Water Aspirators: Cheap Pumps With Environmental Impact & High Operating Costs

Application Note: LabWater Aspirators are a common way of creating a low strength vacuum for many standard laboratory applications. Their simple design employs water running through a narrowing tube to create a reduced pressure via the Venturi effect. The pump’s performance is dependent upon the temperature and pressure of the water, two variables that often change based on the number of users and the ambient temperature, resulting in an unreliable vacuum source. In addition, when being used in chemistry and biology labs, aspirators allow potentially hazardous solvents to mix into the water stream and flow down the drain. Since a stream of continuously running water is required to operate the pump, a significant amount of water is wasted. The cost of water coupled with the environmental impact of wasted water and solvent pollution need to be considered.

With concern over water usage on the rise, use of aspirator pumps is understandably under scrutiny due to their excessive water consumption. A typical aspirator pump requires 1.5 – 2.0 gallons of water per minute to operate.3 Assuming an average of 1.75 gal/min and an average usage of 3 hours per day, 4 days a week for 10 months a year, one aspirator pump uses more than 50,000 gallons (189,000 Liters) per year! To put this amount of water in perspective, it is equivalent to:
Water Aspirator

  • 39,062 flushes of a low-flow toilet.4
  • 3,215 eight-minute showers, or a single shower lasting 416 hours.4
  • Washing 1,852 loads of laundry.4
  • 1.4 years’ worth of water consumed by the average American household for outdoor uses (watering lawns and gardens, etc.).5
  • 1,250 cars washed at a water-efficient car wash facility.6

When one considers the number of facilities with multiple water aspirators in operation, these numbers become staggering! >> Click here to view the full Application Note.

Adding Convenience to Field Filtration, Thanks to the New Mini-LABOPORT® Pump

Field Filtration Pump

Filtration of field water samples is not that easy. In discussions with customers, they’ve mentioned three alternatives that are available to accomplish the task, none of which are ideal:

  • Use a manual vacuum pump. However, manual pumps can be weak and therefore very slow. And, they can wear you out if you have a lot of samples or ones with moderate-to-heavy particulates.
  • Use a generator to power a standard lab bench vacuum pump. This option requires transporting the heavy generator and gasoline to the field water site.
  • Transport samples back to the lab. Transportation requires the extra step of packaging the unfiltered samples, and means a delay in getting results and possible degradation of the sample depending on what is being collected and/or tested.

KNF engineers decided that a fourth option would be useful to field scientists, so they developed the new lightweight 12 volt mini-LABOPORT pump, model PJ26078-811. Designed specifically for in-the-field use where vehicle access is possible, it combines the robust operation of the traditional KNF LABOPORT pump with the ability to be powered via 12V DC car outlet. Therefore, field scientists can now rely on a lightweight oil-free vacuum source in environments where weight, portability, space, and timeliness often factor into operation.

KNF LABOPORT 12V Field Filtration PumpEquipped with a three-meter long, coiled power cord fitted with a 12 volt car outlet adaptor cord and two 1/4” hose barbs for vacuum inlet and outlet, the new 12 volt mini-LABOPORT pump is ideally suited for filtration and gas sampling in the field. Its combination of compact convenience and reliable performance allow it to meet the needs of environmental companies, water treatment plants, field researchers, and anyone in need of a convenient vacuum source in remote locations.

Employing a compact, low-maintenance design, the pump is driven by a sturdy motor and features chemically-resistant construction. Providing up to 11 L/min flow at atmosphere, it offers 75 Torr (100 mbar) end vacuum.

To learn more, click here, and refer to model PJ26078-811, which is the first product listed in the chart on the resulting page. Or, contact us to discuss your particular needs.

Flexibility is Key: The NFB Family of OEM Pumps Expands with Two New Low-Flow, Compact Models

NFB boxer-type liquid pumps

Full line of NFB boxer-type OEM liquid pumps

With the recent introduction of NFB 5 and NFB 25, this powerful, compact line of two-head-one-motor boxer pumps now boasts a wider flow rate range of 5 mL/min to 1.3 L/min per head.

