Caring for your centrifuge

Looking after your centrifuge will prolong the life of your equipment and greatly reduce the chance of breakdowns. Following our Good Centrifuge Practice guide can help you get the most out of your equipment.

Free Poster – Good Centrifuge Practice guide

Good Centrifuge Practice Poster

Ensure that all laboratory personnel are aware of how to best care for the centrifuges they use. This handy Good Centrifuge Practice poster can be printed and sited near your instrument to encourage best practice.

Henderson Biomedical recommend the following:

  • Always run with a full complement of buckets. Never run a centrifuge with buckets missing as this will lead to imbalance problems.
  • Distribute the load evenly around the rotor to avoid unnecessary strain on the motor shaft or bearing housing. Each bucket should be within 5 grams.
  • Devise a schedule to regularly decontaminate your rotor, buckets and adaptors. Decide on who will clean the accessories and on which day. If there is a spillage during centrifugation, this should be cleaned up immediately and not left until the next cleaning day.
  • Use a soft brush for cleaning in those hard to reach places. Avoid using a brush with wire bristles which can damage the anodising on the rotor and lead to rusting.
  • Remove ‘O’ rings when cleaning to ensure there is no bacteria trapped in the seal.
  • Dry all accessories immediately after cleaning with a soft, dry cloth. This will prevent to prevent corrosion.
  • Once buckets are dried, evenly spray all areas with an anti-corrosion spray. Henderson Biomedical can supply you with the appropriate anti corrosion spray.
  • Ensure rotor, rotor nuts, buckets and windshield lids are securely fitted when in operation. Rotors that haven’t been tightened properly or lids that haven’t been secured can lead to a disruption and a big repair bill.
  • Never run a windshield rotor without the lid. The spinning action of the rotor will mimic a helicopter and try to break away from the shaft or bearing housing. This will cause considerable damage to your rotor and centrifuge itself.
  • If any tubes break during centrifugation, this should be cleaned up immediately before the next run is carried out.
  • When using refrigerated centrifuges, you should leave lid open after use to allow any moisture to evaporate. This will prevent corrosion.
  • As a general rule of thumb, rotors and buckets should be replaced after 10 years or 30,000 cycles (whichever the greater). However, the user should take into account how well the accessories have been cared for over time and the type of materials being centrifuged. For example, more corrosive or messy materials may degrade the accessories more quickly.
  • Always replace rotors and buckets if they are damaged.

It is important to also regularly service your centrifuge depending on how much you use it. For most people, a single, annual service is sufficient, but for heavy centrifuge use, two service visits may be required.

As with car, an annual service can extend the life of your centrifuge and ensure safety for the users. A regularly serviced centrifuge will be more reliable in the long term.

Henderson Biomedical also recommend that users are trained on how to properly use a centrifuge. Untrained and inexperienced centrifuge users can be potentially hazardous. We can offer users comprehensive training on centrifuge use.