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Centrifuge Maintenance

Lab Academy

It’s the same for everything that’s important to you – if you treat it properly and handle it with care, you will be able to enjoy it for a long time. Your centrifuge was surely not cheap. No wonder, considering the amount of technical innovation, human effort and precious materials involved in creating this valuable device.

Cleaning & disinfection‌

Rotors & accessories‌

Decontamination / disinfection‌

Autoclaving‌

Lubrication‌

Baseline procedure in case of contamination‌

You probably intend to use it for a scientific or medical research or an innovation that makes our daily lives easier in some way. And you would like to work towards these goals without any problems along the way. This is why you should care for it – on a daily, weekly and annual basis. We are going to show you how to do that correctly and effectively.
First, pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you can’t find what you are looking for in the user manual, contact the manufacturer. Otherwise you risk damaging the centrifuge, accessories or rotors. Please also check the centrifuge regularly for damage caused by corrosion.

Recommended routine maintenance

Daily:

  • Before and after use, check the rotor and lid for scratches, dust, or spilled sample material. (Missing anodization on a rotor made of aluminum is a clear indication that a more detailed evaluation is necessary.)
  • When using an aerosol-tight rotor, check the seal of the lid.
  • Clean your centrifuge on a regular basis to protect your investment and to maximize the lifetime of your instrument and guarantee operational safety, e.g. to prevent accumulation of deposits and to eliminate any possibility of corrosion.
  • If necessary, wipe the following parts with a lint-free microfiber cloth:
    • Centrifuge housing
    • Chamber
    • Rotor shaft
    • Rotor
    • Rotor lid/caps
  • Keep the lid of the centrifuge open to reduce pressure on the spring lifts of the centrifuge lid. For refrigerated centrifuges, leave the lid of the centrifuge and the rotor open and allow the device to defrost over night.

Weekly to monthly:

  • Keep a maintenance log.
  • Carefully remove rotor from centrifuge.
  • Make a detailed inspection of the centrifuge rotor, rotor lid, and buckets for cracks and corrosion. For a fixed-angle rotor, check underneath the rotor as well as the tube bores. For a swing-bucket rotor, pay special attention to the pivots and grooves. Differentiate clearly between a scratch and a gouge (= more than damaged color) when evaluating your rotor. A rotor with a gouge or even a small crack must be replaced. Due to the manufacturing process, color variations may occur on rotors marked „coated”. These color variations do not affect service life or resistance to chemicals.

Annually:

Check with your local safety officers for any local regulations regarding centrifuge maintenance. For example, in Germany, regulation DGUV 100 - 500 (formerly BGR 500) requires centrifuges exceeding 500 W nominal power consumption (without refrigeration system) or 10,000 Nm kinetic energy to be inspected by an authorized technician at least once a year in operating condition and at least every three years in a disassembled state.
  • Eppendorf recommends an annual preventive maintenance inspection by a trained service technician of the centrifuge, rotor, and accessories to guarantee operational safety and maximize the service life of your instrument.
  • When using refrigerated centrifuges, clean the refrigeration mesh of the heat exchanger with a brush at least twice a year. We further recommend cleaning the condensate drainage channels on a regular basis, e.g. using a narrow bottle brush.
References
[1] Lawson, V. A. et al. (2007). Enzymatic detergent treatment protocol that reduces protease-resistant prion protein load and infectivity from surgical-steel monofilaments contaminated with a human-derived prion strain. J Gen Virol vol. 88 no. 10: 2905–2914

Centrifuge Maintenance Videos

Learn more about recommended routine maintenance for your centrifuge equipment.
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