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Lab mills are essential tools in laboratory settings, particularly in sample preparation. Note that by reducing the particle size of materials, mills and grinders can help researchers to homogenize samples and achieve consistency and accuracy in testing.
Interestingly, the act of milling has been used for thousands of years. In prehistoric times, for instance, people used stones to pound grains and other products, which slowly led to the invention of the mortar, the pestle, and the staddle stones during the Stone Age. Around 2500 BC, the rotary quern was created, which used a circular motion to grind products; and around 1500 AD, the water-driven stamp mills were popularized, fostered by the demand for metals. Over the centuries, large scale mills used for mining and other industrial processes enhanced the evolution of lab mills. It was in the 19th century when more precise instruments, such as jaw crushers and ball mills, were developed; while the use of electricity in the 20th century enhanced the development of units, such as vertical roller mills and jet mills.
Now lab mills are an inseparable part of research settings, such as chemistry, food analysis, geological exploration, quality control, and life science. Such units can be used to prepare representative samples (e.g., homogeneous powder) of different materials, including wet, dry, and fibrous products.From disc and hammer mills to cryogenic and cutting mills, there’s a wild variety of products users can choose from. As stated above, lab mills are essential tools in numerous areas, such as medicine, pharmaceutical research, food processing, quality control, and educational settings. Interestingly, mills can achieve fine results of down to <0.1 µm, which is invaluable in lab research and industrial processes.
Whether it’s for setting up a new laboratory or replacing old equipment, there are three major factors prospective buyers should consider:
- Total costs
Requirements: Depending on the research goals and the type of sample (including its malleability), users can choose from a variety of products. To provide an example, jaw crushers, and jet pulverizers can be used for hard objects; whereas bead mills are suitable for pasty samples and cell disruption. Planetary bead mills, on the other hand, can be used for brittle, soft, and hard materials, while cryogenic mills or freezer mills can freeze the sample before reducing its size.
Specifications: Before purchasing a lab mill, users should research several parameters. Power, speed/grinding time, cleanability, throughput/feed size, yield/desired final particle size, and additional options (e.g., cooling system) are all factors to consider. As stated above, different samples require the use of different mills. For dry and mid-range grinding, for example, rotor beaters and disc mills can be used, while for wet milling, bead mills (for small capacity), rotor-stator homogenizers (for large capacity), and industrial-scale mills (for larger-scale testing) can be utilized.
Total costs: High-performance mills usually come at higher costs, especially those products manufactured by top-notch companies. Some of the most reputable companies in the field are Fritsch, Daesung Chemical, Retsch, and Union Process. As stated earlier, the instrument’s parameters and type of analysis (e.g., X-ray powder diffraction, near-infrared/NIR analysis, inductively coupled plasma/ICP analysis) should be considered. Last but not least, users should account for replacement parts and warranties.Lab mills are essential in research and chemical and physical testing as they can ensure reproducible sample preparation, size reduction, and contamination-free results. Thus, it’s no surprise that the number of models for sale is impressive: planetary mills, ball mills, jaw crushers, cutting and knife mills, mortars, disc mills, rotors, and beater units, hammer mills, cryogenic models, and much more.
Based on different characteristics and user reviews, here’s a list of some of the most advanced mills and grinders on the market:
- Retsch 20.455.0004 Mortar Grinder Mill – 10-190 mL Capacity, 10um Particle, 110V/60Hz
Retsch 20.455.0004 Mortar Grinder Mill – 10-190 mL Capacity, 10um Particle, 110V/60Hz is a powerful mortar grinder mill that can ensure homogeneous sample preparation. Note that samples can be viewed and added through two Plexiglas windows. The unit can operate via an on/off switch or via its built-in digital timer (of up to 99 minutes), with longer times resulting in finer particle sizes. Users can select between five grinding sets, which should be harder than the sample: porcelain, corundum, agate, chrome steel, and stainless steel (ordered separately). Furthermore, this mill has a safety switch and an overload switch to ensure safe and accurate operation. The mortar, the pestle, and the scraper are easy to clean, which can minimize sample-to-sample contamination.
- Yantra Laboratory Ball Mill – 2 kg Motor-Driven Heavy Duty with 10 Big Stainless Steel Balls (15 mm) and 35 Small Stainless Steel Balls (8 mm)
Yantra Laboratory Ball Mill – 2 kg Motor–Driven Heavy Duty with 10 Big Stainless Steel Balls (15 mm) and 35 Small Stainless Steel Balls (8 mm) is an affordable ball mill that can be used for the preparation of samples with minimal loss. The unit’s design provides quiet performance and reduced vibration, which can increase user comfort and safety. Note that the mill has a 2 kg capacity and 80 rpm speed and works at 220 V AC. Last but not least, the unit is highly practical as it requires minimum maintenance.
- Across International PQN2.110 Gear-Drive 2-Liter Planetary Ball Mill, 4 mL x 500 mL
Across International PQN2.110 Gear-Drive 2-Liter Planetary Ball Mill, 4 mL x 500 mL can be used for different applications, such as mixing, homogenizing, mechanical alloying, and cell disruption. Note that the minimum granularity can be as small as 0.1 µm. This unit can work with two or four jars simultaneously (compatible non-vacuum jars: 500 mL x 4, compatible vacuum jars: 250 mL x 4). There’s also a safety switch to ensure shut down when the cover is opened during operation. This planetary ball mill provides low vibration operation, which can increase safety and user comfort.
