2011 Centrifuge Product Survey Results

As one of the earliest scientific instruments, the centrifuge is one of the true workhorse pieces of equipment in today’s laboratories. We reveal the results of our centrifuge survey right here.

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As one of the earliest scientific instruments, the centrifuge is one of the true workhorse pieces of equipment in today’s laboratories. Core centrifuge applications (blood separation, sediment analysis, removal of particles from fluids, biological separations) remain vibrant, but new ones have emerged, particularly from molecular biology and biochemistry.

If one trend stands out in these markets, it is that sample sizes are shrinking; flasks have given way to ever smaller tubes, vials and microplates.

Centrifugation has come a long way since the process was first commercialized for laboratory use in the 1940s. Today, materials such as aluminum alloys and titanium are used in order to withstand high centrifugal forces. Standard features now include processes for cooling, programming, automatic imbalance detection, noise reduction and changeable rotor systems

Vacuum systems have also been added to modern centrifuges to reduce friction and maintain temperature control. The development of other tools, such as electron microscopes, has allowed researchers to better examine and investigate the particles being centrifuged.

With research into proteins and cell nucleic matter becoming more important and gaining pace all the time, the centrifuge will continue to be a vital piece of laboratory equipment for the foreseeable future.

 

Eighty-six percent of respondents are currently using a centrifuge in their labs and another five percent are planning to purchase a centrifuge.

Yes (currently using)

86%

No, but planning to purchase

5%

No, and no plans to purchase

9%

More and more applications are moving from floor to bench—the same performance associated with floor models can now be found in benchtop units, including microprocessor control, energy efficient motors, and the use of composite materials. One out of five respondents currently use a benchtop centrifuge and another 23 percent are planning to purchase a benchtop centrifuge.

 

Currently Using

Purchasing

Benchtop centrifuge

22%

23%

Microcentrifuge

20%

7%

Benchtop refrigerated centrifuge

17%

12%

Benchtop clinical centrifuge

14%

15%

Floor refrigerated centrifuge

8%

8%

Benchtop ultracentrifuge

7%

11%

Floor ultracentrifuge

6%

14%

Floor centrifuge

5%

7%

Other

2%

3%

Samples will either spin at a fixed angle relative to the rotating axis or “swing out” to perpendicular under centripetal force as the rotor speed increases. Forces generated as the rotor spins cause components in the sample to migrate toward the bottom of the sample tube, according to weight or density. Most survey respondents are using, or are planning to purchase, centrifuges with RPMs of 7,500 or less.

 

Currently Using

Purchasing

0 – 7,500 RPM

39%

38%

7,500 – 10,000 RPM

20%

10%

10,000 – 15,000 RPM

22%

21%

15,000 – 20,000 RPM

10%

11%

20,000+ RPM

8%

21%

Swinging-bucket rotors and fixed-angle rotors are the two most preferred centrifuge rotors.

 

Currently Using

Purchasing

Swinging-bucket rotors

46%

39%

Fixed-angle rotors

47%

40%

Vertical rotors

7%

19%

Other

1%

2%

Most survey respondents have an annual purchasing budget for maintenance and consumables (tubes and rotors) of $2,000 or less.

Less than $500

41%

$500 - $2,000

36%

$2,000 - $5,000

14%

$5,000 - $10,000

7%

$10,000+

3%

Forty-seven percent of the respondents who are planning to purchase a centrifuge are looking to replace aging equipment.

Replacement of aging centrifuge

47%

Addition to existing systems; increase capacity

22%

Setting up a new lab/Developing a brand new method

19%

Require more speed (g-forces) and capacity

9%

Changing from the current type of centrifuge

2%

Other

1%

There are two main groups of centrifuge purchasers: those who perform routine work and those who value flexibility. The first group includes technicians in environmental or blood processing labs relying on a limited number of protocols; members of the second group are more science-oriented. They look for instruments capable of evolving with the laboratory. These customers consider the centrifuge as more of an investment than a routine tool.

What type of centrifuge is best to follow the evolution of the laboratory?

32%

How do I select the appropriate centrifuge tube for the centrifuge I am purchasing?

18%

What are the considerations for selecting a centrifuge that increases the speed (g-force) and capacity?

16%

Can I get the features and function of a floor-standing centrifuge in a benchtop?

16%

Plastics and composites vs. metal rotors: which makes the most sense for my lab?

14%

Other

4%

Centrifuges tend to be inexpensive compared with other high-use lab instruments. Prices can range from $300 for unrefrigerated, single-speed mini-centrifuges up to about $6,000 for high-speed, refrigerated benchtop instruments. A majority of respondents have a budget range of $1,000 to $5,000 for the purchase of a new centrifuge.

Less than $1,000

17%

$1,000 - $5,000

34%

$5,000 - $15,000

31%

$15,000 - $50,000

14%

$50,000+

4%

Lab professionals are looking for centrifuges that deliver outstanding performance and reliability in the lab that meet their application needs and follow the evolution of the laboratory. Other factors and features important to lab professionals include low maintenance, ease of use and safety.

Important in the decision-making process

Low maintenance/operating costs

95%

Reliability

95%

Ease of use

92%

Price

89%

Safety features

88%

Warranty

84%

Service and support

79%

Accuracy

77%

Noise reduction

70%

Fast acceleration

66%

Ease of installation

65%

Small footprint/size

64%

Fast stopping

63%

Type of centrifuge rotor

60%

Energy efficiency

50%

Field of work that closely aligns with respondent’s labs:

Biochemistry and biology

25%

Clinical and blood banking

21%

Chemical

10%

Microbiology

10%

Pharmaceutical industry

8%

Environment

6%

Food and related products

4%

Other

18%

Completed Surveys: 264

See the latest survey results

Categories: Surveys

Published In

Scientists & The Social Media Magazine Issue Cover
Scientists & The Social Media

Published: April 1, 2011

Cover Story

Scientists & the Social Media

Laboratories are at the forefront of research and analysis. But when it comes to communication, they are followers rather than leaders and can be very slow to adopt innovations.