need additional assistance in the selection of blowers, ductwork and accessories, contact a fume hood expert

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Tue, 24 Jan 2017 06:15:00 6JanCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-how-to-select-the-right-blower
<![CDATA[2016 R&D 100 Finalist: Congratulations to our Purifier® Axiom® manufacturing team]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/2016-rd-100-finalist-congratulations In a small, quiet lab, in the back of the Kansas City headquarters of Labconco, a design team labored for two and half years to develop a unique biological safety cabinet (BSC) that is shaking up nearly half a century of lab design dogma. This BSC (the world’s first Class II, type C1) was selected as an R&D100 Awards Finalist. But that’s not the whole story.

When I started with Labconco almost a decade ago, my grandmother asked me, “What does Labconco do?” A tough question to succinctly address.

We support scientific research… We are experts at moving air… We design laboratory equipment. We innovate.

We bend steel.

We build laboratory equipment that serves people—to keep scientists safer—to enable scientific work that may otherwise be impossible—to enable science to make the world a better place for everyone.

The efforts of our purchasing, engineering, metal fabrication and assembly groups resolutely demonstrate Labconco’s support for those who depend on biological safety cabinets to make their work, life and the world safe.

Because that… is what we do.

Congratulations to our entire manufacturing and production teams for exemplary production of the 2016 R&D100 Awards Finalist: The Purifier Axiom. Thank you for your dedication and craftsmanship; without which, this ground-breaking new technology would not be possible.

In the photograph: Standing (left to right) are Eric Swope, Brian Garrett, Francis Sutton, Herb Watts, Harold Davis, Sean Meadors, Jim Hogan and David James. Seated (left to right) are Joshua Mustain, Colton Brockmeier, Daniel Hull (holding plaque) and Larry Streeter. Just some of the many people at Labconco whose work goes into the Axiom. 

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Tue, 10 Jan 2017 05:45:00 5JanCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/2016-rd-100-finalist-congratulations
<![CDATA[Real lab efficiency vs. pipe dreams]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/real-lab-efficiency All too often doing the right thing is unrealistic. Cutting down on wasted energy, wasted time or wasted water would be great, but when it requires a brand new laboratory or a full redesign of your lab space, obtaining the resources to get it done can seem like a Herculean task. 

Refreshingly, this article by Jessica Burdg gives you several smaller, more feasible projects that you can undertake to make your lab less costly and more productive. Some of these suggestions can save hours of wasted time so you can get on to more profitable projects. Others can cut down on your lab's overhead by reducing energy consumption.

Did you realize that using the wrong kind of biosafety cabinet, for instance, can turn an otherwise innocuous procedure into a major drain on the lab's energy bill? Or that washing pipettes with certain popular types of equipment uses 50 times more water than necessary?

Today’s laboratories are hotbeds of innovation, harborers of cutting-edge research and homes of state-of-the-art scientific equipment. They also use a staggering amount of energy in the process, consuming up to five times more energy per square foot than office buildings. The water usage statistics show a similar trend, as labs in university settings in particular often boast some of the highest water consumption figures on campus. What is the root of this struggle?

With a host of strict ventilation requirements, constantly running equipment and no shortage of applications that require water, it’s easy to see why maximizing efficiency in labs has become a priority. Some sustainability-focused organizations, including the U.S. Green Building Council, are promoting change in how buildings like laboratories are constructed, offering incentivized green building certification programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED rankings include...

Read the entire article, "Three Ways to Make Your Lab More Efficient" by Jessica Burdg in Laboratory Equipment's Digital Outlook Magazine for more details.

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Tue, 06 Dec 2016 06:45:00 6DecCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/real-lab-efficiency
<![CDATA[What is ASHRAE 110-2016?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/what-is-ashrae-110-2016 Recently, changes were made to the ASHRAE 110 standard for the first time in twenty years. To best understand them, and why they matter, you must first understand what ASHRAE is.

ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, describes itself as “a global society dedicated to advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment.” This includes building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainability and covers everything from residential and personal vehicle HVAC systems to those in commercial airplanes and, of course, scientific laboratories. Its history dates back to 1894, making it trusted as one of the premier sources for standards, operating practices, research and more within the industry.

One of ASHRAE’s main purposes is to create and publish standards for testing and performance criteria regarding the design and maintenance of indoor environments. Their standards create defined minimum values for accepted performance of a variety of ventilation-related products.

ASHRAE 110 Procedure

ASHRAE Standard 110, or simply ASHRAE 110, explains a method for testing the performance of laboratory fume hoods. Essentially, it outlines a quantitative test procedure for determining the operating capabilities, such as containing and exhausting fumes, of a fume hood. The ASHRAE performance test does not, however, directly correlate to safety of the hood operator. This is due to the large number of variables in hood environment (e.g. cross drafts, hood location or temperature), hood use, and materials in the hood.

ASHRAE 110 has become the standard for testing fume hood containment since its inception in 1985. It is used not only by manufacturers during development and design, but also as an informal criteria for purchasing a fume hood for many labs, and as a method of performance evaluation and certification for fume hoods being installed. It can even be used as a diagnostic tool to identify problems in an existing fume hood/HVAC system installation.

There are three key areas of the standard: face velocity measurement, smoke visualization, and tracer gas containment.

The face velocity measurement requires multiple point readings to determine the average face velocity the fume hood can maintain. It also includes measurement of cross drafts around the hood and calibration of airflow monitors.

The smoke visualization test has procedures for both small volumes and large volumes of smoke to clearly see how the air moves and is contained within the hood. In addition to airflow patterns, the smoke test shows turbulence at the front of the hood caused by the room environment. It can also show how conaminants could escape from the hood, if it is leaking, and reach the operator at various sash heights.

The tracer gas containment testing determines exposure levels based on how many contaminated particles are able to escape the hood and reach the operator's breathing zone. This procedure involves three “static” tests, sash movement effect measurement test, and a perimeter scan. The latter two are optional.

The static placements are three set locations for the ejector, directly in the center of the work surface and 12” in from each side toward the center of the hood. Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) gas is put into the hood through the ejector and then gas analyzers on a mannequin placed at the average height of an operator’s face, known as the “breathing zone,” measure the amount of SF6 in five minute intervals to determine the average escape amount. Three of these tests are done. Each one lasts five minutes and uses four liters per minute of SF6. ASHRAE suggests measuring concentration to 0.01 parts per million (ppm). Labconco uses analyzers that measure to 0.000 ppm for precise understanding of the hood’s containment capability.

The use of SF6 is important due to its uniqueness. Since it is not commonly found in labs, it’s not likely for the sensor to detect it from the environment. Furthermore, it is five times heavier than air so it’s very clearly the gas from the hood during the test. It also behaves consistently so the same test can be run multiple times to reliably get the same result. These unique attributes help to avoid false readings during the test.

ASHRAE 110 Tests

There are three test types, As Manufactured (AM), As Installed (AI) and As Used (AU). AM is done once the hood is built and is generally done in a testing lab where environmental factors are removed as much as possible. AI testing is done once the hood is installed in the lab but before anything is placed inside. This can reveal issues related to how the hood was installed, room operation/location, and other room environment factors. Finally, AU testing is done in the lab with materials (beakers, equipment, etc.) inside the hood. This test takes into account both the room environment and users, and can determine if there is an issue with how it is being operated by comparing the test results to the AI results.

