what to know when buying lab mills and grinders

Maintenance Tip: Mills & Grinders

To keep your mill or grinder in top condition, it should ideally be cleaned after each sample run. Parts such as seals and blades or beaters should also be checked regularly (at least once a week) for wear and tear and repaired or replaced as needed. If you don’t take the time to clean your unit, it can lead to seal failure or corrosion of the mill and its accessories.

How does sample type help decide which type of mill or grinder is best?

The type of sample—usually its hardness or malleability—can have a significant impact on the type of mill or grinder needed. A variety of mills are available for brittle and harder objects, such as jaw crushers, mortar mills, mixer mills, or jet pulverisers. Planetary bead mills are a commonly used mill, and cover a wide variety of materials, from fibrous, brittle, and soft to hard materials. For materials which are pasty, a mortar or bead mill may be required.

How will working with biological processes or samples affect the type of mill used?

In order to investigate molecules of interest in a biological sample, the cells must often be disrupted. In order to accomplish this, a specialized type of mill, known as a bead mill, should be used. These mills are typically low throughput, and often come with a cooling mechanism to ensure that temperature sensitive samples are protected during the cell disruption process.

Does the type of downstream analysis technique influence which type of mill or grinder is best?

For certain analytical processes such as X-ray powder diffraction, the particle-size distribution is very important for proper analysis of samples. As such, having a mill or grinder that can give a very narrow and reproducible particle size distribution is required. Many manufacturers are now developing mill and grinding technologies which are specific to analytical processes. Researching these specific solutions beforehand will help alleviate any stress when purchasing.


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