- TECHTONGDA Hammer Crusher (Hammer Rock Crush Machine, Electric Stone Shatter, Grinder 220V)
TECHTONGDA Hammer Crusher (Hammer Rock Crush Machine, Electric Stone Shatter, Grinder 220V) is an advanced jaw crusher made of manganese steel. As a rock crusher, the unit can be used to crush different materials, such as glass, quartz stone, and slag, Note that its input size is <2.76 inches, its output size is < 0.24 or <0.12 inches and its productivity is 200-500kg/h. This model is suitable for coal, chemicals, medicine, geological exploration, as well as teaching.
- Retsch 20.053.0007 Series BB 200 Jaw Crusher – Manganese Steel Breaking Jaws, Stainless Steel Wearing Plates, 230V
Retsch 20.053.0007 Series BB 200 Jaw Crusher – Manganese Steel Breaking Jaws, Stainless Steel Wearing Plates, 230V is a powerful model used for the rapid crushing performance of medium-hard, brittle, and tough products. With a variety of settings, this mill is ideal for lab preparation and industrial plants. Additionally, its Belleville spring washer protects the unit from overloads, while its central lubrication system guarantees a long service life.
- TCM750 Cutting Mill for Grinding, Crushing, Chopping
TCM750 Cutting Mill for Grinding, Crushing, Chopping is a great cutting mill made of stainless steel. This mill can be used for grinding, crushing, and chopping. Note that its cutting methods can operate different materials, such as hard, soft, fibrous, and oil content materials (material feeding can be batch or continuous, with a throughput of 1–40kg/h).
- Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill MF 70
Proxxon 37110 Micro Mill MF 70 is a beautiful unit suitable for the lab, jewelry, optician, and electronic projects. Note that this mill is made with a cast iron base, while its vertical column and compound lathe are made of aluminum (all axes are play-free with adjustable slides). With a variety of settings and its compact design, this elegant mill is highly favored.
- Retsch 208310002 Cyclone Mill Twister, 110-120V, 60Hz
Retsch 208310002 Cyclone Mill Twister, 110-120V, 60Hz is a digital grinding mill that comes with an LCD screen and three-speeds (10,000rpm, 12,000rpm, and 14,000rpm). Note that the set contains ten 250 mL collection bottles and two sieve section sizes (1.0 mm and 2.0 mm). This sophisticated Retsch mill is ideal for processing foods, animal feeds, NIR spectrometry, and pharmaceutical research.
- Verder Scientific 207490001 CryoMill, 100-240V, 50/60 Hz
Verder Scientific 207490001 CryoMill, 100-240V, 50/60 Hz is a great mill for cryogenic grinding with three different models: cryogenic, dry, or wet. Note that the grinding jars are cooled with liquid nitrogen, which is continually refilled from an Autofill system to ensure accurate testing at –196°C. Moreover, the unit’s Autofill system avoids direct contact with the liquid nitrogen, guaranteeing safe operation. This mill can be used for different materials, such as bones, chemicals, hair, plastics, plants, and foods.
- Hanchen Plant Grinder (120 Mesh Soil Crusher, Pulverizer, Grinding Machine, Superfine Herb Disintegrator, Continuous Operation Lab Equipment)
Hanchen Plant Grinder (120 Mesh Soil Crusher, Pulverizer, Grinding Machine, Superfine Herb Disintegrator, Continuous Operation Lab Equipment) is a wonderful grinder suitable for agricultural research, construction, geological exploration, and plant laboratories. The unit can crush different materials for lab analyses, including minerals, meat, plants, soils, and coal. Note that this pulverizer utilizes a high-speed rotating cutter and a fixed cutter, producing only a small amount of heat and ensuring high crushing efficiency.With a variety of units for sale, choosing a lab mill can be a challenging task. That said, taking care of a lab mill can also be tricky. As taking care of lab equipment is essential to ensure long life and safe use, users should keep lab mills in top condition. Cleaning is a must, ideally after each sample run. Different parts, such as seals and blades, should be regularly checked and replaced when needed. Transporting and storing mills and grinders should be done accordingly. Always check instruction manuals to ensure safe use and accurate testing.While it’s true that the act of grinding has been used for thousands of years, scientific advancements and digital technology have taken mills and grinders to a whole new level.
Lab mills are essential lab units used for sample preparation and chemical and physical analyses. By reducing the particle size of materials, mills can help researchers homogenize samples and achieve consistency and accuracy in testing. As mills and grinders are employed in a variety of settings, such as agriculture, lab research, medicine, food analyses, and construction, it’s no surprise there’s a wild variety of units users can choose from. Some of the most popular models include planetary mills, ball mills, jaw crushers, mortar grinders, and cryogenic units.
Whether it’s to start a new lab or replace/optimize lab equipment, mills are in-demand products. Before buying a unit, however, users should consider three major factors: requirements, specifications, and total costs. Durability, speed, reputable vendors, safety, noise levels, service, and accuracy are all factors to consider. Note that taking care of a unit is also essential to guarantee contamination-free analysis and accurate testing – all mandatory aspects of research.