ASHRAE’s goal is for health and safety officers, lab managers and lab technicians to understand the operation of the hood and the safety of it. ASHRAE will not, however, provide a recommendation for the test results. Each lab sets its own acceptable levels for the test results. In addition, some organizations, such as the Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA) provide ratings for acceptable concentration levels of each test. For example, SEFA requires a hood to have an average containment loss of 0.05 ppm or less when tested at four liters per minute of tracer gas used in the AM test, and an average of 0.10 ppm or less for the AI and AU tests, in order to receive the SEFA designation of a low velocity/high performance fume hood.

ASHRAE 110-2016

An updated ASHRAE 110 was approved in April 2016, replacing the previous version from 1995. The latest version includes changes regarding the mannequin height and data collection. The test procedure itself was modified based on committee experience and to clarify statements from the 1995 edition, such as the breathing zone height.

Labconco’s very own Kevin Gilkison, Vice President of Sales Engineering, is one of the co-writers of the standard. He explained the major changes of this update.

The location of the breathing zone was lowered to 22” from the work surface. This was based on research suggesting that the average height of fume hood operators has decreased over the past decade. Gilkison shared this change is particularly important because it creates a more accurate test and therefore can lead to a safer work environment for the operator.

Another key component of the update is that it requires digital collection of data during testing procedures rather than manual data collection. This was previously recommended, but not required. According to Gilkison, this reduces the chance of human error in recording this data. The information-based sections were also significantly lengthened, including expansion of Appendix A and a new, non-mandatory Appendix B that provides guidance on investigating poor fume hood performance. 

For more information on ASHRAE 110 or how Labconco’s fume hoods perform on the test, contact us.

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Thu, 10 Nov 2016 06:15:00 6NovCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/what-is-ashrae-110-2016
<![CDATA[Infographic: Fume Hood Operation DO's & DON'Ts]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-fume-hood-operation-dos-donts Keeping you safe in your laboratory is what we think about every day, so we developed this infographic along with Lab Manager Magazine to help you work safely in your laboratory's fume hoods. These 10 DO's and 10 DON'Ts will make your processes safer for you and others in your lab.

Click to view full infographic

Fume Hood Do's and Don'ts infographic teaser

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Tue, 08 Nov 2016 07:15:00 7NovCST-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-fume-hood-operation-dos-donts
<![CDATA[Labconco makes mammograms possible for women in need]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/labconcos-cart-for-the-cure Cart for the Cure

During our annual Cart for the Cure™ Promotion, our popular Portable Table, painted the official Breast Cancer Awareness Pink color, is sold for $100 off. With each Pink Cart sold, Labconco donates $50 to the Saint Luke’s Foundation.

For the past 5 years, Labconco has partnered with Saint Luke’s Foundation, located in northern Kansas City. We've made a monetary donation each year to Saint Luke’s Foundation/Center for Women’s Care, where they direct those funds to help provide free mammograms to women who cannot afford them. 

In 2014 Labconco was able to present a check to the Saint Luke’s Foundation for $2000.00 and again in 2015, we donated over that amount. That's enough to provide for 20 mammograms for women whom might not have otherwise received one.

We hope to help even more women to obtain the life saving screening this year.

Select a Cart for the Cure for your lab

Cart for the Cure $2000 Donation in 2014, Hogenkamp & Williamson Present

Shirley Hogenkamp (Labconco Marketing Manager) and I presented the check in person and had a wonderful visit with Senior Development Director Jan Kauk, Practice Manager Cinnamon Ramsey and others who work at the Center in 2014. Another article on this site detail our latest work with St. Luke's Foundation as well.

We were given a complete tour of the center and saw the Pink Cart, donated a few years ago, in use. They told us that their pink cart is much loved and often used.

Save $100 and Support Breast Cancer Awareness

Paint one of our Portable Tables pink, and it becomes the Cart for the Cure! October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Labconco wants to help in the fight.

Details

  • From September 1 through November 30, purchase a Cart for the Cure at $100 off the list price. For each cart purchased, Labconco will donate $50 to the Saint Luke’s Foundation, an organization that helps provide mammograms to women who cannot afford them.
  • The Cart for the Cure has all the features of our popular Portable Table, including the sturdy construction, ample shelf space and lifetime guarantee. The 18 gauge welded tubular steel frame is painted the official Breast Cancer Awareness pink. Also included is a pink ribbon identification tag.
  • Price is not inclusive of international taxes or shipping costs to destination.

Select a Cart for the Cure for your lab

Take advantage of this dynamic duo: a discounted price and a donation to a worthy cause. Your purchase will bring you a stand-out cart that aims to help roll breast cancer out of town!

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Tue, 01 Nov 2016 04:30:00 4NovCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/labconcos-cart-for-the-cure
<![CDATA[Labconco's caring spirit makes it Christmas in October]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/labconcos-caring-spirit-makes-it-christmas-in-oc

When 25 Labconco associates and family members converged on our adopted home just a few miles from Labconco corporate headquarters on Saturday, October 1, 2016, the sunny, warm weather, could not have been a more appropriate metaphor for the feeling of doing something good for our community. We came together to help Ron, a 74-year old veteran who was living alone when he broke his ankle and required prolonged hospital care. His home needed help he couldn’t physically accomplish nor financially afford.

Labconco people care. We volunteer and give back to our hometown because we know being good neighbors makes a difference in our community. Christmas in October is just one heartwarming example. Since 1991 and every year since, Labconco associates have participated in this worthy cause.

This Kansas City volunteer organization, started 33 years ago, has allowed needy families, the elderly, the disabled and veterans live in safety, warmth and dignity. Through its Adopt-A-House program, Christmas in October rehabilitates 350-400 homes every year.

Labconco associates and their families helping a community member

Mark Schmitz, our Christmas in October leader for several years, made all the preparations before the big day. Throughout the summer while Ron was hospitalized, Mark put his engineering expertise to work as he inspected the home for needed repairs. A new ramp to the front door, yard clean up, rotted trim replacement and house painting topped the list. Mark and his son Matthew spent a day building a ramp to Ron’s front door. Then the home was now ready for us to do the rest.

Many hands make light work. Our team cleaned the gutters, repaired the back stoop, scraped and painted the faded house, and removed excess foliage. Labconco associate Lesley McMillin commented, “It’s fun getting to know my co-workers better. And with such a big group working, it is great to see such a huge improvement in a short period of time for a person who needs it.”

Kevin Conley agreed. “Doing something good for our neighbors and being with my colleagues outside of work are what keeps me coming back every year.”

Labconco teaming up for Christmas in October 2016

After his first year working at Christmas in October, Scott Hamm added, “It was well organized and supported. I had a blast working on the house knowing that we were helping someone who truly needed it. When we finished, you could clearly see the results. It had a huge impact on the structure and surrounding environment.”

In the end, we provided an attractive home for the neighborhood and a safer home for Ron, while we left with a feeling of accomplishment and happy hearts. I’m ready for next year.

