Is It Time To Replace Your Water Aspirator?

A water aspirator is a simple device capable of creating a low strength vacuum for many standard laboratory applications. Though they are inexpensive to purchase and easy to use, the long-term operating costs and environmental impact of laboratory water aspirators can be quite significant.

The above video from Lab Manager follows Linda the Lab Manager as she and her colleagues investigate the real costs of owning and operating a laboratory water aspirator.

Video: Choosing the Best Vacuum Pump for Your Lab Application

 

Are you in the market for a new laboratory vacuum pump? Perhaps you need more information on which pump to choose. A new video, produced by Lab Manager, may provide valuable insights. View the video directly above, or click here.

New KNF Laboratory Products Catalog Available

KNF Neuberger Inc. has recently published an updated Laboratory Products Catalog. The 33-page catalog reflects the newly expanded range of laboratory products offered by KNF Neuberger, Inc. which includes: a complete line of vacuum pumps and accessories, liquid transfer pumps, dosing/metering pumps, rotary evaporators, and vacuum systems.

Organized by application, this comprehensive guide presents the best product selections for rotary evaporation/distillation, degassing, filtration/SPE, fluid aspiration, gel drying, centrifugal concentration, vacuum ovens, multi-user vacuum systems, and metering and transferring liquid. In addition, this piece includes handy product charts for easy comparison.

View the new Laboratory Products Catalog here. Or, request a high-resolution printed version via postal mail by completing the form below.

Technology TIP: Measurement of Pulsating Flow

INTRODUCTION

TechTIP

Like most companies producing gas pumps, KNF uses glass tube and float type flowmeters to measure flow during pump production testing. This type of flowmeter has been used for several decades as they are fast-acting, reliable, and accurate. The normal industry practice is to calibrate this class of instrument using laminar flow. Unfortunately, the pulsating flow from reciprocating pumps produces an artificially high flowrate reading compared to the laminar flow calibration. As a result, all diaphragm and piston pump manufacturers using traditional flowmeters will end up promoting higher flow rate values than what the pumps actually provide.

OUR GOAL

measurement-flow-blogAt KNF, we are passionate about meeting the engineering design challenges of our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers with pumps that meet the actual needs of the system in which they are installed. Along with this goal comes the responsibility to provide data that best represents the performance capabilities for each pump produced at KNF. Simply stated, we want our customers to know the flow rate values we provide will accurately correspond to the actual flow produced by the pump — the true amount of gas delivered; not just an artificially inflated reading.

The flow measurement discrepancy manifests during system-level performance comparisons between continuous flow (non-pulsating) and pulsating pump types, reported to provide the same flow rates. The non-pulsating pump winds up delivering greater flow performance than the pulsating pump that was erroneously thought to be equivalent, skewing results in favor of the non-pulsating pump type.

TechTIP_MoPF_fig1

Figure 1: KNF pulsation-compensated flowmeter

THE SOLUTION

To address this situation, several years of research and development by our flow experts at the KNF Gas Pump Design Center in Freiburg, Germany has culminated in an advanced system for the measurement of pulsating flow. KNF has made an investment to implement this new technology. The resulting pulsation-compensated flowmeters (see Figure 1) are tuned and calibrated to measure pulsating flow more precisely than the traditional glass tube and float type flowmeters.

 

The more accurate flow readings from our pulsation-compensated measurement standard show lower values for flow than the laminar flow based systems used in the past. This document describes why your pump is still providing the same flow performance even though the measured and recorded flow value is lower. Glass tube and float type flowmeters are also called variable area flowmeters as the cross sectional area of the tube varies from smaller at the bottom to larger at the top (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2

Figure 2: Cross-section illustration of a float type flowmeter

Pulsating flow always creates a higher reading in a float type flowmeter. The reason is that the float cannot move downward quickly enough between pulses. The float will remain on the top of the flow wave (see Figure 3 below). KNF has been aware of this phenomenon for quite some time and has been continually investigating better ways to attenuate the effect of the pulsation. The pulsation-compensated KNF flowmeter assemblies include physical components to minimize the effect of the pulsations.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Impact of pulsation on flowmeter readings

Simply put, our pulsation-compensated flowmeters are dampened to reduce the effect of the pulsations — these values are represented by the green line in the figure below. A dampened flowmeter may read pulsating flow too high if it was calibrated using laminar flow — that is why we use pulsating flow to calibrate our pumps at KNF. Flowmeters with little or no dampening will read artificially high as shown by the red lines.

SUMMARY

This advanced flow measurement system combines variable area flowmeters with a mass-flow calibration system. Optimized for pulsating flow, the system provides the most accurate measurement of flow available today. The improved accuracy is shown in Figure 4 (below).

Figure 4

Figure 4: KNF flowmeter reading (optimized for pulsating flow).

