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Older Than You Think! A Brief History of Microscopes.

white microscope

It has aged quite well. 

The microscope is centuries old. In the early writings of Roman philosophers, they mention “burning glass” which sounds like they were onto something big. The first invention to enhance small object observation was made in the late 1300s when two lenses were placed at opposite ends of a tube. This prototype launched what we know as the microscope. 

The Early Microscope History

During the 13th century, grinding glass for spectacles (glasses) and magnifying glasses was standard. In the late 16th century, Dutch lens makers designed devices that could magnify objects. In 1609, everything changed. Galileo perfected what was named the microscope. 

The compound microscope was invented by Dutch spectacle makers Zaccharias Janssen and Hans Lipperhey. They realized that placing different types and sizes of lenses on opposite ends of the tubes enlarged small objects. 

A New Discovery

In the late 16th century, while polishing and grinding lenses, Anton Van Leeuwenhoek discovered that specifically-shaped lenses increased an image’s size. His glass enlarged objects several times their size. The visual quality made it possible to see items at a microscopic level. Animals, bacteria, and the intricate details of everyday objects never before seen by the human eye were now clear and visible. Leeuwenhoek’s discovery made him the founder of microscopy, and his work was vital to developing cell theory. 

The Achromatic Lens

One hundred years passed before the microscope had its next significant improvement and solved a problem. Early models allowed light to refract when passing through the lenses, altering what images looked like rather than just enhancing their size. The achromatic lens, created for eyeglasses, improved the visual acuity of the microscope. 

Other Improvements

Changes abounded during the 18th and 19th centuries for the microscope in terms of housing, design, and quality. They became more stable, smaller, and visual acuity continued to improve. 

Several people contributed to its modern-day evolution. August Kohler invented uniform illumination allowing specimens to be photographed. Ernst Leitz figured out how to use different magnifications by putting multiple lenses on a turret that rotated at the end of the lens. Ernst Abbe discovered how to allow more light-spectrum colors to become visible. His design later led to the development of the ultraviolet telescope. 

Modern Microscope Technology

Thanks to the thinkers and inventors who saw ways to enhance its primitive design, the microscope has allowed scholars and students to study and discover the world around them. We can now see what was once unseen, which has led to the discovery of species, understanding bacteria, and cures for disease. Science––the world––is a better place thanks to the abilities and improvements of the microscope.

Ready for a microscope upgrade? BaneBio has been providing equipment to laboratories in the BioHealth Capital Region for over a decade. We are your trusted laboratory product provider that will meet and exceed your expectations. Don’t just buy your equipment anywhere. Trust BaneBio, your Lab Logistics experts. Contact us today!

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Manual-Fill vs. Automatic-Fill Dewars: What’s the Difference, and Why It Matters

scientist using cryogenic container

Cryogenic-storage options: decisions, decisions…

Labs make critical and calculated decisions daily, yet when it comes to choosing between a manual or automatic dewar system, investing depends on which type best suits your lab’s needs. 

What are liquid nitrogen dewars?

Liquid nitrogen dewars, invented by Sir. James Dewar of London in 1892, allows fluids to be maintained at low temperatures for a certain amount of time. Over the years, the dewar system has seen several iterations, innovations, and is simple in construction and design. The non-pressurized, air-jacketed structure includes two or more layers that are vacuum-sealed to prevent leaks, providing safety and thermal retention insulation. These freezers store tissues, cells, or other samples at temperatures reaching a frosty -196℃. The dewar has a loose-fitting plug or cap that is movable, preventing moisture and air from entering the chamber yet allowing liquid nitrogen evaporation. 

Manual-fill pros and cons

For the basic manual-fill dewar, the biggest win is its cost-effectiveness. The simple design means fewer problems with the freezer’s function. Once the tank is manually filled to the desired level, checking for evaporation rates, signs of frost on the outside of the tank, and monitoring for leaks is all it takes to keep it running in top form. Space within a lab is a precious commodity. These systems typically take up less real estate than their autofill counterpart by not requiring LN2 storage directly next to the freezer. 

One of the downsides of manual-fill systems includes checking liquid nitrogen numbers daily. The liquid nitrogen is generally topped off every two weeks, depending on how the freezer is accessed to retrieve items inside. Levels must be constantly watched, meaning there’s more room for error, which can affect samples. While investing in a monitoring system can help you keep an eye on LN2 tank levels, temperatures still must be monitored. That additional process equals time and energy that could be spent focused on other lab tasks. 