Thank you to our Labconco 2016 Christmas in October Participants:

  • Kevin Blood
  • Jeff and Ella Carlson
  • Kevin Conley
  • Kellie Franklin
  • Kevin Gilkison
  • Scott Hamm
  • Brent Hartwich
  • Brian Hays
  • Sue and Dave Herriman
  • Shirley and Dennis Hogenkamp
  • Adam Keithley
  • Nathan Ladd
  • Lesley and Ryan McMillin
  • Austin and Arielle Orme
  • Joe Reichert
  • Jacob Riedel
  • Mark Schmitz
  • Tom Schwaller
  • Jeff Stanton
  • Mick Thompson
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Thu, 27 Oct 2016 06:15:00 6OctCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/labconcos-caring-spirit-makes-it-christmas-in-oc
<![CDATA[Video: Programming the CApture BT]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/video-programming-the-capture-bt To get clear, reliable results every time, it's important that your CA fuming chamber is easy to use. This programming video demonstrates how to get full control over the factors that can affect the outcome of your latent fingerprint fixing process. 

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Mon, 24 Oct 2016 06:15:00 6OctCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/video-programming-the-capture-bt
<![CDATA[Does lab equipment longevity really matter?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/does-lab-equipment-longevity-really-matter The purpose of some laboratory equipment is relatively straightforward. Like many of our competitors, the products in our catalog offer protection for personnel, products, and environments as required by application and to make laboratory spaces more versatile and efficient.

There's something else, though—something Labconco has not forgotten in all our 91 years of engineering and manufacturing the products that fill university teaching labs, forensic science facilities, clean rooms and more: Science is about people, and our job is to empower those people with the tools they need to excel. You see, it's not just about our work—it's about the important work of our extended family of customers.

We take this responsibility seriously, which is why we've long been committed to a manufacturing process that prioritizes quality. In many cases, our equipment even becomes obsolete before it fails. Take, for instance, one scientist’s experience with a laboratory cart that even outlasted its facility and found a new home in an old friend’s shop. We’re talking about Gene McGough, and you can read his story here: Laboratory Cart 604: A Love Story.

Lyophilizer Longevity

Laboratory carts aren't our only products that have long lives—not by a long shot. For example, in 2013, we set out in search of the oldest, still functional freeze dryer so we could learn its story (and offer its home lab a new FreeZone® Freeze Dryer, glassware credit, PrimeMate™ Oil Change System, and Mini Stoppering Chamber for humoring us). We were most impressed by the winning submission below from Mr. Kush Shah from Texas A&M. The unit was so old that we could no longer track the serial number, but Mr. Shah was still pleased with its operation.

"Our freeze dryer has been well maintained with pride and care by our lab members and operates perfectly... We will use the newly acquired equipment to perform cutting edge research in the field of nanotechnology and drug delivery," he told us.

There were numerous entries that received honorable mention, such as the one submitted by Sushma Trehan of Physical Optics Corp.

"I have used Labconco Freeze Dryers 'til they go obsolete. I want to use them 'til I go obsolete. I still have a few productive years left," she shared with us.

Final Thoughts

Now, there certainly are instances when antique lab equipment is simply too old to use, especially when containment is of utmost importance. All in all, though, we’re just glad that when we say you can count on us, you know that we can offer you equipment that will honor our word. That’s a very good feeling. 

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Thu, 20 Oct 2016 05:30:00 5OctCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/does-lab-equipment-longevity-really-matter
<![CDATA[VIDEO: Why you shouldn't hand wash laboratory glassware]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/video-why-you-shouldnt-hand-wash-lab-glass Have you ever thought that washing glassware by hand in your laboratory seems a little old-fashioned? It's inefficient and unsafe. Hand washed glassware can contaminate your process and even skew results. And the hand washing process wastes water and time while presenting unnecessary safety hazards. 

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Tue, 18 Oct 2016 06:45:00 6OctCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/video-why-you-shouldnt-hand-wash-lab-glass
<![CDATA[Laboratory Cart 604: A Love Story]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/laboratory-cart-604-a-love-story In December of 1957, Gene McGough was interviewing for his job in a laboratory at the former Potash Company of America (PCA). A Labconco laboratory cart labeled 604 sat next to him, laden with 500 mL flasks. He got the job. Six months later, Gene bought a Jaguar XK-150. Two weeks after that, he was married—another love story for another time.

Photo: Gene's Kids with Jaguar, Courtesy of Gene McGough

Gene used Cart 604 throughout his six-year stint with PCA, often logging his hours with the cart by his side and the car in the lot. He eventually moved on to other career opportunities. Still, when he heard PCA had closed their operations and had plans to demolish his old laboratory, he knew he had to go back and rescue what he could.

Gene managed to save Cart 604 along with some other antique items. Cart 604, though, wasn’t built to collect dust. Neither was Gene.

Cart 604 has seen better days

Photo: Cart 604, Courtesy of Gene McGough

After he lubricated the casters and removed the side rails for cleaning, he spent two weeks on a mission of trial and error to find the correct positions for each of Cart 604’s pieces. Because the holes were individually hand-drilled, each rail was unique. He was successful.

Both Gene and Cart 604 continue to work to this day—only this time, they have a new project. Gene’s rescued, mostly-original Cart 604 now sits in his workshop, holding tools to help him restore his truly antique, powder blue Jaguar.

Cart with Jaguar parts

Photo: Cart 604 with Jaguar and parts, Courtesy of Gene McGough

Gene reports Cart 604 has survived the years better than his beloved car. But if his history of successful restoration is any indication, that Jaguar is sure to be purring in no time.

I want my pink Cart for the Cure

Cart for the Cure is a special, limited edition model of our popular Portable Table laboratory cart. It has all the great features of our standard Portable Table, except the 18 gauge welded tubular steel frame boasts the official Breast Cancer Awareness pink color!

For three months a year, from September through November, Cart for the Cure is sold at $100 off, and for each one sold, Labconco will donate $50.00 to the St. Luke's Foundation to help provide free mammograms to women who can't afford them.

 
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Mon, 10 Oct 2016 07:15:00 7OctCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/laboratory-cart-604-a-love-story
<![CDATA[Racing and Curing: Labconco's Race for the Cure Tradition]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/racing-and-curing-labconcos-race-for-the-cure-tr What does tradition feel like? I’ve come to the age where I think a lot about traditions in my life… the things that my parents, my sisters and I ALWAYS did when I was a kid, those things that built anticipation when I knew the calendar was closing in, the memories that remained afterwards, the joy we share now talking about those times in the past. I think about things my own family does now that I hope are creating joyous memories for my own children.

I think about participating in the Race for the Cure as part of the Labconco Team over the past 5-6 years and what an absolute treasure chest of memories it holds for me. I’m blessed to be part of a company who values giving back to our community and also fosters a way for those of us who desire to do so, the ability to work together as a team in that act of giving back. Whether the Labconco Team is running in the race or working at the water station to serve H2O to weary runners, we are doing it together, as a team, just like everything else we do at Labconco. 

What a rush. What a ride. What a thrill. What a joy. What a pleasure it is to work with such great people every day and then hang out with them on an early Sunday morning to set up Water Station #3.

Diane Williamson, our unwavering leader for this event every year since we started participating, had us whipped into shape bright and early. Our station was set up, cups arranged, laid out, prepped, filled and layered with ample time to spare. She has turned this into a world-class serving system and conducts herself with class and grace, just like she does with our customers each and every day. 

Every Labconco team member who was there that morning served the racers with the same level of highest-tier service that I witness every day in our office environment as they go about serving our “paying customers.” You could hear it in their voices as they evaluated the race route on the map, as they tried to determine the best way to lay out the serving tables and the best places for us to stand to get the most water to the most runners in the least amount of time—without hampering the stride and pace of the runners. They even evaluated the optimal way to lay out the trash bins to leave the smallest amount of litter on the streets after we were done.

