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Omni Bead Ruptor Customer Testimonials

“I am very pleased with the performance of the Omni Bead Ruptor 24. It was one of the first items on my lab start-up list. The superior efficiency and uniform homogenization from sample to sample are well worth the investment.”
Jason C. O’Connor, Ph.D.
Department of Pharmacology
The University of Texas Health Science Center

“This machine is pretty amazing because it revolutionized the way we process plant tissue, especially difficult plant tissues.”
Phat Dang
USDA

How Ultrasonic Homogenizers Work

Ultrasonic Tip2Ultrasonic Cell Disrupters, also called Sonicators or Sonifiers® operate on a different principle than mechanical shear homogenizers.  They are extremely effective on hard to disrupt samples and for producing smaller particle size distribution within a sample.  Some of the samples that are typically sonicated or sonified are bacteria, spores, tough animal tissue, soil samples, nanostructures, and liposomes.

There are three main components of a laboratory Ultrasonic Homogenizer; an electronic generator which provides the power, a transducer which converts the signal to mechanical energy and a horn or probe where the processing takes place.

The electronic generator, which is located in the base of the unit, gets its power from an AC line.  The generator transforms this electrical power to a 20 KHz signal that drives the transducer or converter. This signal is outside of normal human hearing ranges so it is not audible in this form of energy.

The converter or transducer contains piezoelectric crystals.  These crystals are able to convert the electrical signal that the generator produces into a mechanical energy or vibration.  This mechanical vibration is amplified and is used to drive the horn.

The vibration of the crystals is transmitted down the length of the horn or probe causing it to longitudinally expand and contract all the way to the end of the probe.  The tip of the probe is the area where the highest level of activity will be occurring.  The longitudinal vibration in the tip causes the sample to cavitate meaning thousands of tiny bubbles form and collapse as the tip continues to vibrate.  This cavitation creates the energy that causes the sample to disrupt and break down into smaller particles which is responsible for the sound that is heard during sonication.

The probes are typically manufactured out of titanium as this metal can withstand the expansion and contraction caused by the longitudinal vibration.  As with any metal, over time the probe can begin to erode or become pitted.  It is important to clean the probe after each use and dry it to keep it from eroding.  Erosion or pitting on a probe can decrease the effectiveness of the sonication so it is important to inspect the probe after 8-10 hours of use and polish it with a fine emery cloth.

Probes come in different diameter tip sizes to enable very small to large samples to be processed.  A tip with a very small diameter will have a very high intensity for processing as all the energy is focused on a very small area.  However, the size of the tip will limit the area of the cavitation and which will limit the sample size.  A larger tip will have a lower intensity as the energy is spread out over a larger surface area.  However, the area of cavitation or processing area is larger thus allowing for more sample to be processed.

When looking at what type of sonicator is needed for an application, it is important to look at power output along with probe size.  Power is measured in Watts or Wattage and the higher the wattage the more power the Ultrasonic Homogenizer can produce.  Small samples will not need high power because the size of the probe will be small and the intensity of the smaller probes is much higher than the larger probes.  Large samples or samples with higher viscosities may require higher power to produce results as the Ultrasonic has to drive a larger probe with less intensity or energy at the tip.

Plastic Probes Make Homogenizing Easy

Omni Tip Plastic Probe

  • Is cross-contamination a concern in your lab?
  • Have you ever lost valuable sample in your laboratory homogenizer probe?
  • Are you tired of wasting time cleaning stainless steel homogenizer probes?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you should check out the Omni Tip™ Clear Plastic Homogenizer Probes. These probes are engineered from durable plastics and can process a wide variety of sample types.

The soft tissue Omni Tips are ideal for liquid homogenization, emulsifications and tissues such as liver and brain.

The hard tissue Omni Tips are ideal for kidney, heart, muscle, tumor, frozen and other similar tissue types.

Omni Tips are just as effective at homogenizing samples as their stainless steel counterparts, but they remove all of the hassle associated with stainless steel probes. Omni Tips are disposable, eliminating any risk of cross-contamination between samples during processing. However, Omni Tips can be reused if necessary. Their simple two-piece design makes them extremely easy to disassemble and clean. Furthermore, the clear outer tube of the Omni Tips prevents sample-loss because any sample that makes its way up into the tube is always visible.

