I recently sat down with our resident glasswasher expert to find out what’s important when considering buying a laboratory glasswasher. Here is my interview with David, our Senior Engineer at Camlab.
Q.What baskets and rack do I need and what goes together?
A. Upper and lower Baskets can take larger glassware like beakers and conical flasks. Trays can be purchased for test tubes and smaller pieces of glassware like vials.
Jet racks are available for upper and lower positions; they have spigots which shoot a jet of water into each piece of glassware to be cleaned. Short spigots are available for low form beakers and longer ones for measuring cylinders. It all depends on what glassware you have as to the best sized spigots for the job.
Q.How big a space do I need under the bench?
A. Space under the bench is the same as a standard domestic dishwasher so 60cm in width and height. Some glasswashers are available in 90cm width to house either a hot air dryer or drums of consumables like detergent and rinse aid. The industrial sized washers are quite a bit taller requiring 190cm or more of height.
Q. What power requirements are there?
A. Standard power setting is 415 Volts 3 phase, but this can be changed to 240 Volts either 13 or 30amp.The 13amp version will double the cycle time. The right plug and socket needs to be available near the installation site.
Q. What are the water requirements, can I just have a cold water feed, and what about DI water for rinsing?
A. If the deionised water is wall mounted a small boost pump is required but if floor mounted an external pump will need to be housed near the washer. Additionally another 13amp socket will be needed nearby.
Q.What are my options if I need a new demineralised water system?
A. Camlab can provide a choice of deionised water for the final rinses from Avidity Science and Suez. Small benchtop units are available which can supply 10-14 litres per hour to feed the washer. These units can be used for general lab water too.
Q.What type of detergents do I need?
A. The underbench glasswashers can have powder dispensers or liquid, but this decision needs to be made before purchase. All glasswashers come with one pump for acid rinse which neutralises the water after an alkaline wash. Camlab has its own range of detergents and acid rinse called Camacid and Camclean
Q.What are my installation options?
A. Once you have made your choice of glasswasher there are a few options for installation.
Commissioning is an extra cost and involves checking the supplies are correct, assembling jet racks, testing the unit and customer training.
Q. What are my options for performance evaluations, as customers need to validate all equipment used for GMP?
A. Performance evaluations can also be purchased for IQ/OQ but this has to be requested at the time of purchase from the manufacturer.
Regular annual servicing is vital but routinely the chamber should be checked for debris in the filter, broken glass and sticky labels, all things that could affect the efficiency and even cause a break down.
Q. What are the Do’s and dont’s before using the glasswasher after a wash cycle?
A. The chamber needs to be inspected for the following:
• Paper labels and glue block the interior filters so they firstly need to be removed
• After every wash the chamber filter should be cleaned of debris
• Any faults should be reported as early as possible to Camlab to prevent further damage
• An annual service will prolong the life of the glasswasher and we have some that are 20 years old that we still maintain at optimal performance
Q.What about water softeners and salt, do I need them like a domestic dishwasher?
A. All under bench glasswashers have softeners but for the larger models An external softener is available. If you are located in a soft water area you don’t need salt to regenerate the softener.
Q. So cant I just buy a cheap domestic dishwasher, it will do the same job won’t it?
A. Domestic glasswashers are made of a lower grade stainless steel and this will be eroded away over quite a short timeframe by the acids from residual chemicals in the glassware before it’s washed. They don’t have a liquid detergent pump, or acid rinse or the ability to perform a deionised water rinse.
Q. What is an F16 form Questions and Answers Form
A. The F16 form is required to understand the supplies of power and water and their availability at the site, so Camlab can advise on the most appropriate model. This needs to be completed before we can provide the quotation.
Q. Do I need to have a separate dryer
A. With a drying system hot air is blown around the chamber to dry the outside of the glassware and hot air is driven through the jet rack spigots to dry the inside of the glassware. This is particularly advantageous when drying narrow necked bottles and flasks.
Without an active drying system the glasswasher relies on residual heat from the final rinse to dry. From the final rinse the glassware can then be transferred to a drying cabinet to fully dry.