I’m thrilled just to have been there and to be part of a group of people who are truly there to serve to the best of their ability. It is more than just “Meh, I’m here to toss some cups of water at people.” They are there to give from their heart… above and beyond.

You never know what you’re going to get when it comes to race day weather. Welcome to the Midwest. We’ve had race mornings that were cold and rainy (which makes it very hard to give away water, let me tell you from experience), and mornings like we had this year, when we are a bit on the warmer side… with a water station on the sunny side of the race route, on the incline of a hill. I guess that made us the luckiest water station on the route because we were everyone’s best friends that morning. They were all glad to see us and very glad to accept our cups of dihydrogen monoxide.

Once the race kicks into high gear and the pace runners have zoomed past us at their 4-minute mile pace, the masses of people start to descend upon us and it really starts hopping. It’s amazing how quickly 10,000 people can go by, but it is so fun to engage with the runners, have fun with them as they enjoy race day and the costumes that dot the race route, cheer with those who cheer, chant with those who chant, sing with those who sing. We didn’t have the pleasure of being near a live band this year, so thankfully we had a Bluetooth speaker nearby to pump tunes from an iPod for us. It kept us jamming for the whole morning.

Race for the Cure is such a fun event. I'm proud of my family that participates with me, and to be a part of the tradition that it has become. They have a great time joining in and being a part of something with my larger Labconco family, all together for a great cause on a great day. We look forward to it every year, and already I cannot wait for next year.

I want my pink Cart for the Cure

Cart for the Cure is a special, limited edition model of our popular Portable Table laboratory cart. It has all the great features of our standard Portable Table, except the 18 gauge welded tubular steel frame boasts the official Breast Cancer Awareness pink color! For three months a year, from September through November, Cart for the Cure is sold at $100 off, and for each one sold, Labconco will donate $50.00 to the St. Luke's Foundation to help provide free mammograms to women who can't afford them.

 
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Thu, 29 Sep 2016 06:30:00 6SepCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/racing-and-curing-labconcos-race-for-the-cure-tr
<![CDATA[93 year old Yale building gets over 150 new ClassMate fume hoods]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/93-year-old-yale-building-gets-150-new-classmate Yale's Sterling Chemistry Lab was recently renovated to create a space for the students of today. Those transformations were recently unveiled, and will allow chemistry, physics and biology students to work in a 159,000 square foot updated space.

Among the changes for the 93-year-old building are the addition of over 150 Protector ClassMate® Fume Hoods in the teaching chemistry lab spaces.

The building, seeking LEED Gold certification, went through a major overhaul to update everything from electrical to ventilation in order to provide a modern space for scientific discovery. 

Find out more in the original YaleNews article, "Sterling Chemistry Lab reopens as a catalyst for cutting-edge science" by Jim Shelton

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Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:39:00 10SepCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/93-year-old-yale-building-gets-150-new-classmate
<![CDATA[A well-engineered success story: KU's expansion project]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/ku-expansion-lab Excerpts only: The full original article, "A well-engineered success story" by Jessica Burdg was published in Lab Design News on August 17, 2016. 

The University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence is a school known for its commitment to students, faculty and the community. Thanks to a recently completed expansion project, the School of Engineering is now better able to fulfill that commitment to its current and future engineering and computing students and faculty. The $105 million dollar project added 185,000 square feet of new construction and renovated existing structures to become a truly well-engineered success story for the university.

Graduating Game Changers

The success of its academic programs has never been an enrollment-only numbers game for KU. Nonetheless, KU Engineering’s goal was to increase the number of engineering graduates by more than 60 percent by 2021.

"You can increase enrollments all you want, but the School of Engineering took a different approach," Professor Robert Parsons, Director of Construction for the Engineering Expansion Project, said. "KU looked at these numbers and said, 'yes, we need to do more.' We want to support our students so they have everything they need to succeed and feel at home here."

That attitude, Parsons said, helps with both recruitment and retention.

Michael S. Branicky, KU's Dean of Engineering since 2013, said he believes the overarching goal of this project was to help graduates continue to go on to be leaders and innovators who affect the state, the country and the world.

"We have KU graduates everywhere from the aerospace industry to the headquarters of Uber. It's this real world notion that you're both learning and learning for a purpose," Branicky said. "For that, we know we need excellent faculty and an excellent facility."

. . . . 

Great lab space by Treanor Architects

Design Delivers New Collaborative Learning Spaces and State of the Art Laboratories

The first phase of the project, the construction of the Measurement, Materials and Sustainable Environment Center (M2SEC), was primarily funded by a grant from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) with a goal of promoting thematically based projects like materials characterization, sustainable building practices and alternative fuels research. Today, the building is a hotbed for innovation, including two "living walls" that monitor environmental change and a space to grow algae on the roof so that it can be compressed and refined to produce biofuels.

. . . .

Completed in Fall 2015, another critical component to the engineering expansion was the construction of the Learned Hall Engineering Expansion Phase 2 (LEEP2) building, which was built as a literal and figurative bridge between the existing engineering facility and the newly constructed M2SEC building.

LEEP2 boasts six active learning classrooms that hold 60 to 160 students. In these innovative spaces, students are engaged in small groups or complete collaborative work more often, thanks in part to a commitment to eliminate tiered or sloped floor classrooms like those often seen in traditional lecture halls...  

. . . .

Besides classrooms, LEEP2 has a number of teaching laboratories—over 11,500 square feet of them, to be exact—including spaces specialized for instrumentation, environmental engineering, building thermal science and more. Nearly 17,000 square feet is dedicated to research laboratories, such as those for analytical chemistry and bioengineering. LEEP2's laboratories feature a variety of state of the art laboratory equipment, including 34 Protector XStream High Efficiency Fume Hoods.

. . . .

Technology at work at KU Expansion Lab

Overcoming Challenges

Like any laboratory design or construction project, the KU Engineering Expansion did not come without its unique set of challenges. For instance, LEEP2 is sandwiched between three existing buildings—including the recently completed M2SEC. A key challenge of the design team was to join all these spaces to produce a cohesive environment that had adequate natural light.

. . . .

A Sustainable, Welcoming Space

LEEP2 adds something else already prevalent among the many buildings across KU's campus: efficiency. The university mandates that their facilities exceed ASHRAE 90.1, and this project did by a minimum of 30 percent. To satisfy this goal, LEEP2 employs the use of heat recovery chillers, energy recovery systems, low VOC adhesives and paints, and a rainwater collection system that pipes fresh water into restrooms.

. . . .

"Prospective students and faculty come in and they see the facilities, the research labs that are very hood-intensive but also very reconfigurable, and they want to stay here," Dean Branicky said. "We've been able to recruit people specifically because of the quality of the laboratory space."

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Tue, 20 Sep 2016 05:00:00 5SepCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/ku-expansion-lab
<![CDATA[Freeze dryer accessories make life (and lyo!) easier]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/freeze-dryer-accessories-make-lyo-easier Freeze drying, or lyophilization, is a time consuming process that can be easy or difficult depending on the sample type, sample size and requirements. Using accessories designed for specific samples and challenging applications helps make lyophilizing these samples easier.