Omni Tip plastic probes can be used to process sample volumes of 0.25mL to 30mL and are available in quantities of 25, 50, 100, 500 or 1,000. They work exclusively with the following Omni laboratory homogenizers:

  • Omni TH (Tissue Homogenizer) – a handheld 125 watt motor with variable speed control from 5,000 – 35,000 rpm. This laboratory homogenizer is available with 12 Omni Tips in the Omni Tip Homogenizing Kits.
  • Omni THQ (Digital Tissue Homogenizer) – an ultra-quiet handheld tissue homogenizer with a digital speed readout and extremely accurate repeatability. This homogenizer is sold with 12 Omni Tips and a convenient storage case.
  • Omni Prep Multi-Sample Homogenizer – this programmable unit homogenizes six-samples at a time. It is ideal for laboratories with high sample throughput.

Care and Maintenance of your Stainless Steel Generator Probe

Stainless Steel Homogenizer Probe

What could be worse than relying on a piece of laboratory equipment and when you need it most, it doesn’t work?-Knowing that this disaster could have been easily prevented.

Everybody knows the best way to get maximum efficiency and use out of your car is to keep it properly maintained. Yet when it comes to lab homogenizers, maintenance is often overlooked. I know there is a big difference between your Honda and your homogenizer, but both are complex machines that contain several moving parts. Moving parts will eventually wear out. Read the rest of this entry »

Omni LH96 –Automated Homogenizer Workstation

 

The LH96 is a fully automated laboratory workstation that can be configured to batch process up to 192 samples (dependant upon sample tube sizes).  This new product homogenizes samples using four brushless motors, which will be able to independently power disposable and stainless steel Omni Tip™ style generator probes.  Brushless motors will greatly reduce the amount of noise inside labs, and will allow consistent processing of samples using patented Omni Tip™ products.  When comparing this sound level to four conventional motor drives, you will experience a significantly quieter lab environment.

Operator error can result from manually homogenizing a large number of samples per day.  Having a fully automated homogenizer in your laboratory will allow you to load the unit and walk away while it processes your samples.  This in turn will allow you to do something else productive.

Since the LH96 has a small footprint, it is small enough to fit under most fume hoods and can process sample tube sizes ranging from 0.25mL to 50mL.  When processing 192 samples in 15mL tubes, cross contamination is always a concern.  Therefore the LH96 has a built-in drip prevention and capture pan.  Having this feature drastically reduces the possibility of cross contamination when processing 192 samples (0.25mL < 15mL) or 96 samples (15mL < 50mL).

The LH96 is powered by a micro-processor which has a universal power input, accepting 115 and 220 volt power.  Its touch screen interface is controllable; allowing the user to vary tip speed from 500 to 30,000 rpm, processing time, probe depth, vacillation, dimensions, etc.  Upon determining a custom program that works well with a specific sample, the user can store that program within the memory of the LH96.  In addition to these controls, the interface will inform the user to the machines elapsed run time, time to completion, probe speed, etc.

Having this type of technology on-board allows configuring additional accessories to the unit (which I will explain in my next blog).  To give you a sneak peak however, some of these add-on accessories include the following:

·         Fully Automated Liquid Handling

·         Bar Code Scanning

·         Sample Weighing

·         Cooling Rack

·         Cleaning Station (for Stainless Steel and Disposable Probes)

If you are homogenizing in a high throughput environment, then the Omni LH96 is a perfect fit for your lab.

 

 

 

Getting Specific: Ultrasonic Homogenizer Applications

Omni Ruptor Ultrasonic Homogenizer

In my last blog I wrote that I would be back with some Ultrasonic Homogenizer Applications and here I am, back again, trying to fill the Ultrasonic void.

Although Ultrasonic Homogenization is most widely known for disruption of cells and tissue, there are many other uses for it that covers a wide range of applications.

Emulsifications

Water in oil emulsions are well suited for sonication because there is little danger of the sample being ruined by inversion and the process is considerably faster than traditional mixing methods.  The cosmetic industry uses Ultrasonic Homogenization for liquid make-up in order to disperse the pigments uniformly.  It is also widely used by lotion and toothpaste manufacturers as the final product has a much longer shelf life and is a higher quality product.

