Careful storage and preservation of valuable laboratory samples are key to groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in biomedical research laboratories and healthcare facilities. While a typical kitchen refrigerator might offer a solution, it falls short when faced with the stringent requirements of a laboratory setting. This is where a laboratory refrigerator emerges as a vital asset. What are laboratory refrigerators and medical freezers in Canada? How do they ensure the safety, reliability, and integrity of invaluable samples and materials in your facility? In this blog, we will explore the remarkable benefits of using a lab-grade refrigerator and what you should look for when buying a refrigerator for laboratory use.
What Are Laboratory Refrigerators?Designed for storing biomedical materials, critical research, and medical samples, laboratory refrigerators and freezers provide a safe and reliable cold storage solution at a constant temperature of +4°C. There are various types of laboratory refrigerators with different temperature ranges. They include:
- Conservation refrigerators (operate in the range of 0° C to 8° C)
- Low-temperature refrigerators (operate in the range of 0° C to -30° C)
- Ultra low-temperature refrigerators (operate in the range of 0° C to -86° C)
Main Components of Laboratory RefrigeratorsFor laboratory personnel to effectively operate laboratory refrigerators, they must know the critical components and functions of these appliances. Let's explore the main parts.
- Conservation cabinet - This cabinet is typically located below the evaporator. It is where substances and samples are stored at specific temperatures different from the general temperature of the refrigerator. It often includes shelves for organized storage.
- Evaporator - The evaporator, found in the upper part of the refrigerator cabinet, acts as a heat exchanger. It transfers thermal energy from the medium to be cooled to the circulating refrigerant fluid. It maintains a temperature below 0°C, although it can reach 5°C up to 30°C.
- Thermostat - This part enables control of the cooling system and regulates the temperature inside the refrigerator.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Laboratory Refrigerator?
Discover the remarkable advantages of incorporating a laboratory refrigerator into your scientific or medical setup as we explore the numerous benefits it offers:
1. Preservation of sensitive materials in a safe, controlled environment
As outlined, laboratory refrigerators play a vital role in safeguarding delicate biological samples, including blood, tissue cultures, and DNA. With precise temperature control, these refrigerators maintain the integrity and stability of stored samples, ensuring their viability for future analysis and experimentation.
2. Prevention of bacteria growth
In addition to preserving sensitive samples, laboratory freezers also serve as a defence against bacterial growth. Bacteria is a common source of biological contamination in laboratories, capable of distorting test and experiment results and posing health and safety risks. Fortunately, laboratory refrigerators excel at averting such contamination by maintaining consistent and low temperatures, significantly impeding bacteria growth.
3. Accuracy of temperature monitoring and alarms
By closely monitoring and maintaining the correct temperature range, laboratory refrigerators prevent excursions—temperature readings outside the manufacturer's approved ranges. Temperature fluctuations can destroy biological materials and render vaccinations ineffective. It is recommended to use Temperature Monitoring Devices (TMDs) with digital data loggers (DDL) for monitoring vaccination temperatures to ensure reliable temperature monitoring. This enables accurate tracking of temperature variations and provides timely alarms or alerts if the temperature deviates from the desired range. This allows prompt action to preserve the integrity of stored vaccines and medications.
4. Prevention of illegal access to biologics
Laboratory refrigerators provide enhanced security measures to prevent unauthorized access commonly associated with household refrigerators used in medical settings. These purpose-built units feature digital locks, restricting access to authorized personnel. Additionally, advanced security systems in laboratory refrigerators continuously monitor storage conditions. They detect temperature fluctuations, alerting personnel to issues like overstocking or opening doors that could jeopardize sample preservation. By promptly identifying potential problems, these refrigerators minimize sample loss and reduce material waste caused by improper storage conditions.
5. Protection from temperature fluctuations during power outages
Power outages pose a significant risk to vaccine supplies. While most institutions have on-site generators to power their equipment, lab refrigerators and freezers offer additional protection. During power outages, these specialized units can use backup battery power sources instead of generators. This ensures continuous temperature control and safeguards against temperature excursions that could compromise the efficacy of stored vaccines and other sensitive materials.
6. Controlled moisture level
Dehumidification or anti-frost fans can help regulate moisture levels in laboratory refrigerators. This results in a drier environment ideal for storing moisture-sensitive materials, dried reagents, and samples that can be easily contaminated by excess moisture.
7. Consistent cold chain
Maintaining a consistent cold chain is crucial to protect the integrity and effectiveness of biological materials, including blood transfusions, vaccines, and treatments. Medical-grade refrigerators play a vital role in maintaining the cold chain by keeping temperatures steady, preventing spoilage and ensuring the efficacy of stored materials. Medical facilities can further safeguard the cold chain by implementing proper inventory control measures and training employees on handling biologics effectively.
8. Improved airflow and ventilation
Refrigerators and freezers used in laboratories have strong air circulation systems and strategically placed air cooling vents to promote improved airflow and ventilation within the storage compartments. These functionalities aid in maintaining consistent temperature distribution and reducing variations, ultimately resulting in optimum storage conditions for the materials kept inside.
Key Considerations for Choosing a Laboratory Refrigerator
Energy efficiencyChoose a refrigerator or freezer with low power consumption to save energy.
Maximum cooling efficiency
An efficient refrigeration system allows the unit to reach and maintain the desired temperature quickly and effectively.
Ensure the laboratory refrigerator or freezer has a well-insulated door with a magnetic gasket seal. Insulation prevents temperature fluctuations caused by external factors, while magnetic gaskets minimize warm air entry and maintain temperature stability.
User-friendly and intuitive controls
When choosing a refrigerator or freezer, select one with straightforward and easy-to-use controls. A digital control panel with clear temperature displays and intuitive settings can make operating it a breeze. With intuitive controls, you can effortlessly adjust the temperature to ensure optimal storage for medical samples. Laboratory refrigerators bring many benefits specifically designed for scientific research needs, medical clinics, and healthcare facilities. These specialized units provide your laboratory with a safe and controlled environment to preserve sensitive materials, prevent bacterial growth, and ensure accurate temperature monitoring through advanced alarm systems.
Investing in a high-quality unit is the right way to go when you need refrigerators for the laboratory. Considering the factors stated above and knowing more about lab refrigerator uses and benefits, you can preserve and protect your valuable samples and specimens and pave the way for groundbreaking discoveries and experiments in healthcare.
Get high-quality laboratory refrigerators and freezers at 360 Degree Medical. We’re a leading Canadian distributor, offering innovative products tailored to the scientific and medical communities. From ultra-low freezers to blood bank equipment, we’ve got you covered. Explore our curated range of medical equipment or call us at +1-800-209-2082 for inquiries.