Accessories for Stoppering Under Vacuum

When samples are stoppered under vacuum, their shelf life is increased dramatically. Placing airtight seals on the vials before they are exposed to the atmosphere where they can absorb moisture keeps the samples drier. Stoppering under vacuum is determined by your quantity and budget. There are three choices, and deciding which to use depends on the size and number of samples you have.

The first option is a stoppering tray dryer. Although they require a substantial investment, stoppering tray dryers can handle large quantities of samples and offer sophisticated programming capabilities. The FreeZone® Stoppering Tray Dryer has three temperature-controlled shelves (-40° C to +40° C) with 588 square inches of area on which to place samples, which can hold up to four hundred 2 ml serum bottles.

The second option, less expensive than the first, is a stoppering chamber or shelf, which connects to the collector like a drying chamber. Essentially, it is a clear chamber with two heated shelves (+40° C) that provide 158 square inches of area. The Clear Stoppering Chamber has a handle that, when turned, applies pressure to the shelves, collapsing them onto one another and pushing the stoppers into the vials. It holds fewer samples than the FreeZone Stoppering Tray Dryer and uses a more manual process, but the Clear Stoppering Chamber makes sense if your stoppering needs are infrequent or on a smaller scale.

The smallest and most economical accessory for stoppering under vacuum is the Mini Stoppering Chamber. This small chamber connects directly to the valve of a drying chamber or manifold like a flask. It has an area of approximately 18 square inches and is ideal for very small sample sizes or just a few samples that need to be stoppered. It accommodates small bottles and has a capacity of up to forty-eight 2 milliliter bottles or eight 30 milliliter serum bottles. Paired with an isolation valve and a clean bench, the Mini Stoppering Chamber can make stoppering under vacuum in a sterile environment easy.

Accessories to Prevent Sample Melt Back

Unfortunately, sample melt back occurs frequently with several common sample types. The best way to prevent sample melt back is to limit the heat transferring into the sample. This is difficult when freeze drying in a flask, as the heat input is essentially the room temperature that cannot be easily regulated.

Labconco offers Flask Holders that insulate a sample by holding a sample flask inside a larger flask. This creates an even air gap around the sample flask and slows the heat transfer from the room air to the sample.

Alternate options to avoid sample melt back are to insulate the sample container with other materials. A flask can be wrapped with any sort of insulating material, such as packing foam, to create a barrier between the sample and room atmosphere. For samples in a tube, simply place the tube in a flask, fill the flask with water and freeze the entire flask. This creates an insulation of ice all the way around your sample that will lyophilize with your sample.

Freeze Dryer Attachments for Ampules

An Ampule Pod for use with FreeZone Freeze DryersAmpules are glass tubes that are made for very small samples that will be heat sealed under vacuum. Traditionally, ampules are used for long-term storage making it critical they are sealed under vacuum. Due to their size, special accommodations must be taken when connecting them to the collector and it is difficult to lyophilize large numbers of samples at the same time.  

An Ampule Valve Adapter allows a single ampule to be connected directly to a single valve. The Three Way Adapter allows three ampules to be connected to a single valve.

A new option is an Ampule Pod (pictured at right), which connects to a valve and has separate tubes that hold ampules allowing 15 ampules to be freeze dried at once!

Microplates in Freeze Dryers

Samples in microplates can be difficult to freeze dry. Because of their very small size (<1 ml), they are prone to melt back during transfer from the freezer to the freeze dryer and when establishing deep vacuum levels.

Labconco’s new Microwell Plate Holder can help! The molded aluminum block provides a solid mass for better temperature regulation and conduction. The design eliminates the air gap between the bottom of the plate and the freeze dryer’s shelves ensuring good heat conduction throughout the run and reducing the run time. By pre-freezing the entire block, there is more mass around the samples, which insulates and keeps them frozen until reaching deep vacuum.

Accessories for Pre-freezing Flasks

Freezing a sample in a flask at an angle has several advantages over freezing a sample in an upright flask (stub freezing).

The Slant Freeze Flask Holder keeps liquid samples at an angle when pre-freezing. Because liquid expands when freezing, the angled sample puts less pressure on the flask than stub freezing to help prevent the glass from breaking. It also allows for faster freeze drying by increasing the surface area and putting more of the sample in contact with the glass for better heat transfer.

Each freeze drying sample type presents unique challenges, but the right accessories can make the job easier. Labconco is here to help you find solutions to your freeze drying dilemmas.

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Tue, 13 Sep 2016 06:00:00 6SepCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/freeze-dryer-accessories-make-lyo-easier
<![CDATA[Press Release: Axiom biosafety cabinet honored as a finalist for R&D 100 Awards for Innovation]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/press-release-axiom-biosafety-cabinet-honored-as P R E S S     R E L E A S E

For release: August 31, 2016

"Never innovate to compete, innovate to change the rules of the game." -David O. Adeife

Kansas City, MO--Since its release in June 2015, the Purifier® Axiom® —a Class II, Type C1 biological safety cabinet that can function in either Type A or Type B mode—has made waves in laboratory spaces across the country (like this one at Creighton University).  Now, this Type C1 cabinet has been named as one of 100 finalists for the 2016 R&D Awards, an annual event that honors the most innovative technologies of the year.

The list of finalists for what is sometimes called the "Oscars of Innovation" is compiled by over 50 independent judges, many hailing from leading national laboratories and top R&D companies. The selection process is stringent, and the list of finalists includes heavy hitters such as Dow Oil, Gas and Mining, General Motors Research and Development Center, Agilent Technologies and many more.

The Axiom was recognized in the Mechanical Devices/Materials category. The full list of categories for the 54th annual R&D 100 Awards includes Software/Services, IT/Electrical and Green Tech, and many others. Winners in all categories will be announced at a gala to be held November 3 in Washington D.C.

Why the Axiom?

Until now, microbiological laboratories have had to choose between Class II, Type A2 or Class II, Type B2 biosafety cabinets to meet their personnel, product and environmental protection needs. While application and protection considerations have not changed, something else has—the options for selecting a cabinet. Because the Axiom is an entirely new type of Class II biosafety cabinet, it can function in either Type A or Type B mode, saving money, time and energy in the process.

Wondering what makes it work? It has a lot to do with airflow—and a lot do with the perseverance of the team of user-first designers and engineers at Labconco.

Senior Products Engineer Jim Hunter and Product Manager Brian Garrett, two of the brains behind what's been appropriately dubbed the BSC no-brainer, have spoken in the past about the challenges of developing an entirely new type of biosafety cabinet. Since R&D's list of finalists was released in August of 2016, though, they've had to prepare an altogether new type of statement: one of acknowledgement of their team's success.

"The Axiom challenges many of the preconceptions of what a biosafety cabinet should be; it is far more flexible in its installation, either connected to an exhaust system or not," Hunter said. "And, for the first time, the BSC takes an active role in protecting the user, even in the event of an exhaust system failure."

Garrett added that the goal of the project was to add flexibility to laboratory spaces while increasing safety in the industry for scientists doing all kinds of important work in the field.

"It's an incredibly big deal to be going up against the gorillas of innovation and invention in our space, and we're proud of what our team was able to accomplish," he said. 

Learn more about the Purifier Axiom

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Mon, 05 Sep 2016 14:06:00 14SepCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/press-release-axiom-biosafety-cabinet-honored-as
<![CDATA[Cart for the Cure: Keep on rolling!]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/keep-on-rolling Promotions are always great, but when they support a charitable cause, they’re all the better! Each fall Labconco does just that with Cart for the Cure™. This will be our sixth year running this promotion and we couldn’t be happier.