This widened range offers further flexibility to the already gymnast-like abilities of this versatile line of products, such as:

 

  • The boxer configuration offers the flexibility of two possible operating modes.
    1) In parallel mode, the alternating pump head operation results in smooth, even flow.
    2) In individual mode, two liquids can be transferred simultaneously.
  • An adjustable-speed brushless DC motor adds flexibility, allowing simple flow rate regulation, which helps to reduce lengthy testing, while improving time to market.
  • Further instrument integration flexibility is assured by the small size, two-for-one design…
  • …and the ability of these pumps to operate in any orientation.
  • The two-for-one design and long product life also create cost savings potential.
  • Need more flexibility? Contact a KNF engineer to discuss your specific design needs.

OK, after reading about all of that flexibility, it’s probably time for a nice cool-down stretch! Then, click here to learn more about the flexible, expanded line of KNF NFB boxer pumps.

A widened range of boxer pumps offers further flexibility to the already gymnast-like abilities of this versatile product line.

A widened range of boxer pumps offers further flexibility to the already gymnast-like abilities of this versatile product line.

University of Connecticut Displays the Science – and Art – of Nanochemistry

Two of Professor Kumar’s images, left, ‘Enzyme’ Stained Glass, and DNA Floor Boards

Two of Professor Kumar’s images, left, ‘Enzyme’ Stained Glass, and DNA Floor Boards.
Photo Courtesy of Uconn Libraries

If you happen to be in Connecticut over the next few months, check out the “Art in Nanochemistry” exhibit at the Stevens Gallery of Homer Babbidge Library at UConn. The exhibit, which runs through June 15th, showcases a collection of photomicrograph images showing objects at a near-billion magnification.

Thanks to the imagery captured by high power electron and/or optical microscopes, Professor Challa Vijaya Kumar—head of UConn’s Divisions of Physical and Biological Chemistry—and his Ph.D. students, have captured natural materials on a nano-level. The results yielded visually-engaging images that look right at home when displayed as framed art in a gallery setting.

KNF RC 900 Rotary Evaporator on display

KNF RC 900 Rotary Evaporator on display.

Also on display is KNF’s RC 900 rotary evaporator. We like to think the form and function behind the RC 900 displays its own artistry, although, in this case it was selected to be part of this nano-scale themed exhibit to highlight rotary evaporation as an important laboratory tool for small molecule synthesis.

According to the University of Connecticut, the exhibit “is a collection of electron micrographs of nanomaterials from Dr. Kumar’s research group, created with support from the National Science Foundation, works of his colleagues at UConn, and also from the Materials Research Society Art-in-Chemistry annual competitions. Dr. Kumar and his group are investigating how these protein-DNA nanomaterials they create in the lab can be applied in enzyme fuel cells, DNA-solar cells, and neuroprosthesis for spinal cord repair.”

For more information, please visit the Uconn library blog regarding the exhibit or the KNF RC 900 rotary evaporator landing page

The Right Pump to Meet Your Continuous Ink-jet Printing Requirements

Application Note: OEMAs the continuous ink-jet (CIJ) printing industry evolves, KNF remains a driving force behind the change from yesterday’s peristaltic and gear driven pumps, to today’s more efficient diaphragm pumps. In fact, KNF is well positioned to serve this industry, thanks to our CIJ applications knowledge and selection of readily-optimized liquid and gas handling diaphragm pumps.

Diaphragm pumps overcome common problems inherent with the use of peristaltic and gear pumps in CIJ applications. Peristaltic pumps have short tube life leading to maintenance issues or messy clean-up, while gear pumps have issues including performance decay, shed particles, high cost, and they cannot run dry. In contrast, our diaphragm pumps provide a greatly extended performance life, lower cost operation, leak-tightness, robust chemical resistance, the ability to handle challenging inks, and our liquid pumps are self-priming and can run wet or dry. In addition, KNF diaphragm pumps can include features such as logic-controlled brushless DC motors, special electrical connections and mounting plates, and dampeners for applications sensitive to pulsation.

