Labware washers are used to clean various types of laboratory equipment. Labware washers come in one of three typical configurations, floor or freestanding, undercounter and tabletop. Floor or freestanding washers do not need to be placed on, mounted to a countertop or cabinet. Undercounter washers are mounted under a counter or benchtop. Tabletop washers mount to or sit upon a table or benchtop. A common feature of labware washers is portability. They may have wheels or handles for carrying. Most labware washers use water and detergents to remove debris from labware but some may be ultrasonic. An ultrasonic cleaner uses ultrasonic frequencies to break up debris and remove soiling from the labware.
Labware washers typically have any combination of three wash cycles, light, medium and heavy. Light duty cycles are for easier cleaning applications. Medium duty cycles are for more difficult cleaning applications. Heavy-duty cycles are for the most difficult cleaning applications. Each washer can have multiple settings similar to commercial dishwashers. Many times the washer is programmable to allow for customized was cycles.
Important parameters to consider when selecting labware washers are the temperature range and whether or not this range is selectable, and the number of pieces or baskets the washer can accommodate. Different suppliers specify washers in different ways, some state the number of pieces of labware the washer can hold, and others state the number of baskets the washer has available to fill with labware. External dimensions are important especially if the washer must be mounted below a counter. Internal dimensions will determine the volume of labware or number of pieces of labware that can be stored for washing purposes.
Laboratory washers commonly have an analog or digital user interface on the front panel. Analog panels include potentiometers, dials, switches, for adjustment of output, ranges, etc. Digital panels include keypads or menus for programming. Display types are typically analog, digital or video. Analog displays include dial or indicator lights. Digital numerical displays are simple number displays. Video displays include CRTs, LCDs or other multi-line displays.
Features common to labware washers include integral dryers to dry the labware once it has been washed, printers for outputting data on the wash cycles, and specialized inserts for holding pipettes, test tubes or other glassware.