Lab Washers: To Centralize or Not To Centralize?

 The question of limited access or general access to laboratory goods and services applies to a range of instruments, utilities, and competencies. These questions take on added significance for midsized or larger labs.

Whether to employ central washing stations or point-of-use washers located under a lab bench or in a corner is also something that has to be addressed with regards to laboratory glassware washers. The former provide an economy of scale and are popular with lab workers who, almost universally, hate to “wash the dishes.”

The downside for central washing stations is that glassware tends to disappear over time, due to breakage and operator error. Nobody cares if they lose a beaker or Erlenmeyer flask. The problem arises with specialty glassware such as distillation heads or Soxhlet extractors, or custom-blown glassware, which is expensive and can take days and many dollars to replace.

Jenny Sprung, a product manager at Labconco (Kansas City, MO), notes that washing stations can take many hours or days to return glassware. “Central glassware washing is great in principle, but if you rely on it and the person in charge of collecting glassware and running the washer is out, you can have a very long wait.”

Point-of-use washers provide a level of control that central stations do not.

Workers can, for example, set the machine to run overnight and then return to a fresh set of sparkling glassware the next day. And, at the very least, if that $500 condenser is reduced to sand because it banged around inside the washer, they’ll know who to blame.

Read more at Lab Manager Magazine

View our Lab Glassware Washers category on LabWrench