Autofill pros and cons

The name says it all: autofill systems do the heavy lifting for you. A liquid nitrogen source is connected to the tank and maintains LN2 levels automatically. Visual and audible alarms will alert if there is a system malfunction. Autofill also provides greater capacity to store LN2, alleviating the constant fear of running low. 

Here’s where autofill systems become tricky: there must always be an LN2 source stocked and functioning. Without it, the temperature could be compromised, leaving stored samples in a precarious situation. Autofill systems are pricier and they require more work to install and get running. Configuring the condensation collection system for moisture that pools on the transfer hose and installing the pressure regulator requires precision and accuracy for the system to work correctly. The investment in an autofill system can be hefty as can the uptick in electricity usage—huge considerations when considering budgets and the bottom line. 

Which is the system for you?

When you’re unsure which cryogenic system works best for your space, or an upgrade is in your future, let BaneBio help you sort through the details and secure the right storage for your lab’s needs!

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Labs on the Move: Things to Consider When Moving Your Lab

two scientists packing up lab equipment

Moving is never easy. A residential move is considered one of the most stressful life events, so how much more stressful is it to move an entire laboratory full of equipment and employees to a new location? BaneBio makes the process a lot easier, starting with these eleven things to consider when moving your lab.

1. Timeline Flexibility

Be prepared for timelines to shift due to supply chain-related delays, difficulty in identifying quality service providers, and the labor market. Although workarounds are possible, unforeseen issues do occur, which means having some level of flexibility or contingency options built into the timeline can make a difference.

2. Facility Constraints

When deciding to relocate your entire lab, the built-in constraints of the facility should be considered.

  • Are the hallways wide enough for large equipment? 
  • Are the doors to the labs standard or lab ready? 
  • Does the facility have a loading dock or dedicated shipping/receiving area which is accessible by tractor-trailers?  
  • Does the facility loading dock require appointments for pickups/deliveries?  
  • If the facility is a multi-level building, is there a dedicated service elevator? 
  • Is the building secure?  
  • Does the facility provide the lab services, equipment, and amenities your organization needs to succeed and reach its next growth stage? 
  • Does the facility provide space and financial options suitable for expansion? 

Keeping these factors in mind can help you narrow down your decisions when choosing a new location.

3. Electrical Planning

There are many different types of lab equipment used in a biotech lab, with a variety of power requirements and plug adapters. Be sure to install proper outlets for the plugs with your equipment and, most importantly, be sure there is enough power in your lab to support the equipment you will be using. Often, insufficient power and inappropriate outlets are the top reasons for delays in getting your new lab up and running. 

4. Choosing a Lab Moving Service Provider

Let’s face it: Moving sucks and moving an R&D lab really sucks. Mapping out your move and connecting with the right moving partner can make the move suck a lot less.  

First, start with identifying and engaging with at least three laboratory moving service providers.  Talk through your move and be sure to ask questions of the prospective movers to achieve a level of trust and understanding of the scope of services required. As part of the process, ask the movers for references from previous lab moves. 

It’s best to understand the capabilities of the movers and the material handling equipment which will be used for moving specific types of equipment, such as biosafety cabinets, incubators, centrifuges, analytical instrumentation, and liquid handlers.  

Keep in mind that relocation pricing should not be the primary factor in your choice of laboratory moving service providers. The equipment in your lab is critical to your operation and requires movers with specialized processes to keep your equipment intact and operational after the move.   

5. Moving Preparations

Assign one person to be tasked with being the coordinator for the move. Having one point of contact between the lab and the moving company eliminates confusion, frustrations, and mistakes. The assigned coordinator should provide the moving company with a map of the new lab, including proposed locations for all equipment, supplies, and office furniture which are being moved. Any equipment, supplies, or furniture which are not to be moved or will be disposed of or sold should be marked.   

Equipment that is under the manufacturer service contract should be coordinated with the manufacturer to ensure the equipment is properly shut down and prepared for relocation. 

6. Pre-Move Packing

Use the days or week before the move to ‘pre-pack’ as much as possible. Employee desk contents and personal items, office items, kitchen items, lab consumables, and lab drawers are items to be considered for pre-packing. Partnering with a lab moving service provider that issues carts, cages, crates, and packaging for the pre-packing process can be a time saver. 

