Centrifuge and Rotor Safety Guide
Three factors that govern a safe life for any rotor are:
- Design and manufacture
- Proper care and handling during use
- Retirement, when damage or fatigue make continued use unsafe
Proper care and handling include:
- Record the purchase date of each rotor, along with manufacturing date and serial number.
- Read the manuals for the rotors and tubes before using the equipment. Follow all operational specifications published in each rotor manual.
- Rotors must be used with the correct centrifuge (Beckman rotors in Beckman centrifuges). Proper rotor and centrifuge combinations will meet laboratory equipment standards and regulations of UL.
- Maximum speed and sample density ratings designated by the manufacturer for each rotor are intended to prevent stress failures and should always be observed.
- Speed reductions required for running high-density solutions, plastic adapters, or stainless steel tubes should always be observed.
- Sample loads must be balanced and swinging bucket rotors must not be run with missing buckets.
- Before running an ultracentrifuge, check the classification decal on the ultracentrifuge and make sure it matches the classification decal on the rotor.
- The correct overspeed disk must be used with ultracentrifuges. The disk must be on the bottom of the rotor and the disk must be in good condition.
- A speed-derating disk must be installed if and when the warranty conditions require it.
- A well-kept rotor log is essential for continued safe operation of an ultracentrifuge. Include date, user, rotor used, and any problems encountered.
- Set the proper run speed on each time to prevent overspeeding.
- Use a titanium rotor if corrosive salt solutions will be used frequently.
- Do not scratch or otherwise damage the aluminum oxide layer that protects the underlying metal.
- Rotor cavities and buckets must never be cleaned with an ordinary bottle brush with sharp wire ends. Use special plastic coated brushes.
- Do not use alkaline detergents or cleaning solutions that may remove the anodized coating. Most commercially available solutions for radioactive decontamination are highly alkaline.
- If corrosive materials have been run or spilled on the rotor, wash it immediately.
- Clean all spills or breakage involving radiological, toxic, pathogenic or biological material immediately. Refer to appropriate safety guides for information.
- Only wash the buckets of a swinging bucket rotor. The body of the rotor should never be immersed: the hanger mechanisms are hard to dry and can rust.
- Air dry the rotor after it has been cleaned and thoroughly rinsed with water.
- Store all fixed angle vertical tube and near-vertical tube rotors upside down, with the lids or plugs removed.
- Swinging bucket rotors should be stored with the bucket caps removed.
- Store all rotors in a dry environment, not in the centrifuge.
- Lubricate O-rings and threads as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Observe warranty period and retirement recommendations for each class of rotor.
- Consideration should be given to retiring the rotor when the warranty period has expired.
- Do not use a rotor after the expiration date permanently marked (on some models) on the rotor or rotor accessories. The components must be taken out of service.
- If using centrifuges with Biosafety Level 2 or higher material, rotors must have aerosol containment ("O-rings") or be used in a biosafety cabinet. Rotors must be loaded and unloaded in a biosafety cabinet.
- If using centrifuges with radioactive material, keep centrifuge behind an appropriate shield.
- Rotors and accessories must be made non-radioactive, non-pathogenic, non-toxic and otherwise safe prior to maintenance or repair. A signed statement must be included with the equipment.
Beckman and Sorvall Technical Guides