Monday, January 09, 2012

Questions About Laboratory Refrigerators

In our lab we have a variety of different storage requirements. Do laboratory refrigerators allow for significant adjustments of shelves and storage bins?

Both the full size models and the under the counter models of lab refrigerators allow for flexibility in moving the shelves and bins about to create the specific storage space required. The full sized or 11 plus cubic foot models provide the maximum amount of flexibility since they have storage containers and shelving units on the door as well as in the interior of the unit. The smaller under the counter models tend to have shelving that is adjustable in the interior of the fridge but limited or no storage on the door. They also tend to have only one larger bin for storage or they may not have a bin but rather four adjustable shelves.

The full sized lab refrigerators provide options for small and large container storage on the door as well as one or two bins on the bottom level of the interior space. The larger bins on the door and the interior will be fixed, however the smaller upper bins and shelves are usually fully adjustable or can be removed completely for very large storage needs.

How easy is it to accurately set the temperature in laboratory refrigerators and how is the temperature maintained in the system?

Technology now provides the ability to digitally set the desired temperature for the laboratory refrigerator with the use of a keypad. This digit set point pad may allow you to key in the specific desired temperature or use an arrow up or arrow down mechanism to set the required temperature. A digital read out of the current temperature is also provided on the keypad, allowing for quick reference and easy visual confirmation.

Temperatures are maintained via a microprocessor system that instantly responds to variations in the temperature. Depending on the specific model of fridge there is also the option for the user to set lower and upper limits in a temperature range. If these limits are exceeded a warning sounds in an auditory as well as visual fashion which can also be monitored from a remote location. This is an important consideration if samples, specimens and materials stored in the fridge are highly temperature sensitive.

What are the differences between a laboratory refrigerator and a deluxe or premium model of commercially available refrigerator?

First and foremost a lab refrigerator is certified and commercially rated for use in a lab. It must be performance tested before leaving the manufacturer and information on that test provided to the purchaser. Temperature variations are highly controlled, much more than in a standard home fridge, and there are is additional insulation, the safety and alarm features as well as the monitoring system that can be used with these units.

The interior is also differently designed in the lab fridge. It is constructed from molded ABS without any seams, ensuring that problems with contamination are not a concern.

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