7. Use and Occupancy

The new lab is almost finished, and there is anxiety, anticipation, and excitement for the team to be in the new lab. There is, however, one critical missing piece that is required before the team can use the new lab: the Certificate of Use and Occupancy or, depending on the jurisdiction of your new facility, the Certificate of Occupancy.  

This is one item that can be an afterthought during the process of relocation but without this certificate, there is no occupancy or use of the new lab.  

The responsibility for this certificate usually falls to the general contractor, property owner, or builder of the new lab. Connect with them and make sure all is in order before you move in.

8. Moving Day

The big day has finally arrived. The moving company’s project manager and your assigned moving coordinator have worked out the details, and it’s time to act. 

It’s important for the success of the relocation project to keep all areas where the movers need to move equipment clear. Hallways and doorways should be clear of all barriers and obstacles to allow the movers to move efficiently.  

9. During the Move

While the move is happening, resist the urge to manage the proceedings and let the movers concentrate on moving the equipment. Any questions should be funneled through the moving coordinator.  

If anything needs to be relocated, it will be done when the moving company can accommodate the request. You hired the professionals to handle your move, so trust them to take care of everything.

10. After the Move

As the company settles into its new surroundings, some follow-up items may surface that need to be addressed with the moving company. Items such as missing boxes, equipment, or requests for items to be adjusted, shifted, or relocated should be consolidated and then provided to the company coordinator for follow-up with the moving company. 

11. Project Completion

The company coordinator and moving company project manager should discuss the move in detail to be sure the company is satisfied and the scope of the service has been completed.  The moving company should provide a summary of the services they provided, noting any items of relevance to the final invoice. 

Let BaneBio Take the Stress out of Your Laboratory Move

BaneBio has provided complete relocation services to laboratories in the BioHealth Capital Region for over a decade. We are your trusted laboratory moving service provider with the equipment knowledge, proper equipment handling materials, and proven customer satisfaction that will meet and exceed your expectations.  

Don’t just let any moving company move your valuable scientific equipment; trust BaneBio, the Lab Logistics experts! Contact us now for your laboratory moving needs.

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Things to Consider When Buying a Microscope

black and white microscope

If you’re looking to add a new microscope to your lab, you’ve likely discovered it’s not always easy to figure out the best model for your needs. You can begin to narrow down your choices by identifying exactly what you’ll be viewing with the new equipment. Once you’ve done that, the other pieces will fall in place.

Here are a few things to consider.

1. Longevity 

You’ll be using the microscope frequently, so make sure you choose one that’s made of durable materials, such as metallic alloys, and that all joints are fastened with metal screws. The microscope’s finish should be resistant to reagents and easily cleaned. Once purchased, make sure to add the equipment to your lab’s preventive maintenance list.

2. Lighting

You’ll see many lighting options when buying a microscope, including fluorescent, incandescent tungsten-halogen halogen bulbs, and LED illuminators. 

Tungsten-halogen bulbs can become hot during use. By comparison, fluorescent and LED lighting systems emit low heat, which makes them better choices for viewing samples that may be affected by the environment.

3. The Stage

A mechanical stage is usually a better choice than a manual one, especially when viewing at high magnifications. Mechanical stages allow easier slide adjustment in a fine differential, making the tracking of moving organisms more effective.

4. Digital Microscopes

Digital microscopes can be compound or stereo. They allow users to capture video or still images for display on a computer. These microscopes contain software for zoom, time-lapse photography, editing, and special effects.

5. Compound or Stereo?

The choice between a compound or stereo microscope depends on what you’ll be viewing. Stereo microscopes are used to view larger 3-D objects like insects, minerals, or mechanical pieces. Compound microscopes are better suited for applications involving high magnification for forensic or biology labs, such as viewing tissue samples and cells.

Compound microscopes can be monocular or binocular, and usually feature several objective lenses that can be selected to increase magnification. 

Stereo microscopes are a popular choice for the classroom and the hobbyist because they’re easier to set up and use. However, for the close-up magnification required in most laboratory settings, a compound microscope is the better choice. 

6. Chromatic Aberration Correction

The most common objective for lab microscopes is the achromatic objective. These are corrected for aberrations in the blue and red wavelengths and are also spherically corrected for green. While the most affordable option, its limited correction can lead to artifacts. Note that If the objective isn’t specified, it is achromatic.

