Conventional centrifugation with a manual or semi-automatic centrifuge can be tedious and time consuming. Essentially, an operator must load samples into the rotor, accelerate the rotor, run the machine for the specific period, and ultimately, unload the machine.
The problem: Operational costs can quickly skyrocket when processing large volumes of a sample. It becomes labour-intensive and time-consuming.
Yet, the large volumes are not the only challenge. The type of material can also increase the labour required. For example, materials with low sedimentation rates increase the time needed to process an entire sample. Additionally, the machine’s capacity and its acceleration and deceleration times also drive up the cost of processing large volumes.
Automatic centrifuges – which are sometimes called continuous flow centrifuges – are widely used in various industries, and they serve a variety of functions, including filtration and banding separations. These types of centrifuges are uniquely equipped to address these common issues.
In particular, automatic centrifuges are valued for their ability to process liquids containing very fine particles, and as such, this type of centrifuge is used in oil and gas refining, wastewater treatment, and food processing.
When to Consider Automatic Centrifuges
Compared to manual or semi-automatic centrifuges, fully auto machines are ideally suited for a number of applications. Although they tend to cost more – due to the additional parts required in their construction –automatic centrifuges are used in to address these common problems:
Many industries require large volumes of material to be processed with centrifugal equipment. Manual centrifuges require that material be loaded, and that following the cycle, the cleaned material to be removed. Automatic centrifuges eliminate this problem. Material is continuously fed into the machine, while waste cakes are eliminated. In effect, the centrifuge can run continuously for long periods of operation. This eliminates the need for rigorous oversight, helping to reduce workforce costs.
Manual centrifuges must be stopped and started much more frequently, and often, these machines have long acceleration and deceleration times. In effect, this prolongs the ability to process material, as the operator must wait for the machine to accelerate and decelerate following each batch. Since automatic machines process material continuously, this wasted time can be eliminated, which helps to reduce operation costs.
Low Sedimentation Rate
The type of material that’s being processed may require an automatic oil centrifuge, particularly for differential pelleting. Essentially, as the centrifuge moves, particles begin to separate from the liquid. Higher density particles separate from the liquid at a faster rate, while smaller, less dense particles take longer to separate. Smaller particles, therefore, have lower “sedimentation rates.” Automatic centrifuges have shorter path lengths, compared to manual and semi-automatic machines, and they also can achieve higher centrifugal force. Therefore, the pelleting is more efficient.
Small Capacity Rotors
Manual centrifuges tend to have small capacities, which increase operational inefficiency. Automatic centrifuges, on the other hand, are designed for large capacity applications. Therefore, automatic machines can operate for longer periods of time. The biggest advance: This eliminates operational waste, and increases processing efficiency.
Automatic vs Semi-Automatic and Manual Centrifuges
Manual centrifuges are useful when you don’t require continuous operation. Additionally, manual machines tend to have lower costs overall, helping to reduce capital expenditures. Semi-automatic machines hold the middle ground between manual and automatic centrifuges. This type of machine tends to have a smaller capacity compared to an automatic machine, but the biggest difference is that the waste is pushed into a basket which must be manually removed.
With automatic centrifuges, the biggest advantage is the ability to have continuous operation. Liquid is continually pumped into the machine, and the waste is automatically cut off and dropped. In other words, this can help to reduce operating costs, it can reduce wasted energy, and help to make your processing more efficient.