When it comes to labwashers, size matters.
To decide whether to buy two smaller undercounter washers or one large chamber glassware washer, you need to weigh the pros and cons and consider the tradeoffs. Here’s what you should take into account.
- Consistency of Washer Usage
How steady is the throughput your washer needs to handle? For instance, you may have a daily schedule of tests that require a certain number of beakers per hour. Alternatively, you might receive a predictable volume of dirty glassware each morning that needs to be spotless and ready to reuse by the early afternoon.
With steady demand, you can benefit from using a couple of undercounter units instead of one large washer. This configuration enables you to stagger washer action, having one running when the other has completed its cycle, providing a constant flow of lab glassware to meet expected demand levels.
- Volume and Energy Calculations
Take these steps to work out how many wash cycles you would need to do in an undercounter washer versus a large chamber washer:
- Factor in both the size and the number of the items you need to wash
- Find out the capacity of the undercounter and large chamber washer
- Calculate how many cycles you would need to run in each labwasher to complete your daily workload
Then consider the energy requirements of each scenario. If you figure out that you need to run an undercounter washer nonstop, but only need two cycles in a large chamber washer, you can probably supersize and save energy.
- Who Is Loading and Unloading the Labwasher?
Because you are not likely to install a large chamber labwasher in the lab, you will need a dedicated technician to load and unload it. Do you have someone or can you add staff to do this? If not, undercounter washers which anyone in the lab can load and unload may be preferable.
- In-Lab Considerations: Space and Convenience
Where are you going to put the washer?
Undercounter washers typically need a space that’s 24” wide by 24” deep and may fit conveniently in the lab. If the footprint is available, it’s best to put them near your sinks.
Don’t forget that you’ll also need to store accessories nearby, such as basket modules or cleaning agent bottles. Do you have room to accommodate these supplies in the lab or would it be easier to keep them in a central area near a large washer?
- Space in the Washer
The chamber inside a typical undercounter washer is around 21” wide by 19” high and basket configuration also affects fit. Thus, large glassware items that do not fit into an undercounter washer could be the monkey-wrench in your decision-making process.
So, determine whether the largest glassware items you need to wash will fit in an undercounter washer. If not, ask yourself how critical it is to clean them automatically. These oddball items do not have to drive your decision. If you only wash a few large pieces each week, you may be better off using your current washing process for them.
- Smooth Workflows or Traffic Nightmares?
How will loading, unloading or servicing an undercounter washer impede the traffic flow in your lab? If traffic nightmares are likely to arise, you may want to avoid them by opting for a large chamber washer located in a corridor or other central area.
- Ease and Cost of Installation
Because undercounter washers generally live in multiple labs in the same facility, their installation requires plumbing and electrical work in each of these labs. So, it’s easier, less time consuming and more economical to install a large chamber washer.
- Total Cost of Ownership
Look beyond the purchase price when you tally up the costs. Factor in energy usage, requirements for a dedicated technician and installation costs.
If you consider your wash volume, usage consistency, who’s loading and unloading the washer, space requirements, foot traffic, installation needs and all associated costs, you’ll be well on your way to making the right decision.
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