Semi-apochromats, or fluorites, are the second objectives on this list. While more expensive than achromatic objectives, they have additional spherical corrections for blue. Fluorites are a better choice for recording and color viewing.

Apochromats are the most expensive objective, but they’re the most highly corrected of the three options. These are chromatically adjusted for blues and dark blues, red, and green. They’re spherically corrected for blue, deep blue, and green. The apochromatic is by far the superior choice for color viewing.

Look for objectives that boast plan correction, as these offer a 90% flat display for a larger field of vision.

New or Used?

One consideration when buying your microscope is price. If your budget is more limited, you can purchase a refurbished, used microscope from BaneBio. We can even purchase your older microscope, or take it in trade for your new purchase. 

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. With over 14 years of experience, we have the expertise to help you choose the perfect microscope for your lab and your teams.

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Top 5 Cold Storage Unit Best Practices

scientist handling cold storage unit

Your cold storage units are the unsung heroes in your lab. They’re the pieces of equipment you never think about until they stop working.

Here are five best practices for your cold storage units:

1. Make Sure The Cold Storage Unit is Evenly Stocked

An improperly stocked freezer is prone to extreme temperature shifts when the doors are opened. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep the equipment at least 30% full if possible. If this isn’t possible, add a few gel packs or sealed water bottles to keep the temperatures consistent.

Conversely, don’t overstock your cold storage. Not only will this block airflow inside the unit, it will cause your staff to keep the doors open longer searching for items. 

Avoid stocking materials that are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations on the top or bottom shelf of the unit. Instead, place them on the middle shelves of the unit to help them maintain a steady temperature.

2. Keep Your Cold Storage Equipment Cleaned and Sanitized

The best way to discourage bacterial contamination in your cold storage units is to make sure they are regularly cleaned and disinfected. A soft rag and a neutral cleaner is best for this task.

If possible, remove shelves and wipe them down, allowing them to dry completely before returning them to the unit. Clean both the interior and the exterior of the unit, paying attention to the coils as well.

To properly clean the condenser coils, use a vacuum, air jet, or a dry brush. Clean coils keep the heat exchanger working optimally, increasing the lifespan of the equipment while reducing its energy usage.

Never use bleach or harsh disinfectants that could potentially harm your equipment.

3. Frost Control

While no laboratory wants to place a cold storage unit out of service, it’s necessary to schedule a defrost at least once per year, or whenever the frost is more than one centimeter thick. This increases the unit’s energy efficiency and ensures an even temperature. Use this time to check all gaskets and door seals to make sure they’re still sealing properly.

4. Labels Facing Out

Position all items in cold storage with the labels facing out to ensure staff can quickly find what they’re looking for. This helps reduce the amount of time the unit’s doors are open. Discourage random repositioning of stored items. Your lab may even benefit from a spreadsheet that outlines where items are stored in the unit.

5. Replace Cold Storage Units In Time

As cold storage units age, they’ll become increasingly unreliable and consume more energy. You may find your lab is frequently repairing older units. As a rule, the average lifespan of a cold storage unit is twelve to fifteen years. If your equipment is nearing its end of life, consider purchasing a new one or replacing it with a newer used one.

BaneBio is Your Partner for New and Used Cold Storage Equipment

If it’s time to replace your lab freezer or refrigerator, BaneBio has the products you need. Whether you’re looking at a new piece or a certified used piece, browse our products and find your perfect replacement. We accept trade-ins and purchase used lab equipment as well. Reach out to us and learn more!

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Is Buying Used Laboratory Equipment the Right Choice for Your Lab?

 

Every lab has faced major breakdowns in lab equipment, leaving them to wonder if it’s easier to repair it or replace it. Many times, managers operating on a limited budget may find themselves throwing money into repair after costly repair because replacement equipment is too costly. There may be a solution, however; most lab equipment can be found used, in perfect operating order, and far cheaper than a new piece. Of course, there are concerns with buying used lab equipment: is it reliable? Is it covered under warranty? What should labs do with the equipment they’re replacing? Here are some things to consider when making the decision to purchase.

Refurbished, Reconditioned, or Remanufactured? 

When shopping for used lab equipment, you may see several descriptions such as refurbished, reconditioned, and remanufactured. While each term means the same thing as far as the reliability of used lab equipment, they mean slightly different things in the path to the equipment’s resale certification.