To create the Cart, we chose the official Breast Cancer Awareness pink to paint our Labconco Portable Table. In our Fort Scott, KS facility where these carts are manufactured, the entire paint line from the booth to the hoses to the air handling system is emptied and cleaned before being filled with the pink paint. Each Cart for the Cure’s 18-gauge welded tubular steel frame then receives its glowing, pink coat. The paint line’s whole draining and cleaning process is repeated when the pink is removed. Because of this, the carts are produced in large batches to limit the number of times the paint colors must be changed. Luckily, our new paint system drastically reduces the time required for the process.

I want my Pink Cart for the Cure

 
A large batch of pink "Carts for the Cure" on the Labconco Fort Scott, KS paint line

The cart includes all of the features of our Portable Table – sturdy steel construction, two open shelves, ergonomic molded plastic handle grips and a lifetime guarantee. Each shelf runs the full length and width of the cart for more than 625 square inches of storage space per shelf! The final touch is a pink ribbon identification tag to hang from the frame to ensure everyone knows the meaning behind the cart.

How it works: Donations and savings

Labconco donates $50 for each cart purchased to the Saint Luke’s Foundation. When we began this journey, the donation went to the Spelman Medical Foundation, so when Spelman merged with the Saint Luke’s Foundation on January 1, 2013, we continued our commitment. These organizations do great work to provide health information and services to uninsured and underinsured women as well as seniors. They are particularly focused on breast and ovarian cancer and provide mammograms to women who cannot afford them.

Furthermore, for three months during the fall, usually September through November, Labconco offers an extra incentive. To bring more awareness to breast cancer from the month before until the month after the national (U.S.) Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), the cart’s list price is lowered by $100. The $50 donation continues year-round. Many of our dealers participate and share the promotion as well, allowing us to see continued growth in the popularity of this wonderful promotion.

Within Labconco, we have a Pink Cart Team to promote Cart for the Cure and manage internal fundraisers including food sales and raffles during the months of the promotion. We also participate in the Race for the Cure put on by Susan G. Komen of Greater Kansas City. At the end of each year, Labconco presents the full donation to the Saint Luke’s Foundation.

I want my Pink Cart for the Cure

For more information on Cart for the Cure, contact Labconco. Please help us spread the word about this dynamic promotion that offers money savings and a donation to a worthy cause!

Cart for the Cure Donation 2016, based on 2015 sales
Most recent Cart for the Cure donation
Diane Williamson, Labconco Sr. Application Specialist, and Kelly Williams, Labconco Product Manager, met with Jan Kauk, Saint Luke’s Sr. Director of Development, and other members of their staff to present the check.

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Tue, 30 Aug 2016 06:15:00 6AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/keep-on-rolling
<![CDATA[On-demand webinar: Safe alternatives to the traditional ducted fume hood]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/on-demand-webinar-safe-alternatives-to-the-tradi In concjunction with Lab Manager Magazine and Erlab, Labconco presents this on-demand webinar. We define the various ductless hoods currently available, explaining advantages and disadvantages of "going ductless." We also discuss criteria for selecting a ductless or filtered fume hood, appropriate uses for them, and we present case studies where filtered technology has been successfully implemented.

Originally broadcast August 16, 2016
 

Watch the archived video at On24

Ductless and filtered fume hoods can be a reliable, energy efficient, cost effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional ducted fume hoods. Traditional ducted hoods are one of the largest energy wasters in most laboratories; they require costly mechanical components to operate properly and rapidly pass valuable tempered air out of your facility. Ductless and filtered solutions can lower energy costs while providing a safe environment to work with hazardous chemicals when properly implemented.

You will learn:

  • How to significantly lower energy costs
  • Advantages and disadvantages of using ductless and filtered fume hoods
  • How to select the right ductless or filtered hood for your application
  • Appropriate applications for ductless vs. ducted hoods in your lab

Presenters:

Beth Mankameyer
Sales Engineer, Chemical Fume Hoods
Labconco Corp.

Ken Crooks
Director of GreenFumeHood Filtration Technology
Erlab

 

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Tue, 30 Aug 2016 05:15:00 5AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/on-demand-webinar-safe-alternatives-to-the-tradi
<![CDATA[Lyophilization, evaporation or concentration: Which is best for my samples?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/lyophilization-concentration-or-evaporation-whic Lyophilization, vacuum evaporation and nitrogen blow-down evaporation are all methods to reduce sample volume; however, each method involves a different process and affects samples differently. It is important to identify which evaporation method is most appropriate for your sample in order to identify the right specific equipment to use.

Lyophilization, evaporation and concentration cause liquid or solid molecules to undergo phase changes, resulting in aqueous or solvent molecules leaving the sample as a vapor. The main force that drives the phase change is heat energy. The best evaporation method for a sample is mainly determined by how much heat the sample can withstand.

Forces that Catalyze Evaporation

lyophilization equipmentIf a sample is not affected by heat, simply place the sample on a hot plate and let it boil until the sample volume is reduced to the desired level. Unfortunately, most samples are affected by heat, with biological samples being the most sensitive. In heat sensitive samples, the amount of heat driving the phase change must be limited or the sample will be damaged. When heat is limited, other forces must be used to drive molecules through the phase change instead.

Applying a vacuum atmosphere is a common technique used to force molecules through the phase change during evaporation or lyophilization. Boiling points of liquids are greatly reduced under vacuum, so phase changes occur at lower temperatures and less heat input is required. As a result, vacuum concentration or lyophilization are the most optimal methods for biological or heat sensitive samples.

Another technique that expedites the phase change of solvents is introducing a nitrogen stream at the surface of samples. The nitrogen stream disrupts the balance between the liquid and vapor phase and encourages the molecules to move into the vaporous phase. As a general rule, nitrogen blow down evaporation requires a higher heat input than vacuum evaporation. Because of this, nitrogen blow down evaporation is commonly used for volatile solvents or samples that are not damaged at moderate temperatures.

Lyophilization (Also Know as Freeze Drying)

Lyophilizers use deep vacuum (< .200 mbar) and heat to remove moisture from a sample. The drying process, or phase change, in lyophilization is unique and is called sublimation. In sublimation, molecules go directly from the solid phase (ice) to a gaseous phase (vapor) without passing through the liquid phase.  Lyophilization requires a frozen sample.  If the sample’s freezing point is suppressed by the presence of solvents, the solvents should be removed with vacuum concentration prior to lyophilization so that the sample can then be frozen solid.

By circumventing the liquid phase in sublimation, the biological viability of many samples is preserved. This makes lyophilization a unique type of evaporation as it also preserves biological samples.

View Lyophilizers

Vacuum Concentration/Evaporation

In vacuum concentration/evaporation, the sample is dried by converting liquid to vapor. Vacuum concentrators and evaporators take the liquid sample to 99% dryness in a relatively short amount of time and can accommodate most samples regardless of their freezing or boiling point.

Vacuum concentrators and evaporators are commonly used in sample preparation, and use centrifugal force, heat and vacuum to remove moisture from a sample. What makes concentrators different from evaporators is how the centrifugal force is generated and how the heat is supplied to the sample.

