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Finding the right mixers and shakers for your lab

Any laboratory that requires homogenization of samples before testing is incomplete without laboratory mixers and shakers. Laboratory mixers and shakers are the instruments that assist the user in the formation of a homogenized mixture by dynamic agitating and mixing of samples. These instruments are applicable in various industries such as pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, and beverages. Furthermore, shakers and mixers are widely used in laboratories such as wastewater treatment, biotechnology, pathology, and life sciences.

Laboratory mixers and shakers include orbital shakers, vortexes, rockers, rollers, and rotators.

Here are a few essential Mixers and Shakers for your lab

 

  • Vortexers
 

Vortexers are commonly used blender instruments that move in a circular motion. Vortexers are used to mix small vials of liquid. It includes an electric motor with a vertically oriented rotating shaft. The driveshaft is attached to a cupped rubber piece which creates a cushion or pad-like structure. As the motor runs the rubber cushion or rubber pad oscillates in a circular motion. When the test tube interacts with the rubber pad or touches the edges of the pad, the motion gets transferred to the liquid in the tube, resulting into vortex formation. Vortexers come with variable speed settings ranging from 100 to 3200 RPM. They are ideal for cell suspension in cell culture, and microbiology laboratories, for mixing of reagents, and dilutants in biochemical laboratories. Vortexers give uniformity and speed and make the mixing process more comfortable and accurate than manually. Many vortexers also come with temperature regulators.

 

  • Orbital Shakers

Orbital shakers are used for culturing of microorganisms, general mixing, electrophoresis gel staining, and washing blots. Orbital shakers come with two parallel planes to the work surface. They rotate along with the two planes to create circular shaking motion. Orbital shakers do not generate vibrations. They create low heat during the circular motion which enables orbital shakers ideal for microbial culturing. These instruments usually lodge microplates, large flasks, microcentrifuge tubes, and gel trays.

Orbital shakers can be further modified to incubator shakers by adding incubators to it, to make them suitable for bacterial incubation with optimum growth conditions.

  • Rotators

 

Rotators move in a circular motion around an axis. Traditionally rotators were designed along the plane of the work surface. They were used for the rotation of samples. Now-days, rotators are arranged in a wheel orientation. Each sample achieves 360° rotation resulting in more force, and sample dispersion. Rotators are used for sample mixing in molecular biology, clinical testing, and biochemical laboratories.

 

 

  • Rollers

Rollers are the mixing instruments that are applicable in the mixing of blood samples, solid-liquid suspensions, and sticky substances. The unique design enables rollers to offer gentle mixing of collection tubes. They accommodate sample tubes in a horizontal stationary position for rotation between rotators. They are perfect for clinical labs, research labs and other laboratories where even a slight tube spilling could be dangerous.

 

 

 

  • Rockers

As the name suggests, rockers mix the liquids by swinging back and forth. They offer very low agitation, and gentle mixing, unlike the high-speed shakers.  This quality makes them ideal for tissue fixing, incubating tissues, and cells as during tissue fixing for incubation, it is very crucial to keep tissues intact without disruption. Rockers are also applicable in blotting applications and in blocking as both the procedures demand careful handling. Rockers offer secure and slow rocking motions enabling proper adherence of blot.

 

There is a huge variety of shakers and mixers available in the market. They are available in different configurations including capacity, duration, speed, slope, etc. While selecting the right mixer for your laboratory it is necessary to consider the nature of samples used and type of procedure being performed along with the size, and volume of the sample. Find out the exact speed of motion and direction that suits your sample, type of process and the desired feature of the device before final selection. This small study will help you to get the right equipment for your laboratory.

 

References:

  • https://www.laboratory-equipment.com/blog/all-laboratory-equipment-blogs/movers-shakers-what-mixer-for-my-application/
  • https://fslsllp.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/what-kind-of-mixer-to-utilize-for-your-application-shakers-and-movers/
  • https://www.labcompare.com/General-Laboratory-Equipment/221-Laboratory-Shakers-Mixers/
  • https://www.azom.com/materials-equipment.aspx?cat=192
  • https://www.firstsourcels.com/blog/shakers-and-movers-what-mixer-for-my-application/

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