  • Remanufactured equipment has been tested for reliability, often with nearly all components replaced to bring it back to nearly new condition
  • Reconditioned lab equipment means equipment that was returned to full functionality after being turned over by a previous owner due to issues, and is available for resale after any broken components are repaired or replaced.
  • Refurbished equipment is equipment that was turned over in good condition. It is fully checked by technicians, who replace or repair components that show signs of wear.

Each piece of equipment offered for resale should be inspected, guaranteed to be fully functional, calibrated to peak efficiency and accuracy, and should offer a warranty. Never purchase any equipment that is offered “as is,” even if the price seems to be right. “As is” equipment can’t be guaranteed for accuracy or reliability.

Benefits of Buying Used Laboratory Equipment for Your Lab

You have a choice when faced with broken or outdated equipment. You can continue pouring money into repairs, purchase a new replacement, or find a used lab equipment dealer near you who can offer the same piece for far less than purchasing it new. Of the three choices, purchasing used equipment is generally the safest and most cost efficient option. Here are just a few benefits of used equipment.

1. Eco-Friendly Solution

You don’t often put “eco-friendly” and “lab equipment” in the same sentence, but purchasing used is a great way to recycle. Buying this equipment used means saving the resources necessary to manufacture it, and trading in your old equipment for a replacement is a great way to keep the recycle-cycle going.

2. Get a Jump on Devaluation

As with anything, lab equipment begins to depreciate the moment it leaves the manufacturer’s floor. Purchasing used means that you’re already paying the “depreciated value” of the equipment, and will allow you to resell it much closer to the price you paid for it. New equipment will drop in value significantly within the first few years of ownership, meaning that you will take a larger financial hit should you need to resell it.

3. Saves Delivery Time

Purchasing new lab equipment frequently comes with an extended wait time. Depending on what you need, you could be looking at weeks or even months before you receive your order. Used equipment is usually available immediately, meaning your lab will not suffer significant loss of productivity while waiting for it. 

4. Budget Friendly

It’s estimated that buying used lab equipment can save buyers between 40% and 60% when compared to buying new. This is a welcome piece of news for any budget, with those savings being better spent elsewhere. Replacing frequently malfunctioning equipment with used is also a far more budget-friendly option than paying service calls, emergency repair fees, and parts and labor to nurse equipment at its end-of-life to remain serviceable. Frequent equipment breakdowns not only hurt your budget, they hurt your productivity, too, and may disrupt the accuracy of your research.

5. Trade-Ins Eliminate the Off-Loading Dilemma

You’ll find that dealers in used equipment will offer fair prices on trade-ins and even surplus equipment. That’s because these dealers know that they will be able to inspect, service, and repair the equipment for resale…after all, it’s what they do. Trading in your old equipment for new equipment may not afford the same fair pricing, depending on the supplier’s policies. Ultimately, you want a good price for your old equipment and you need it out of the lab as quickly as possible, not just collecting dust and taking up valuable storage space.

Do Your Research When Purchasing Used Lab Equipment

Buying used lab equipment is safe when the dealer is reputable, but how do you choose a trusted supplier and appropriate equipment? 

    • Customer testimonials: Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and even reach out to some of the previous buyers to make sure they are legitimate.
    • Google reviews: Google is a reliable source of reviews, fully exposing the good and the not-so-good experiences of real buyers with a business.
    • Word of mouth: Ask fellow facilities if they have had experience with purchasing used lab equipment, and what company they would recommend.
    • Warranties: Only do business with a company that stands behind its equipment with warranties, and make sure to check for additional warranties from the manufacturer.
    • Integration: Any new-to-you equipment must have an ability to be fully integrated into your own environment. Avoid equipment that is near-obsolete or nearing its end of life.
  • Service agreements: Make sure the company selling the equipment is willing to perform preventive maintenance and service it if it breaks down. The seller/buyer relationship should not end when you finalize the sale.

BaneBio is a trusted source for your used lab equipment, offering a 14-day money-back guarantee on our entire line of products. All used equipment is quality tested by our highly trained service technicians for proper operation and functionality, and backed by our standard 30-day warranty. We also purchase your lab equipment, or use it as trade-in for used or new equipment. Ready to see how BaneBio’s used lab equipment can save your lab time and money? Contact us now.