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How A Lab Freeze Dryer Maximises Your Efficiency

In today’s fast-paced realm of scientific research, achieving efficiency isn’t just a goal. It’s a necessity. Streamlined laboratory testing is what empowers medical researchers and scientists to find answers in the soonest time possible. And having the right lab freeze dryer is a key component of that efficiency.

Flo-Max’s extensive work with laboratories across Australia has allowed us to see firsthand how effective a well chosen lab freeze dryer is in streamlining research processes. In fact, a few well-positioned freeze dryers have helped laboratories find cures to dangerous diseases — and thus, saved thousands of lives.

Here’s a closer look at how these innovative machines can transform your lab operations.

Lyophilisation: An Essential (Yet Challenging) Laboratory Process

safely freeze dried tissue virus sample
Lab freeze dryer efficiency was vital to the development of vaccines and antiviral medications for SARS-CoV-2.

Much of laboratory-based scientific research requires the use of tissue samples and other biological materials. While these materials are perishable, it is essential that their integrity is maintained to avoid compromising research test results.

The best way to preserve such samples is through freeze-drying or lyophilisation. Lyophilisation is a multi-stage process of removing water from a product by freezing and subjecting it to a vacuum. That forces the water to sublimate or freeze and evaporate without melting into a liquid.

Aside from preserving lab test samples, lyophilisation is used to increase the stability and shelf life of blood plasma, drugs and other pharmaceutical products. It can also preserve the nutritional content and texture of ingredients for food product development tests.

However, lyophilisation is time-consuming and tedious. Doing it with old or makeshift equipment is out of the question, as that will only make your tests prone to errors. To meet the standards of research, you need a machine that can automate the whole freeze-drying process.

This is why a laboratory freeze dryer is essential.

The Time-Saving Features and Benefits of Lab Freeze-Dryers

The best lab freeze dryers provide you with automated drying cycles, vacuum freezing and defrosting capabilities — all electronically programmed via a user-friendly interface screen. This means you can set your parameters, start the process, and move on to other tasks without the constant need to monitor the cycle. It’s this ‘set-and-forget’ feature that enables researchers to multitask effectively, ensuring no moment is wasted.

Here are the main benefits these features can bring to your lab operations.

1. Seamless Integration Into Lab Workflows

easy freeze drying nutritional drug additives test experiment
Lab freeze dryers allow pharmaceutical companies to work out new drug production processes (e.g., plant-derived bioactive compounds, superfood-based nutritional additives) on a smaller scale and conduct trials.

In our experience, it’s the best-designed lab freeze-dryer that seamlessly integrates into everyday lab workflows. Good design means fitting the latest freeze-drying pump engineering into the most compact or optimally sized space possible.

Compact freeze dryers shouldn’t intrude on your valuable lab space, which is often at a premium. They should work efficiently in the background, defrosting quickly between cycles and ensuring your next batch of samples is ready without delay. No drastic changes to your workflows are needed. This is what saves you and your team a lot of time and effort in improving efficiency.

Example application: Pharmaceutical product tests

Laboratory freeze dryers (standing units or benchtop models) are indispensable when it comes to developing pharmaceuticals. These are needed for freeze-drying components (e.g., botanicals, probiotics) of any small ‘pilot’ batch of new drugs, for use in pre-clinical and clinical trials.

2. User-Friendly Interfaces For All Skill Levels

test new food product development freeze dried ingredient
With lab freeze dryers, food product development teams can remain confident about the nutritional value of the recipes (e.g., freeze-dried dog food) they formulate and test in the laboratory.

Not everyone in your lab has extensive experience in industrial freeze-drying. We’ve seen people of varying backgrounds (including scientists and medical doctors) struggle and get frustrated with electronic equipment.

That’s why your lab’s freeze dryers must have intuitive, easily understood user interfaces. The most durable and user-friendly controls on a freeze dryer are usually touch screens. These should provide clear, concise instructions and descriptions for each feature or option.

Example application: Food product development

People engaged in the food industry often have extensive experience in food production management, nutrition and the culinary arts — but not in laboratory equipment operation. When they work on product development, they need to focus on creating formulas and recipes (e.g., pet food, natural ice cream flavours, ready-to-use superfood powders, new fast foods) that appeal to their target consumers and can be efficiently mass-produced.

A freeze dryer that’s a pleasure to operate won’t get in the way. You want to conduct speedy product tests and meet production deadlines without worrying over freeze-drying equipment.

3. Consistent Results You Can Rely On

consistent freeze drying biological samples
As biochemical research becomes more demanding, your lab’s freeze-drying technology must keep pace — or the speed and reliability of your findings will suffer.