In a vacuum concentrator, samples are held in a rotor that spins at 1700 RPM creating a centrifugal force.  The centrifugal force prevents liquids from bumping out of the tube when vacuum is applied. Heat is applied indirectly through the walls of the vacuum chamber.

A vortex evaporator uses centrifugal force, heat and vacuum to remove moisture from a sample. Unlike the spinning motion of a vacuum concentrator, the vortex evaporator creates a vortex motion within the sample container so that centrifugal force holds the sample into its container while vacuum is applied to the liquid sample. Without an opposing force to hold the sample into its container, it would “bump,” or splatter out of its container. Vortex motion, washes the analyte (analyzed material) down the sidewalls of the glassware, increasing the recovery of the analytes being tested. In vortex evaporation, heat is applied directly into a sample through a block that holds the sample.

View Vacuum Concentrators

Nitrogen Blow-Down Evaporation

Nitrogen blow-down evaporators use heat and a nitrogen stream to evaporate moisture from a sample. Evaporation rates can be increased if a vortex motion is created to increase the surface area of the sample. Dry block heaters are commonly used in these evaporators and offer many advantages over water baths.

View Nitrogen Blow Down Evaporators

Use the Lab Evaporation Scout™ to determine the perfect model for your needs.

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Thu, 25 Aug 2016 07:30:00 7AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/lyophilization-concentration-or-evaporation-whic
<![CDATA[How many trees are there in a grove?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/how-many-trees-are-there-in-a-grove A single large tree can produce enough clean oxygen to support four people, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. So the answer is simple: There can never be too many.

But what if you planted an entire forest?

With the help of the Arbor Day Foundation, Labconco has planted 725 trees as part of our commitment to our environment and to expanding sustainable building practices. And we aren’t finished yet. For every Protector® Echo™ or Airo™ Filtered Fume Hood your laboratory invests in, Labconco will plant another grove of trees. 

Planting trees is our way of doubling the positive environmental impact that your laboratory makes when you put a filtered hood where a traditional hood may have otherwise gone. Much like a tree converting CO2 into oxygen, filtered fume hoods turn chemically contaminated air into clean, life-sustaining air.

Other environmental benefits

For some laboratory applications, filtered hoods are the best way to save energy as well. Since standard fume hoods pump your heated or air-conditioned air out of the building, they’re often the largest energy drain (and the largest utility expense) for organizations that support a scientific lab. That’s another way filtered fume hoods help your lab leave a much smaller carbon footprint while lowering energy bills.

A fume hood expert can tell you how a filtered fume hood would affect your laboratory, your environment and your budget.

Ask a fume hood expert

Labconco is a U.S. Green Building Council member, and Our Green Initiatives include planting a fume hood forest and our LEED program for environmental, energy efficient design.

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Tue, 23 Aug 2016 05:45:00 5AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/how-many-trees-are-there-in-a-grove
<![CDATA[The good, the bad and the ugly of UV light usage in a Class II BSC]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/2-uv-lamp-rules For decades, germicidal UV lamps have been used in Class II Biological Safety Cabinets. The purpose is to keep a biosafety cabinet’s interior clean when not in use. Many researchers swear by the use of their UV lamp and would never consider owning or buying an enclosure without one. Others believe UV lamps provide a false sense of security or don’t see the merit in a UV lamp (such as the NIH). Germicidal lamps utilize UVc radiation (typically at 254 nm wavelength). This energy is very good at doing a specific task, but it’s a poor broad spectrum decontaminant, and here is why:

The Good:UVc is a recommended accessory for your BSC or laminar flow bench when working with cell cultures, PCR or other genetic materials because UVc radiation is efficient at breaking up chemical bonds and denaturing DNA and RNA. Under prolonged exposure, these chemical changes lead to dysfunctional genetic material and eventual cell death.

The Bad: Germicidal lamps use low energy radiation—so low that the waves are incapable of penetrating barriers or of reflecting from most surfaces. This simply means that for UV lamps to be effective, the target MUST be in direct line of sight with the light source. This is bad if you are using a germicidal lamp as the primary decontaminant in your lab’s culture enclosure. However, for those folks populating the lab or standing outside of the enclosure with nothing but a sheet of glass between them and the blue tube of light, this is a good thing. It means that sheet of glass is more than sufficient to block you from becoming irradiated.

The Ugly: Use of a UV lamp for the purpose of primary decontamination is rampant, as is the frequency of cross contamination. True, cross contamination can be caused by a number of factors – but experience shows that labs utilizing UV lamps as the only means of “cleaning” their BSC have a higher prevalence of such issues.

Two simple rules for using UV lamps

1.     If you are using “naked” DNA / RNA or performing PCR... UV lamps are excellent at rendering these materials harmless.

2.     If you are doing anything else with biological material… do not rely on UV lamps alone to keep your work area clean. ALWAYS wipe down exposed surfaces with a proper decontaminant PRIOR to turning on the UV lamp. ALWAYS wipe down exposed surfaces with a proper decontamination AFTER turning off the UV lamp.

 

Learn about the new Type C1 biosafety cabinet. It does the work of an A2 and a B2 at a lower cost of ownership.

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Tue, 16 Aug 2016 04:15:00 4AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/2-uv-lamp-rules
<![CDATA[How long will it take to freeze dry my samples?]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/how-long-will-it-take-to-freeze-dry-my-samples Lyophilization protocols and methods with FreeZone Freeze Dryers for best results.

People in the lab often contact us with the seemingly germane question, “How long will it take to freeze dry my samples?” We wish we could give a definitive answer to this question, however the answer we have to give is: It depends. Given the numerous potential applications and conditions, the length of the freeze dry process will vary.

The majority of laboratory samples will lyophilize in 24 to 48 hours but there are certainly exceptions.

The freeze drying process is dependent on a variety of factors that determine the amount of time the freeze drying process requires.

Sample type

The freezing temperature (eutectic point) of the sample and the presence of salts, sugars, or solvents will influence the length of time required to lyophilize successfully. A low freezing point sample or one that is susceptible to melt back, will require a longer lyophilization cycle.

Sample size

The more volume to lyophilize, the longer the freeze dry run.

Flask size

Spreading a sample out over a greater surface area allows more contact for heat input and shortens the distance in which the drying front has to move through the sample. As a general rule, freeze dry flasks should be filled to only one-third of their total volume.

How the sample was frozen

Faster pre-freezing rates, result in the formation of small ice crystals. Small ice crystals generally require longer freeze drying runs. When samples have small ice crystals, the cake that is formed in subl

imation, is less porous and harder for water molecules to move through. This slows the sublimation rate.

Following proper lyophilIization protocols and methods can help ensure the best results.

Freeze dry system

It is important to select the correct freeze dryer for the sample. The freeze dryer’s collector should be 15°C-20°C colder than the sample’s freezing point. The instantaneous load capacity and the collector capacity should be able to accommodate the sample volume. If either one of these parameters are undersized, the rate of sublimation will be affected.

Amount of heat and how heat is transferred to the sample

Energy in the form of heat is what is driving the lyophilization process. The more heat that the sample gets, the faster the run.

Because freeze drying is such a popular laboratory method, there are thousands of methods published on a wide variety of sample types. Before you begin, search online for published methods for your type of sample or as close to your sample type as you can find. Use the published parameters as a starting point.

When developing a lyophilization protocol the first objective should be to first; freeze dry successfully, then optimize the run time.  We recommend beginning your method development with non-valuable samples that are similar to your real sample, as it may take several trials to get the parameters correct.

