What are Shaking Incubators?
In order to promote cell growth in a laboratory setting, shaking is used for the distribution of nutrients and the fusion of oxygen into a cell culture. In many cases, a laboratory will add a shaker to the lab, but shaking incubators are another good option.
Shaking incubators combine the functions of a traditional incubator and a laboratory shaker for efficient performance in applications like cell aeration, studies of solubility, and cell culturing. If you are considering investing in a shaking incubator, there are several different designs and features to choose from based on your needs.
How do shaking incubators work?
As we’ve stated, you can use shaking incubators for multiple uses. Because of its distinct design, you don’t need to use a separate shaker. A shaking incubator works by evenly distributing nutrients throughout your sample. Also, it incorporates oxygen throughout the culture sample.
Shaking incubators also provide consistent temperature conditions. Finally, they make use of an orbital agitation at different speeds. These speeds affect the growth of your cell cultures.
What are the main features and benefits of shaking incubators?
Shaking incubators are very convenient. This is mainly because they can shake and incubate samples simultaneously. The machine also maintains a stable internal atmosphere. It doesn’t change even while you adjust the shaking parameters.
These are available in different shapes and sizes. They also have different specifications. Such equipment is an excellent addition to cell culture laboratories.
What factors should you consider when choosing the shaking incubator?
If you’re thinking about purchasing a shaking incubator, you need to know exactly what to look for. There are different types available out there, and they all have vivid features, styles, and sizes. If you don’t know what to look for, finding the right shaking incubator may be quite challenging. To help ease the process, consider these factors:
First off, you need to consider the size of the shaking incubator you need. Choosing the right size would depend on some factors. Think about what you will incubate how many samples you’ll incubate each time and more. Aside from the size, also find out the capacity of the machine. Floor-model shaking incubators are typically able to manage more samples. That is as compared to the benchtop ones.
You should also consider the atmosphere and temperature control. For atmosphere control, check whether you need to adjust the sterilizing, humidity, UV lights, and CO2 when incubating. For temperature control, you keep a check on the temperature range while shaking. Some units may also come with refrigeration as an added option.
The next thing for you to consider is the equipment’s shaking motion. Most shaking incubators create a horizontal-circular or orbital motion. This is adequate for mixing liquids and is also beneficial for culturing cells. Find out the orbit size and agitation rate of the machine. These can affect the mixing and aeration of your samples.
Then, think about the lighting of the shaking incubator. A lot of floor-model machines have fluorescent light features. Some benchtop models have this feature too, and it’s vital for photosynthetic studies. Also, some models have UV light bank features which are very useful for sterilization.
Aside from all these features, also consider the extras. Some examples of extra features are digital interfaces, alarms, cooling coils, and more.
Types of shaking incubators
- Benchtop shaking incubators: For labs that don’t deal with particularly high volumes of samples, a shaking incubator that can provide efficient operation and compact design is an excellent choice. A benchtop shaking incubator takes up a small amount of space while still offering optimum performance.
- Stackable shaking incubators: Stackable shaking incubators are ideal for labs that need to run several smaller batches of samples concurrently. Like benchtop incubators, stackable incubators have a small footprint that won’t take up a prohibitive amount of space even in a small lab. In addition, the design allows for several incubators to be stacked for even more incubation capacity in a small space.
- Floor incubators: A floor incubator offers the greatest incubation capacity and is best for labs that deal with a high volume of samples that must be processed with a shaking incubator. These floor incubators usually feature observation windows which can be used by researchers and laboratory technicians to monitor the incubation of samples during the process.
Attachments for shaking incubators
Platform: Used to mount flask clamps, test tube racks, Microplate Holders. Also used as a base for sticky matt
Flask Holders: Shaking incubators are most commonly used with erlenmeyer flasks. These flask holders screw on to the platform. Each size flasks has a unique holder. You can have a dedicated platform (only one size of flask holders) or you can mix and match the sizes. Available in S/S or plastic. To save on cost this is possible to manufacture locally.
Test Tube Holders: Also mount onto the platform. Generally have a swivel screw to create an angle to allow more oxygen into the tube during shaking. different sizes available according to height and diameter of test tube. To save on cost this is possible to manufacture locally.
Rubber mats: Designed for low-speed applications, non-skid rubber mats allow quick addition or removal of flasks, plates or tubes. Does not require a platform
Spring wire racks: Ideal for holding a wide variety of tubes, flasks, and other glassware. All components are made of stainless steel.
Universal attachments / Utility Carriers / Roller Bar Attachment: Several adjustable clamping bars for quickly securing a variety of glassware or tubes on non-skid rubber mats. Suitable for flat-bottomed flasks of various sizes. This is usually the most economical option because it does not limit you to flask size. However, depending on the flasks used it may not the best use of space. For example if you intend to use 1 x 500ml flask then you would have to set the first row to the 500ml neck size and therefore yhou would not be able to use other size flasks in that row.
Lab sticker / Sticky Mat: An alternative method for securing vessels to a shaker platform. Ideal for containers such as bottles and dishes that cannot be held on the universal platform with conventional flask clamps. For safe operation, gradual RPM increase is recommended. One of the most versatile and easy to use options that can allow you to maximize your platform space (even with a variety of sizes). However if not maintained and used properly it could lead to flask falling during operation.
Microplate holders: Available in three styles: tower type, flat type (small and large), and single type. Tower type holder is for 10 standard or deep well plates. Large flat holder is for 4 standard or deep well plates. Small flat holder is for 3 standard or deep well plates. Single type holder is for 1 standard or deep well plate. (standard well plates’ height: 14.7mm)
Information required to quote on a Shaking Incubator
- What size do you require (How many litres)?
- What temperature range will you be working at?
- What size and quantity of flasks or tubes will you be using?
- Do you prefer roller bar attachment, Flask Clamps, Spring Wire Rack or Sticky Mat?