The chart shows flowmeters with a range of 2 – 10 liters per minute calibrated using pulsating and laminar flow compared to a target flow established by a mass flow meter. While this improvement is typical, actual results may vary across the flowmeter size ranges.

To learn more about KNF’s advanced flow measurement system please contact a KNF applications engineer.

KNF’s Laboratory Symposium Offered an Evening of Exploration and Learning

Last week, KNF Neuberger Inc. hosted a Laboratory Pumps and Applications Symposium in collaboration with the Trenton Section of American Chemical Society (ACS). The event, a first of its kind, attracted attendees from local academia and industry.

Beginning in the early evening, the Lab Symposium kicked-off with a mixer featuring beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Attendees became better acquainted with each other, and more familiar with KNF laboratory equipment which was on display throughout the room. Soon after, guests were invited to a guided tour of KNF’s 50,000 square foot manufacturing facility. The tour, led by KNF Director of Sales and Marketing, Eric Pepe, allowed symposium guests to view important aspects of KNF’s pump production area including: assembly and testing stations, high-tech machining equipment, and state-of-the art inventory management systems.

Roland Anderson delivering the Laboratory Symposium presentation.

R. Anderson leads a discussion tailored to the applications employed by those in attendance.

Next, attendees were invited to help themselves to a complimentary hot buffet, featuring local Italian fare. Guests and staff carefully balanced plates, as they made way to their seats for the Laboratory Pumps and Applications presentation, delivered by KNF Laboratory Products Manager, and applications specialist, Roland Anderson (pictured right). The presentation featured a review of pump technologies, their pros/cons, and the benefits of their usage in several typical lab applications.

The evening was capped off with desserts and coffee, as well as a door prize drawing. Congratulations to the prize winners, and thank you to all who helped make this initial KNF Laboratory Pumps and Applications Symposium a success!

If you would like to schedule a similar KNF lunch-and-learn symposium with KNF, at your facility, please contact a laboratory applications specialist.

 

 

KNF to Host Lab Pumps & Applications Symposium in Collaboration with Local ACS

Pumps are an important component in practically all chemistry laboratories. Yet for such a common device, selecting the correct pump for a particular application is often a challenge.

Join us for a Laboratory Pumps and Applications Symposium

Join us on Nov. 4th for a Laboratory Pumps & Applications Symposium

KNF Neuberger, in collaboration with the Trenton Section of the American Chemical Society, will be hosting a symposium on “Laboratory Pumps and Applications”. The presentation will focus on taking the mystery out of laboratory pumps, looking at the most common applications and the pumps that best support them. Discussion topics include:

  • What is the best pump type for my application?
  • What accessories are available to help me optimize the performance of the pump in my application?
  • What are the signs that my pump is in need of maintenance or repair?
  • And much more!


LOCATION

This exclusive, co-sponsored event will be held at KNF’s state-of-the-art, 50,000 square ft. manufacturing facility at Two Black Forest Road in Trenton, NJ.

SCHEDULE
5:30 pm – Mixer with drinks and appetizers, plant tours and product demos
6:30 pm – Dinner and presentation
7:30 pm – Coffee and dessert
Refreshments and dinner are complimentary. There will also be a drawing for door prizes.

PRESENTER
Roland Anderson is the Laboratory Products Manager and applications specialist at KNF Neuberger, Inc.

RSVP
Reservations are required, as seating is limited, so be sure to register now!

A Simple Lab Equipment Change with an Immediate, Positive Environmental Impact

Right now there is a considerable water shortage throughout the United States, particularly in California, and other Western states. Drought conditions and other environmental factors have wreaked havoc on local agriculture, while the growing water demand of a steadily increasing population has led to a severe water scarcity situation. Moreover, what is currently limited to the Western United States will soon extend throughout the entire country; according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office – 40 of 50 states have at least one region that’s expected to face some kind of water shortage within the next 10 years. This growing national emergency should serve as considerable cause for concern as there are few natural resources as vital to our very survival than water. This isn’t just a U.S. problem either. The water crisis is even worse in other parts of the world where the infrastructure to collect and/or distribute water is poor or non-existent. It would appear that this is, in fact, everybody’s problem.

water aspiratorThe good news is that, while everyone is affected by this water shortage, there are steps that anyone can take to help address and improve the issue. In fact, making one simple change to your laboratory equipment can help save over 50,000 gallons of water per year! In a recent article published by Laboratory Equipment, KNF Laboratory Products Manager, Roland Anderson explains why you should get rid of your water aspirator.

Read article: “Last Word: Why You Should Get Rid of Your Water Aspirator” (Laboratory Equipment, Sep. 2015) >>

Also notable: “Water Aspirators: Cheap Pumps with Environmental Impact and High Operating Costs” >>

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.

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.