Purchasing a centrifuge for biofuels or wastewater processing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Centrifuges are complex machines and they represent a significant investment for your business. Therefore, you want to take special care to purchase a machine that fits your needs, budget and will provide long-lasting performance for your business.
Where can you start? Ultimately, the biggest challenge when researching centrifuges is determining the type of machine you will need. Then, once you’ve narrowed your machine specification list, you should also consider the manufacturer’s track record, as well as maintenance, safety and training requirements.
Thorough pre-buy research is absolutely critical when purchasing a centrifuge. Here are some steps to consider while researching options.
Machine Specs: Choosing the Right Centrifuge
Centrifuges are tuned for specific applications. A one-size-fits-all centrifuge just doesn’t exist on the market. Biofuel centrifuges, for instance, are designed to clean fuels and remove fine particles; dewatering centrifuges, on the other hand, are optimised for removing water and drying waste cakes for disposal.
Determine your application and the types of materials that will be processed. Do you need a centrifuge that can handle a variety of materials? If so, you need a machine with an adjustable operation speed to be tuned for different applications. A few specifications to consider include:
- Flow Rate & Operational Speed: Depending on the type of material that’s being processed, you will need to consider the centrifuge’s maximum flow rates and operational speeds (in RPM). Microscopic particles require faster rotational speeds to be separated; that’s why DNA testing centrifuges have max speeds up to 100,000 RPM or more. Most industrial centrifuges though have RPMs in the 4,000-5,000 range, which is sufficient for fuels cleaning and dewatering.
- Centrifuge Materials: Stainless steel bowls and rotors are common for wastewater and biofuels processing equipment. Yet, for highly corrosive materials, an option like carbon fiber may be necessary. Determine what types of liquids, oils and solvents the machine is designed for.
- Cleaning requirements: Today’s centrifuges are designed for manual, semi-auto or automatic cleaning. An auto cleaning feature will increase price, but will also require less attention during use. If you speed is a factor, manual cleaning may not be the right option for you.
- Continuous Flow vs Batch: Continuous-flow centrifuges are absolutely necessary for large-scale processing, as they decrease the amount of time required to process large volumes of liquids. Batch-type centrifuges, on the other hand, are designed or small volume centrifugation.
Manufacturer’s History & Product Quality
There are hundreds of centrifuge manufacturers and suppliers. That’s why it’s important to research each manufacturer’s track record and the quality of their products. Questions to ask include:
- Are the products backed by warranty?
- How long has the manufacturer been in business?
- Are there reviews of the products?
- What’s the manufacturer’s customer service and repair process like?
Safety and Training Requirements
You are responsible for following the manufacturer’s suggested safety guidelines. This will prevent undue equipment damage and operator injury. Research what your requirements are: Will employees require training for proper use? How user-friendly are the machines? What requirements will you have as a business to ensure safety?
Bottom line: Researching different types of centrifuges can be tedious, but it will save your business time and money by investing in the proper piece of equipment. Remember though; you don’t have to go it alone. Contact the manufacturer directly. A qualified customer service rep can help speed up your research, direct you toward the right solution, and help you better understand features and options.