At Sigma-Aldrich, placing vials on a hotplate meant that the samples were being stirred under different conditions, and typically only 5 at a time.

Sigma-Aldrich StarFish

Organisation: Sigma-Aldrich

Country: USA

Product: StarFish

Case Study No: CS1071

The situation

At Sigma-Aldrich, placing vials on a hotplate meant that the samples were being stirred under different conditions and typically only 5 at a time. The StarFish allowed more samples to be processed in a smaller footprint, with more repeatable heating and stirring conditions.

Traditional methods for controlling reactions in small vials includes wrapping the vials together with an elastic band and placing them on a magnetic stirring hotplate. This results often in the samples being exposed to different temperature and stirring conditions relative to the position on the surface of the plate.

Some samples suffer from very poor magnetic stirring, others are stirred very efficiently if they are positioned in the centre of the plate.

Sample throughput was increasing and therefore more equipment would be required, however the fume hood space is limited, resulting in a bottle neck in sample processing.

The objective

The task was to offer a solution to meet the requirements of a higher sample throughput, whilst optimising the available fume hood space. Sigma-Aldrich were also looking to improve the quality of sample preparation in terms of more repeatable, and uniform heating and stirring conditions in the vials.

The results

StarFish was selected since the appropriate monoblock can accommodate up to 40 sample vials, powered from a single magnetic stirring hotplate. The circular shape of the StarFish monoblock ensures that all samples are heated in a uniform manner. The StarFish also utilises the Carousel stirring principle, where there is an outer zone which will stir multiple samples in a constant and uniform manner.

Using StarFish, Sigma-Aldrich was able to significant increase sample throughput, uniformity of sample conditioning and actually reduce the fume hood space allocated for the task.