Environmental

Sonication is used in environmental testing labs for testing of water, soil and sediment samples.  Testing that was done prior to Ultrasonic Homogenization was very time consuming and required high volumes of solvents. The use of Ultrasonics cut the testing time by many hours down to 5-10 minutes making the environmental labs more efficient and reduced solvent waste products.

Pharmaceutical

Pharmaceutical research covers a wide range of applications for Ultrasonics.  Common uses are mixing of powders and solutions, the making of smaller crystals for drug compounds, and degassing samples.  The production of liposomes or lipid vesicles that are used to study mechanisms for drug discovery are also critical in this industry along with putting complex compounds into solution for analysis via chromatography.

Focused Cleaning

This may be the least well known application for Ultrasonic Homogenizers.  In an Ultrasonic Bath the strength of the sonication waves are limited for this type of application.  It takes much more time to clean items in a bath than it would if using a probe type Ultrasonic.  The benefits of this are apparent when trying to clean items with very small openings such as needle or wire dies and electronic components as the energy can be focused and directed by moving the probe.

Check back in a few weeks for part III of the Ultrasonic Blog, “What Equipment in Right for You” and in the meantime have a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday and New Year!

Improving the Laboratory Work Experience When Homogenizing With A Handheld Homogenizer

Omni THQ Digital Tissue Homogenizer

It is no secret to researchers who homogenize tissue samples as part of their regular laboratory routine that the job can be messy and loud, and produce results that are sometimes inconsistent. To improve the laboratory work experience, we took a fresh look at the factors that matter most to those who use our homogenizers. These factors include sample processing results, repeatability, ease of cleaning, product noise, time, ease of use, product weight, reliability and environmental impact.This analysis resulted in the creation of the new Omni THQ lightweight handheld rotor stator homogenizer with Whisper Drive™ technology. Mechanical shear homogenizers, also known as rotor-stator homogenizers are the product of choice for most tissue homogenization applications. They generally consist of a motor and a processing probe called a generator probe. As a knife spins within the stator, it creates a pumping action that pulls liquid into the open end of the generator probe. The probe then forces the liquid out through windows in the stator portion, which sets up a shearing action, much like a pair of scissors. It thereby works to reduce the particle size of sample being forced through the windows.The vast majority of today’s rotor-stator homogenizers are powered by motors that require carbon brushes to make them operate. This technology has been around for many years, and while it is quite suitable for occasional use, it has a number of drawbacks when compared to Whisper Drive™ technology brushless motor that drives the Omni THQ.

When compared to our Omni TH brush motor driven homogenizer, the Omni THQ uses 80% less electricity to drive a 7-mm generator probe. Since its motor is significantly smaller and lighter, the THQ weighs 34% less than the Omni TH, and by eliminating motor brush noise, the THQ is 80% quieter than the TH when both are running at 35,000 rpm. This sound level is roughly equivalent to the sound of a moderate rainfall. Since no brushes are used, no carbon dust is created and the motor is maintenance-free, making it more convenient for the user and providing a longer product warranty.

Improved accuracy and repeatability are other significant benefits of Omni’s Whisper Drive™ technology since the motor accurately maintains its set speed, while a brush motor’s speed will fluctuate as sample viscosity changes, or as sample particle size varies. With the THQ a digital display takes full advantage of this accuracy improvement.

What to Look For When Purchasing a Homogenizer

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The term “homogenize” is a general term, broadly used to represent processing samples uniformly, usually by means of mixing, emulsifying, stirring, disrupting tissues, lysing cells, or various other methods.  The majority of researchers we speak with have not had previous experience with a specific laboratory homogenizer product in the past, and thus may not know which product or method is most suitable for their application.

Where does one start?  In today’s market choices abound. Here are several important data points to consider before deciding what to purchase, and who to purchase from.

