Analytical Mill Applications in the Lab

Particle size reduction, also called comminution, is often a critical process step in preparing samples for further analysis.  It is a common practice across a broad spectrum of industries such as food, chemical and pharma.  Preliminary research involving comminution can be expedited with small capacity laboratory analytical mills such as CAT Scientific’s AX60 Analytical Mill with a sample capacity up to 180cc or approximately 11 cubic inches.   With stainless steel or silicon carbide blades the AX60 is a fast efficient way to particle size reduction for small sample sizes.

How the Lab Analytical Mill Works

The AX60 is an accessory designed for mating to a CAT X1000 homogenizer drive motor in much the same way as a rotor-stator generator assembly.  The 1000-watt X1000D model digitally displays its operating speed range of 4,000 to 33,000 RPM.

The unit is a study of simplicity in design and operation.  It consists of a 2-part stainless steel assembly, the top half of which is affixed to the homogenizer drive motor and contains the blade mechanism powered by the drive motor.  The bottom half holds the sample.  The halves are mated and attached by clips that provide a dust-free seal.

Pulverizing or milling creates heat.  The AX60 analytical mill has input and output ports on both halves of the assembly to accept circulating water or, in extreme heat conditions, liquid nitrogen as a coolant.

Your lab should establish grinding procedures regarding speed and timing.  Start the operation slowly then ramp up to the desired grinding speed using the speed control on the drive motor.

At the end of the process remove the sample.  If you are switching samples or putting the mill assembly aside for later use it should be thoroughly cleaned to remove all residue and avoid contaminating further samples.   Immersion and scrubbing in a cleaning/disinfecting solution is an effective way to remove most residues.  If you were working with wet samples more thorough cleaning could be indicated to dislodge samples that adhere to surfaces.  Our post on cleaning tips focuses primarily on homogenizer generators but can apply to any reusable scientific equipment.

Two other CAT accessories that couple to homogenizer drive motors are the DK30 flow through chamber and DK40 flow through chambers for in-line or closed loop processing using specially designed homogenizer generators as the processing and pumping mechanism.

Feel free to contact us for additional information on the CAT analytical mill, the flow through chambers or our other laboratory processing and liquid handling equipment.

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Bob Wilcox

Bob Wilcox has represented CAT Scientific’s family of homogenizers, magnetic stirrers, liquid handling and related laboratory equipment since 2002 when Staufen, Germany-based CAT Ingenieurbüro M. Zipperer GMbH established operations in North America. Bob oversees CAT Scientific laboratory apparatus sales and service organization from the company’s headquarters in Paso Robles, CA. He also is in charge of the parent company’s line of JetCat jet turbines, turboprop, and helicopter power plants for hobbyists’ radio controlled fixed wing and helicopter model aircraft. -- Earlier in Bob’s career he was involved in visual and special effects as well as camera and electronics supervisory responsibilities for the motion picture and television industry.

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