Air, Gas & Liquid Diaphragm Pumps for Continuous Ink-jet Printers

KNF Neuberger, Inc. specializes in liquid transfer pumps for continuous ink-jet printing industry. Specific media applications include UV ink pumps, pumps for solvent-based inks, degassing pumps, and many more.

Typical functions that our pumps perform in drop-on-demand inkjet applications include:

  • Bulk ink supply/replenish
  • Ink degassing
  • System vacuum and pressure
  • Cleaning station
  • Anti-siphon at head
  • Gutter pump
  • Chemistry make up
  • Ink delivery
  • Debris cleaning
  • QC analysis

KNF is also proud to have contributed to the CIJ market’s successful evolution to now include industrial printers and decorators, mailing and labeling equipment, date/lot codes, bio-material dispensing, 3-D printers, printed electronics, and more.

View the complete Application Note for more information, including a list of KNF pumps for continuous ink-jet printing and a more complete list of KNF pump features and benefits for CIJ applications.

10 Questions With… Michelle Taylor (Part 2)

Michelle Taylor Laboratory Equipment MagazineToday we conclude our “10 Questions with…” interview of Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief of Laboratory Equipment magazine.

Click here to read the first installment of this conversation.

6. As internet and social media use grow in our industry, have manufacturers expanded their communications to provide technical data and guidance on the proper use of key laboratory equipment in these channels?

My experience has been that manufacturers have capitalized on social media channels, but not necessarily to provide technical data. I think most people see social media as an “outlet,” meaning they are anticipating/expecting less technical, more “fun” information. Most manufacturers use social media as a means to converse with their existing and potential customers, using interesting, meaningful information and data to suck them in. Once you get the customer on your site, that’s when you hit them with the technical data and guidance. Not everyone wants that kind of information filling up their leisure time, so I think it’s best to entice them first, and then let them find what they are looking for from there.

7. Do you see the remote control of laboratory equipment as a growing trend?

Yes times 100. The remote control of everything is a trend, and it’s amplified in the laboratory. It’s one of the rare times science is ahead of the consumer world in terms of trends. Remote control of laboratory equipment is so important that it’s hard to know where to start. I conduct reader surveys every month and in the past four or five years, ease-of-use is the capability our readers have expressed the most interest in. And there’s nothing easier than using a remote to control your lab equipment from a distance. It saves time and money, increases productivity and makes researchers happy- what’s not to love? More importantly though, remote control increases lab safety and aids energy efficiency. Having the ability to control a pump or other piece of equipment inside a fume hood without opening the sash will prove vital in future research endeavors.

8. With the growth of Green Initiatives, do you see more laboratory equipment shifting to less hazardous materials of construction with more sophisticated monitoring and control features?

Yes, but I would downplay the green initiatives part- in a way at least. A few years ago when green was a buzzword, the industry started changing in an effort to accommodate this shift. So we did see a rise in less hazardous materials, better monitoring, smarter construction, etc. Since then though, green has become less of a buzzword and more like something we just accept in society. I think companies are shifting to more energy-efficient and eco-friendly options now not because it’s the “cool new thing,” but because it is what is expected- like stopping at a red light. Green initiatives are not so much initiatives anymore as they are just a part of how we conduct business in the real world. So, yes to smarter, better, more eco-friendly options, but no to green initiatives as a directive.

9. What do you think is the biggest pain-point for lab teams across the globe? How do they address this?

I addressed this briefly in question 7, but I’d say ease-of-use. Researchers everywhere are demanding easier-to-use instrumentation and software. There’s a shortage of experienced personnel, and labs everywhere are feeling that constrain. Therefore, instrumentation and software must be easier to use so novice users can handle the demands, while experienced researchers turn their attention toward more revenue-generating opportunities and research. Manufacturers are already addressing this with simple, familiar, consumer-driven interfaces for software, as well as advanced platforms that guide and help researchers. They are also investing in ways to simplify complex instrumentation, like spectrometers and chromatographs. Two years ago, for example, Waters debuted their QDa detector, which brings push-button mass spec to chromatography applications. I think we will begin to see a lot of more of this.