Once a working protocol is established that produces consistent results, then freeze dry the more valuable samples. After you have established a method that is producing good results, the next step is to tweak the parameters to reduce the run time.

To learn more about optimizing lyophilization parameters, read the article, How to Freeze Dry Faster.

Now here are some examples of applications and their typical run times from FreeZone customers.

End-Zone end point detection can help you with proper lyophilization protocols and methods.

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Wed, 03 Aug 2016 05:00:00 5AugCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/how-long-will-it-take-to-freeze-dry-my-samples
<![CDATA[Infographic: How to Select the Right CA Fuming Chamber]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-how-to-select-the-right-ca-fuming-ch This infographic explains the variables you'll want to take into consideration when selecting a cyanoacrylate (CA) or superglue fuming chamber for your forensics laboratory.

The method has lasted for decades and has been adopted worldwide for one reason - it's the best process for fixing latent fingerprints on non-porous or semi-porous evidence. 

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Tue, 26 Jul 2016 05:00:00 5JulCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/infographic-how-to-select-the-right-ca-fuming-ch
<![CDATA[4 Reasons You Should Use a Remote Blower Instead of a Built-In Blower]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/4-reasons-you-should-use-a-remote-blower-instead Fume Hood Blowers: An Exhausting Subject

A blower, or exhaust fan, is a very important part of a fume hood system. It is the component that moves air through the fume hood. Many people are under the impression that all fume hoods come with a built-in (or integral) blower.

A built-in blower is mounted right above the fume hood. In that scenario, the blower pushes the contaminated air out from the hood, through the ductwork, to the outside.

In most labs, however, a remote blower is used, as shown in the Typical Fume Removal System graphic to the right. This means the blower is located remotely from the fume hood, on the rooftop typically, and pulls the air all the way through the duct work to be exhausted outside. 

There are many things to consider when choosing a blower. Here are four reasons why you should always use a remote blower over an integral blower.

1. Fume hoods with built-in blowers to duct outside do not meet ANSI Z9.5!

If your specification requires compliance with ANSI Z9.5, you must use a remote blower. Section 5.4.4 of ANSI/AIHA Z9.5-2012 clearly states:

Laboratory exhaust fans shall be located as follows:

  • Physically outside the laboratory building and preferably on the highest-level roof of the building served. This is the preferred location since it generally minimizes risk of personnel coming into contact with the exhaust airflow.
     
  • In a roof penthouse or a mechanical equipment room on the roof that is always maintained at a negative static pressure with respect to the rest of the facility, and provides direct fan discharge into the exhaust stack(s).

So if your blower is mounted on top of your fume hood, it won’t be “physically outside of the laboratory building” and it won’t be located in a “mechanical equipment room that is always maintained at a negative static pressure with respect to the rest of the facility.”

2. Remote blowers are safer

A remote blower is a failsafe, meaning if there is a leak in the duct work at any point, the duct is kept under negative pressure. In the event of a leak, clean air will be pulled through that leak and exhausted out, instead of pushing contaminated air out of that leak (as a built-in blower would).

If you have an application with hazardous chemicals or a building where your fume hood duct run goes through multiple occupied floors, a remote blower should be used.

3. Built-in blowers are not a one-size-fits-all

Every blower has a blower curve chart that shows under what circumstances the blower can operate properly. This includes the static pressure and CFM requirements (shown in the figure to the left).

The mechanical system has to fit the integral blower. So even though you have a duct run that is only 10 feet long, that does not mean it will work well.

It will most likely require a manual control damper to add resistance to the line. Blowers require a certain amount of resistance, or static pressure, to work effectively.

Think of it like using a blender to make a smoothie, if the ice doesn’t fall to the blades, the motor goes too fast and you can sometimes smell the motor burning up since it does not have any resistance to work against. It’s the same concept for a blower motor – it requires resistance to work properly.

4. Built-in blowers are louder

Noise issues can arise for a couple different reasons, but there is no doubt, when the blower is sitting right on top of the fume hood, it will be louder than if it were mounted on the rooftop. If there is noise sensitivity, for example in a classroom setting, it’s highly recommended to have a remote blower so the teacher doesn’t have to speak over the blower motor while teaching.

The air turbulence itself can create noise as well.

Things that contribute to the air noise are the duct material (metal is loudest), and the duct run design (the more bends, the louder). So it is always recommended to put 3 to 5 duct diameters of straight duct before and after each bend, and off the fume hood exhaust collar, in order to straighten the air colun and reduce the turbulence. 

Those are the four reasons a remote blower should be used over a built-in blower. Obviously there are scenarios where a built-in blower must be used, but one should always consider a remote blower first, then move from there.

I would only recommend using a built-in blower if you absolutely cannot use a remote blower.

And now here's a helpful graphic explaining positive (+) and negative (-) pressure as it relates to blower location and safety. Enjoy.

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Thu, 21 Jul 2016 05:00:00 5JulCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/4-reasons-you-should-use-a-remote-blower-instead
<![CDATA[Water World – Quenching Your Thirst For Purified Water]]>http://www.labconco.com/news/water-world-quenching-your-thirst-for-purified Trying to find a laboratory without purified water is like trying to find someone who enjoyed the movie "Waterworld." It’s... Well… It’s challenging. From solutions and dilutions to washing, water is widely used in science.

So it’s only a matter of time before you will have to decide on a water purification system for your laboratory.

Fortunately, determining the best type of water purification system for your lab won’t require a journey into "The Abyss." Just take a look at these common laboratory experiments and their recommended water purity grades to find a match for your application.

General Water

Does your lab need to feed Type I water systems, rinse glassware with purified water, or feed glassware washers and autoclaves? If you answered yes, then your lab needs Type III water, also known as Reverse Osmosis (RO) water. Type III water is the most widespread type of laboratory water and has 90 to 99% of contaminants removed via an RO filter.

Labconco’s WaterPro RO System for Type III water features a production rate of 1 L/min and storage for 17L of purified water for painless integration with glassware washers and Type I water systems.

Analytical Water

Do you perform HPLC, GC, ICP-MS, Atomic Adsorption, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), Cell/Tissue Culture or Buffer Preparations? If so, then Type I water, the purest form of laboratory water, is recommended. Type I water, which is achieved by polishing RO water through carbon and deionization filters, is also known as Ultrapure or 18 Megohm water.

Labconco’s WaterPro PS Systems for Type I water come in easy-to-understand configurations tailored to the most specific needs of any chemist or biologist. With options for UV reactors, trace organic filters, plus ultrafilters and a production rate of up to 1.8L/min, Labconco WaterPro PS Systems deliver ultrapure water for any task.

Need both Type I and III water? Pair up the WaterPro RO and PS systems for high output. Try the cost-effective WaterPro BT, a space-saving benchtop model, for laboratories that require < 10 liters of purified Type I and III water.

Now that you’re out of "Open Water" and into the "Blue Lagoon" of water purification, you’re ready to lead your lab from the dry land of "Mad Max" by diving "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea." You can groan now!

Have an application or water type that wasn’t covered? Labconco is just a phone call away at 800-821-5525.

As a bonus, below we have a valuable graphic on water types to "wet" your appetite.

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Tue, 19 Jul 2016 05:00:00 5JulCDT-6:00http://www.labconco.com/news/water-world-quenching-your-thirst-for-purified