  • Application info – does the company or organization you’re speaking with have previous successful experience processing samples similar to yours? Do they have application data they can reference?
  • Testimonials – Can they reference customers using their products?
  • One Stop Shop – does the company offer several different types of homogenizing methods, as well as accessories?
  • Customer-centric – does the company have experienced technical people available to answer your questions, both pre and post sale? Will they offer a solution to meet your needs? Can you try the product before you buy? Do they offer a guarantee?
  • Reliability – how long have they been in business? Do they offer service for the product? Where is the product manufactured?
  • Availability – once you choose, are these products readily available (off the shelf) and if not, how long will you have to wait? Can you buy through your own preferred scientific distributor or do you have to purchase direct from the source? Is online purchasing available?

Pricing is important as well, but it should not necessarily be the main issue. Remember, the key is to find a successful solution to your specific application. Any potential supplier should be able to answer all of the above points to your satisfaction.

Bead Mill Homogenizers

Bead Milling is one of the many technologies used for grinding, lysing and homogenization of laboratory samples. Bead Mills are typically used for samples that are difficult to disrupt with standard mechanical laboratory homogenizers. These sample types include tumor, heart, e-coli, yeast, bone, skin, cartilage, spores, seeds and soil. Bead Mills can also be used to extract nucleic acids and proteins and can be used with difficult to process cells such as cyanobacteria, mycobacteria, and microalgae.

Bead Mills employ very small glass, ceramic or steel beads. These beads are placed in a vessel along with the sample media. The vessel, beads and sample are vigorously agitated by shaking or stirring. Disruption of the sample occurs as the beads collide rapidly with the cells. A combination of the grinding beads and rotational effect produces a faster, more reliably effective lysing process for biological samples. Typically, a higher volume ratio of beads to cells produces a faster rate of cell disruption. After the processing cycle is complete, the beads settle by gravity in the vessel and the resulting homogenate is easily removed by pipette.

Bead Mills are relatively cross-contamination free because of the disposable beads and sample tubes they employ. Most shaking-type Bead Mills are restricted to sample sizes of 3.0mL or less. However, several samples can be processed at a time. Heat generation can be a problem with Bead Mills, but many of today’s Bead Mill units are available with optional cooling features and accessories.

Below is a simple guide for choosing the best Bead material for your processing needs:
Metal Beads: hair, nail, muscle & corn.
Ceramic Beads: muscle, lung, heart, liver, kidney & brain.
Glass Beads: cells, fungi, bacteria & spores

For pictures and more information about bead mill homogenizers, please visit this page.

Omni THQ – Brushless Handheld Homogenizer

In case you haven’t yet heard, Omni International will be introducing the new THQ handheld laboratory homogenizer to the market within the next few months. This new product will have a brushless motor, digital speed control/readout, and will be OmniTip compatible. These features will reduce the amount of noise inside labs, and will allow a consistent processing of samples using plastic and stainless steel OmniTips.

This Rotor/Stator design homogenizes samples using a brushless motor. This allows the THQ to produce a sound level of 60dB at top speed, which is 15% quieter than most motor drives (but not as silent as your ninja lab partner). It also has a universal power input, accepting 115 and 220 volt power, and an optional external battery pack. This battery pack offers a 15 minute battery life at peak power, which allows it to be used out in the field for quick and efficient on-the-spot testing.

Having a digital speed control with a 3 digit speed readout (displaying the set speed, not the actual speed), will allow you to process samples at the same speed repeatedly. When using the digital touchpad, the THQ has a controllable speed (using separate increase/decrease speed controls) anywhere between 8,000 and 35,000 rpm. After processing the sample, the homogenizer can be turned off, but when turned back on, remembers the last speed at which it was running (This means that you can remember what you were supposed to pick up after work today, and it will remember what speed to run the next sample).

The Omni Tip (a mechanical shearing blade assembly) couples directly to the THQ and has the capability of processing samples ranging from 2ml to 50ml tube sizes. In addition, when using the bayonet generator coupling, a user can successfully process a sample using the 10mm generator. Depending on the size of the blade assembly, plastic and stainless steel Omni Tips are available.

Overall, the THQ, which will be introduced to the market in the next few months, will be one of the quietest and most consistent digital speed controlled laboratory homogenizers on the market today.

Stay tuned for our next Blog about the new Omni TH – Handheld Homogenizer!