10. Finally, to end our conversation on a light note, please tell our readers what your favorite city across the globe is.

Hm, this is a hard one. Can I pick two? Actually, I don’t care, I have to pick two. Assisi (Italy) and Galway (Ireland) are my favorites. Climbing the hill to get up to Assisi is unreal. I thought I was going to pass out. But it is all worth it when you get to the top. The view is breathtaking, especially at sunset or during a storm.

In reference to Galway, I swear the greens and blues in Ireland are different than in the U.S. Nature is just better there—the grass is greener, the sky is bluer and the contrast is prettier. Plus, there are lambs everywhere- and lambs are too cute.

10 Questions With… Michelle Taylor (Part 1)

Michelle Taylor Laboratory Equipment MagazineOn this last day at  #pittcon15, we’re excited to introduce a new feature from The Pump Post, the “10 Questions with…” series, in which we interview notables from the science world. Please enjoy Part 1 of our interview with Michelle Taylor, from Laboratory Equipment magazine. Part 2 of this interview will be published on the final day of ACS Spring, March 24, 2015.

1. What is your role at Laboratory Equipment magazine?

I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Laboratory Equipment brand. The brand includes the flagship monthly print magazine, which has been published for over 50 years, as well the associated website and e-newsletters. It also comprises other print and digital supplements, including Chromatography Techniques, Academic Sourceguide and LabOutlook. It’s a neat position to be in because—forgive the cliché—I really do learn something new every day. Between research news published on our website daily, and my interviews with fascinating scientists and thought-leaders, it would be impossible not to learn. I feel like I’m in an interesting science class, and they pay me to attend rather than vise-versa!

2. What lab trends captured your interest in 2014?

One of the elements that became clear to me in the beginning of 2014 was the increased role of microscopy in the routine analytical process. Scientists need more precise high-res techniques, as evidenced by Eric Betzig sharing a piece of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his super-res microscopy techniques. With microscopy growing as fast and drastically as it is, I saw a lot of interest in hybrid and hyphenated systems in 2014. Microscopy was teamed with everything from an EDS spectrometer to a MALDI TOF/TOF in the battle to see and measure on an increasingly small scale. This dependence on and evolution of microscopy will only grow as imaging’s role in science is expected to skyrocket in the next decade.

Another trend was instrument miniaturization. While that has been an idea for a while, it became particularly evident in 2014 with compact spectrometers. Packing the capabilities of a spectrometer into an instrument just a tad bigger than the human hand is an incredible accomplishment. This will undoubtedly advance the idea of personal spectrometers for “home use,” such as checking your water to see if it is contaminated, as well as point-of-case applications in the clinical setting.

3. What are some of the biggest drivers for evolution in the industry? Is it a particular need from lab personnel? Better technology? New applications?

I see societal needs as the biggest driver of the science industry. Just as the commercial industry runs on supply and demand, the science industry reacts to what is happening around it. The changing climate is something we will have to adapt to, and it’s the scientists that will help us do that. Climate change encompasses numerous industries in science, but specifically, I think developments in food and energy will be biggest drivers for evolution.

Additionally, we will, of course, benefit from better technology—this trend will not stop for a number of years. We are in the middle of a technological revolution, so we might as well grab hold and reap the benefits. I am hoping we will see an increase in knowledgeable lab personnel, but I fear we may still be years away from that. As a country, I don’t think we have found the correct higher education formula to produce experienced lab personnel. But, hands-on programs, fellowships and internships are growing, so we’re headed in the right direction.