Lab freeze dryers should be reliable. The engineering should be durable and easy to maintain. It should give you precise control over every stage of the lyophilisation process and deliver consistent freeze-drying results every time.

That precision is what allows you to have freeze-dried material with consistent quality in every batch. That means consistent effects on every test production or experiment you conduct.

Example application: Scientific research

Accuracy and repeatability are the pillars of scientific research (e.g., biochemistry). That requires precise control over the components of every experiment or test. That includes controlling the quality of any perishable or biological material involved.

Freeze-drying samples of such materials helps maintain their integrity. This helps make the test or experiment reliable and accurate, and their results (and your conclusions) valid.

Additional Tips For Optimising Your Lab Freeze Dryer Efficiency

vacuum pump lab freeze dryer efficiency
One of Flo-Max’s small-scale freeze dryers (FFHD / FFLD model)
  • First, choose the right lab freeze-dryer model based on your largest and most difficult freeze-drying work. Will a benchtop freeze dryer suffice? Or will a larger standing unit be better? Do you need one that is stationary or movable? Also, consider whether the materials and tools you work with require a freeze dryer with integrated shelves or flasks (that can withstand pressures from a vacuum).
  • Choose the right area for your freeze dryer. In your laboratory, where would the optimal position for your freeze dryer be? Consider how close or far the unit should be from other work sections. Think of how you can maintain safety (e.g., avoiding accidental solvent or acid spills), work efficiency (i.e., proximity to other work tables), and comfort (i.e., distancing from the freeze dryer’s heat and noise).
  • Follow your freeze-dryer manual’s recommendations for proper use. Make sure all lab employees stick to the rules of use and operate the unit with care (e.g., gently releasing the vacuum pump when retrieving freeze-dried samples). Avoid freeze-drying strong organic solvents as much as possible, as not all of these may sublimate and may instead damage your freeze-dryer’s inner components over time. Always check if the tubing is attached to the appliance and the vacuum pump; check for vacuum leaks.
  • Schedule regular maintenance. Keep the external and internal sections of the unit clean. Fully thaw and drain the chiller periodically. Learn how to properly change the vacuum pump oil, if and when needed.
  • Troubleshoot any problems with the freeze-dryer manufacturer. When in doubt, consult their technicians. Choose a company that has good customer service and tech support for its freeze dryers.

Conclusion

A lab freeze dryer plays a pivotal role in maximising efficiency in any laboratory. Choose the right freeze-dryer model and you can make that technology enhance your research work.

Flo-Max delivers lab freeze-dryer efficiency

Our freeze dryer experts have decades of experience supporting (not just selling!) Australian labs with freeze dryers, and the feedback we get from clients is always about how much work time they save.

That’s because Flo-Max is a leader in innovative pump engineering. We are your Australian experts in vacuum pumps and freeze-dry systems. We understand the intricacies of lyophilisation. We’ve applied this knowledge to our freeze dryers to ensure they meet the high standards your research requires:

  • We ensure our lab freeze dryers are durable and reliable. Our units deliver a consistent performance every time. You can expect reproducible outcomes that stand up to stringent analysis and review, for years to come.
  • Flo-Max lab freeze dryer models are equipped with fully automated freeze-drying cycles. Simply adjust the unit operation settings according to your specifications, and it will conduct the whole process for you. You are free to handle other important tasks in your laboratory.
  • We also understand the importance of user-friendliness. That’s why our lab freeze dryers feature control screens with intuitive user interfaces. Your lab workers won’t waste time or energy fumbling and stressing over equipment.

By choosing a Flo-Max freeze dryer, you won’t just be getting a machine; you’ll be enhancing your laboratory’s capabilities.

Flo-Max low temperature standing freeze dryer and pilot freeze dryers
On the left: the Flo-Max laboratory pilot-scale standing freeze dryer. On the right: A Flo-Max low-temperature freeze dryer lyophilises more delicate or unstable materials.

A Partner In Your Research Endeavors

We see ourselves as more than just suppliers; we’re your research partners. Every lab freeze dryer we offer is backed by our commitment to quality and service. When you have questions, need guidance, or require support, we’re just a call or email away. Our extensive hands-on expertise is what makes us different from our competition. It’s this dedication to our clients that has built trust and reliability in the Flo-Max brand.

Ready to bring efficiency to your lab with a Flo-Max freeze dryer? We invite you to explore our range of standing low-temperature freeze-dryers and ‘pilot-scale’ units. We’ll find the perfect fit for your lab’s unique needs.

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