Discussion Category: Centrifuge
I have a lab that has requested to have the oil changed in an Optima TL and TLX. What type of oil is used? What is the procedure?
First, take a look in the operator's manual and you should find a consumable parts listing in the back. I will say that you should check around the centrifuge as there may either be old oil bottles around with the part number on them or there may even be some unused oil vacuum pump oil tucked behind the centrifuge. If you're changing the vacuum pump oil then you should also change the diffusion pump oil, vacuum hoses, and the vacuum pump filter. Be advised that you will probably have some sticker shock as to the price of the diffusion pump oil but do not just ignore replacing that oil too as it can have a profound impact on the vacuum system's performance. All of those items are normally replaced as part of a preventative maintenance service. The procedure for performing the vacuum pump oil change and preventative maintenance is not really difficult but since I have no idea what your technical skills are or what experience you have with this model of centrifuge I'm not sure just how much I need to tell you about performing this service. There are several "service tips" relative to just taking the centrifuge apart but if you have no experience then you might not understand what I'm trying to tell you about the procedures. So, a little personal background would be helpful before we go any further.
I'm a BMET with 13+ yrs of experience, but not much with this device. If I have the parts to install I would certainally be able to figure it out. I'm trying to decide if this is something we can perform and provide an estimate for service for one of our labs or just call in a Beckman tech..
After being told the price of the manual yesterday I don't doubt that the price will be costly. The OM I downloaded from their web site doesn't list the diffusion pump or the vacuum hoses & filter. To the best of your knowledge are the parts the same for a TL and a TLX ?
Joe, Since I don't know where you are located, I'm not sure what the service costs would be for Beckman to come out to service the centrifuge but at travel and labor costs around $350/hour you're probably looking at around $1,400 for 2 hours of travel and 2 hours of labor plus any parts which should be minimal compared to the labor and travel costs. If the centrifuge is functional as is right now and considering the cost to have Beckman come out to service it then you might want to consider getting a quote for a service agreement because it may be more cost effective in the short term. Frequently when agreements are sold such that you can get the PM performed immediately and that will take care of the immediate basic service issues. Remeber, when you're dealing with Beckman that you should try to negotiate some of the upfromt agreement costs as they will want to charge you for a pre-inspection of the centrifuge. Get them to include that in the basic cost of the agreement. There are always deals to be made with them.
I'm sure that you have enough experience to handle the service but taking an Optima TL or TLX apart to actually service it properly is not necessarily intuitive. There are little gotchas that can make the job a literal pain if you're not careful. It is serviceable but it was not necessarily designed for "ease" of service.
If you're talking about an Optima TL or TLX then the service parts are all common between the two models. If you're referring to an original TL100 series centrifuge then the vacuum system plumbing will be different but the service parts will be the same. I can probably come up with the necessary part numbers for you but I no longer have access to the pricing for those parts since I retired. Let me know how you want to proceed and we'll go from there.
The lab had rerceived a quote from Beckman and forwarded it on to me. You're right, they state that each device will need to be inspected prior to the agreement becoming effective, depending on the issues found the inspection visit maybe considered a PM visit under the agreement.
I was hoping that a parts list may have been included on the quote, so much for hoping. I certainally think I can handle the PM services on these devices. Thanks for the info and insight. I may decide to do an eval visit to check the vacuum lines prior to scheduling the PM service.
Joe, The TLX centrifuge has two vacuum hoses. The one from the inlet of the vacuum pump to the diffusion pump will be the most likely to be cracked if it hasn't been replaced at all. The reason that it cracks is because of the relatively high heat in and around the vacuum pump and the vacuum pump itself will get VERY hot under normal operation. There is also a short piece of thick walled vacuum hose that goes between the diffusion pump and the vacuum chamber fitting. It too can crack and you may actually have to slice into the hose in order to remove it from the fittings. If you see oil in the vacuum pump filter then it absolutely needs to be replaced. If you elect to proceed then we can go from there.
How do you add the oil to the Diff pump? I see the drain on the bottom, but if you tip the pump up side down the oil would leak out. I imagine that the oil would be added from the top.
Joe, You pretty much have it figured out. You can drain the oil by removing the drain plug OR you can just remove the diff pump and tip it over to removw the oil. It's a lot quicker and less messy but after oil appears to stop coming out, turn it right side up, wait a minute and then tip it over again to remove any remaining oil. Then refill it with the correct volume of oil, there should be a label near the power switch which lists the volumes for both pumps. Hope this helps.
Thanks again Don,
I'm guessing that one of the two devices has had the vacuum pump replaced as it was an Edwards pump. I did notice the data tag for the oil volumes. It looks like the drive motor should have it's oil changed as well. How is this performed and are there any other items that should be done as part of routine maintenance?
Joe, With all due respect, DO NOT mess with the dreive oil. Unless you are seeing a lot of oil in the chamber, chances are that you do not need to worry about this service item. It is not a difficult procedure to perform but it is best to leave the drive assembly alone unless you absolutely have to.
As to the vacuum pump issue, there were several different models of vacuum pumps utilized in that series of centrifuges and Edwards was certainly one of them. The diffusion pump is the silverish assembly in the left rear of the centrifuge. There is no need to preheat the oil prior to replacement of the oil. In facty, the diffusion pump heater actually starts heating up as soon as the vacuum system comes on. It just does not come on at full power until a run is called for. If you understand the LED's on the power chassis, the board that sits underneath the console assembly, there are LED's there that indicate what's going on during a run.
Anyway, I hope this information helps you out and please feel free to ask whatever you want relative to this or any other Beckman centrifuge, spectrophotometer or liquid scintillation counter.
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