How to Choose a Chromatography Refrigerator

The Norlake single door chromatography lab refrigerator

The Norlake single door chromatography lab refrigerator

Low temperature chromatography is a highly specialized area that is carried out in an environment requiring precisely controlled temperature.  Examples include analysis, separation and/or purification of temperature sensitive biological materials such as proteins, antibodies and enzymes.  While these studies can be undertaken in a cold room, a chromatography refrigerator can be a cost effective alternative that does not require lab personnel to work in a confined space.  Moreover, a chromatography refrigerator is a better solution when portions of the test equipment should be operated at room temperature.

Household and commercial refrigeration systems cannot be substituted for chromatography lab refrigerators because they lack the sophisticated monitoring, control and access features necessary to carry out chromatography studies.   Chromatography refrigerators come in a variety of sizes and can be likened to a compact research laboratory because they provide an environment in which the chromatography studies occur.

An example is the single-door chromatography lab refrigerator manufactured by Nor-Lake Scientific and available through Tovatech.  A look through its glass door reveals an interior totally unlike conventional refrigerators as it features half-size side-mounted cantilevered shelves on which chromatography experiments are placed.*   Equipment associated with the experiments can be plugged into an internal outlet, and can be connected to external monitoring and control equipment via side-mounted access ports.  This allows ongoing operation without the need to open the main door, thus upsetting the environmental settings.

This model along with the two- and three-door Norlake auto-defrost chromatography refrigerators allow the internal temperature to be set at a point between 2˚ and 10˚C (35.6˚ and 50˚F). The temperature is controlled by a built-in digital LED microprocessor. Audible and visual alarms activate if internal temperatures fluctuate outside the setting.  Remote alarm contacts can be connected to audible alarms sited in other areas of the laboratory.  An optional temperature recorder and chart paper support GLP.

Other Features to Look For

Forced air flow refrigeration from the top-mounted refrigeration system maximizes internal space, optimizes air flow and temperature uniformity.  Heat generated by the refrigeration unit is directed upward into the room rather than upward toward the unit itself as is the case with bottom-mounted refrigeration systems.  Lockable double-paned glass doors have magnetic door gaskets and built-in heater wires to avoid condensation.  Solid doors are available as an option.  Units should have a switch-activated interior light.

*Two- and three-door units also have conventional shelving.


What type of refrigeration unit does your lab use for chromatography?  How are records kept?



This entry was posted in Refrigerators and tagged on by .

About Rachel Kohn

So how did an MIT Ph.D. end up selling refrigerators? When I figured out that a lot more scientists buy lab refrigerators than innovative leading-edge instruments. I hope that my many years of lab experience will help you find the right equipment for your work. Before co-founding Tovatech I worked in business development and project management at Smiths Detection, Photon-X, Cardinal Health, and Hoechst Celanese. And before that I spent 12 years as an R&D chemist at Hoechst Celanese and Aventis working on advanced drug delivery systems, polymer films and membranes, optical disks, and polysaccharides. Some day, eventually, I’ll make enough money to develop an innovative technology that will change the world.