4. With 2014 in the books, do you have any predictions or expectations for the lab world in the coming year?

Absolutely. I expect this to be a big year for nanotechnology and biotechnology/biomedical. Nanotechnology is fast becoming one of the biggest industries we’ve seen in a while- the applications just keep growing. It deals with anything from water contamination to medicine to natural gas and petroleum. In 10 years’ time, I think nanotechnology research and breakthroughs will play a role in almost every aspect of our lives, whether it’s in the forefront (like e-screens) or in the background (like medication).

Biotechnology’s main capabilities lie in medicine, fuel and food, which also happen to be arguably the three most important elements of humans’ future existence. The baby boomers are all grown up now and experiencing a higher life expectancy than anticipated. Fuel is a problem on Earth and in space. We only just started making our own plutonium-238 to fuel our rockets, and political agendas raise questions about fuel to feed our cars. Fracking is a major controversy, as well as the Keystone XL. I expect science, specifically biotechnology, to play an increasing role in solving these problems. Lastly, “soon” there will not be enough food to feed the growing population. I think biotechnology will have its biggest impact here. The manipulation of food, or genetically modified organisms, is one of the only ways to ensure a safe, healthy food supply for years to come.

5. With the current economic climate within the laboratory industry, how do you see the impact of used equipment on the market?

Used equipment definitely has its place in the scientific market, as does new equipment. I view them as a kind of ying and yang. Both are important, and both are crucial to discovery and innovation. Used equipment always get more attention in times of economic distress (as it should) because for some labs, it provides the only alternative to keep going. That’s an important role to have, and it further emphasizes the impact used equipment can have on the market.

Enhanced Line of Liquid Laboratory Pumps

It’s day two here at #pittcon15 in New Orleans. If you are here at the conference and have not yet had a chance to stop by KNF booth #2211, please plan to do so. One of our features at this year’s show is the recently enhanced line of SIMDOS 10 liquid laboratory pumps.

KNF's SIMDOS 10 liquid laboratory pump

SIMDOS 10 pumps are ideal for metering and dosing applications in a number of professional and academic fields, including: chemistry, pharmaceutical, food research, and polymers, to name a few. SIMDOS 10 pumps offer lab personnel the ability to transfer liquids (up to 500 centistokes*) at flow rates of 1-100 mL/min, with dose volumes from 1 mL to 999 mL.

“While the SIMDOS 10 and SIMDOS 02 pumps can move liquids quickly and accurately, their real strengths are configuration and control options which can be matched to a user’s automation requirements and/or chemical profile” said Dan McDougall, Senior Manager of Laboratory Products at KNF. Indeed the SIMDOS pumps are designed to allow for convenient control of lab metering/dosing tasks which may be repetitive and redundant.

For example, new to this latest version of the SIMDOS 10 is a Cycle Metering Mode. “Say you’re performing an automated fill of vials on a conveyor belt…”, explains MacDougall. “You can program the SIMDOS to dispense a discrete volume into each vial with set pause durations in-between.” This new feature allows the user to set the number of cycles, the pause duration, and the dosing volume.

In addition to the added convenience of the Cycle Metering Mode, there are a few new control type options now available for the  SIMDOS 10. First, the SIMDOS 10 is now available in an RCP-version, which includes a RS 232 interface, enabling ASCII character control of virtually all pump functions, plus the ability to use programmable lab control software such as LABVIEW, or KNF’s free PC control software (available for download at knfusa.com). Next, an RC-version is available, which includes an RC cable for external control options such as a foot switch, or analog PC control. Finally, the standard S-version of the SIMDOS relies on the manual on-board interface with back-lit display for intuitive, push-button operation.

For a demonstration of the SIMDOS 10 and 02 lab liquid pumps, click the video below courtesy of Jean Delteil, KNF Liquid Pumps Product Manager; or stop by PITTCON booth #2211 for a live demo.

* Please visit knfusa.com/SIMDOS10 for detailed performance specifications.

Pittcon 2015: KNF Technology Enables Faster, Simpler Rotary Evaporation Process

Greetings from NOLA! The KNF Lab team is checking in from the #pittcon15 Conference and Expo, booth #2211, in balmy New Orleans, LA. Among the new products, applications, and all-things-lab we’re looking forward to seeing this week, it’s also a great opportunity to raise awareness about our own innovations and contributions to the scientific community.

KNF RC 900 rotary evaporator

KNF’s RC 900 rotary evaporator

While some exhibitors may be launching products sure to be marketed as the “latest and greatest” this year, KNF is providing a simple, yet time-saving update to our already well-received RC 900 rotary evaporator.

As is the foundation of our business, we’ve listened to the industry, and learned how we can make lab practices easier. This continued research led to the development of an upgraded memory system, which saves precious time in the lab. Even though we’ve seen the amazed faces the RC 900’s features cause, we’re proud to announce that this memory function will provide a new level of simplified rotary evaporation.

While rotary evaporation often requires numerous flask exchanges, the process parameters sometimes don’t change. The time required to exchange the flask and input the same parameters during each step could be well-spent elsewhere. To remedy this, KNF developed a memory feature for the RC 900, which saves the rotary evaporator’s current immersion depth and rotation speed. Pressing the button on the Bluetooth-enabled wireless remote control allows the flask to be changed quickly, easily and reliably during iterative processes, as the instrument automatically re-sets to the previous depth and speed. Consequently, lab scientists need to simply press the button, and the RC 900 will take care of the rest.

Learn more about the RC 900, or our full line of diaphragm vacuum and liquid pumps and systems for laboratory applications. And don’t forget to drop by the KNF booth this week!

KNF Demo to Debut at SLAS 2015

In just a few short days, some of us here at KNF will be leaving for our nation’s capital to attend the 4th annual SLAS Conference and Exhibition, being held from February 8th-10th. We are particularly excited about this year’s SLAS event as we will be unveiling a brand new demonstration at the KNF Neuberger booth (# 1511).

The new KNF demonstration effectively showcases a number of real-world pump applications, including: direct liquid transfer, vacuum aspiration, and pneumatics via 3 unique KNF pumps. When initiated, the demo cycles continuously through three separate stages. Light-up placards provide clarity for the viewer by explicitly stating which of the following processes is being performed in the demo:

KNF Pump Applications Demo

The KNF demo cycles through Vacuum Aspiration, Onboard Pneumatics, & Direct Liquid Transfer.

1) Vacuum Aspiration– The first process (pictured right) shows fluid being aspirated by the suction created from a powerful vacuum pump. You may notice the system’s ability to generate vacuum-over-liquid easily and quickly – this is due to the selection of a pump with a high gas flow rate, and the ability to handle moist gas with slugs of liquid.

2) Onboard Pneumatics– The next stage demonstrates high pneumatic performance in a compact, quiet and energy-efficient manner. The system employs a micro gas pump to pressurize a pneumatic cylinder which, in turn, raises a tube – a similar function to needle aspiration which is performed for various medical applications.

3) Direct Liquid Transfer– The 3rd process demonstrates direct liquid transfer, using a diaphragm liquid pump. Here, direct transfer of liquid media is made possible using a specially-designed, two-headed pump with high self-priming ability, and smooth flow – ideal for demanding, real-world applications, such as direct handling of liquid waste.

While each stage of the demo illustrates a unique application, it’s important to note the commonalities amongst the stages: First, each pump/stage includes chemically-resistant materials, which allow for the transfer of aggressive media. Each pump also utilizes a brushless DC (BLDC) motor. The BLDC motor (available for most KNF pumps) enables more precise speed control, lowers audible noise and vibration, and promotes a longer lifetime of operation. Also, a new KNF Digital Control provides enhanced programmable features over previous analog controllers while promoting consistent performance and reliability. Tested to over 1.6 million on/off cycles and 100,000+ hours in pump life tests, the KNF Digital Controller offers superior performance in demanding applications.


If you’re going to be at SLAS next week please stop by the KNF Neuberger booth (#1511) to check out our new demo, and to learn more about KNF’s range of gas and liquid OEM pumps.