Electrospinning, by which we mean the process of producing nanofibers, is the future of material production. For this reason, companies are pouring a lot of money into researching this area.
The full potential of this technology is still not known, but it is already proving useful across many sectors, both industrial and medical as well as food production.
Depending on the intended application it is important to work with an electrospinning machine manufacturer that is able to adapt to the individual needs of the research institution or manufacturer that is exploring the possibilities of nanofiber production.
There are a wide range of machines available and knowing which is the right one to procure, and ensuring a high level of support in set up and training is very important. Here are some key varieties in the Fluidnatek range that can help give an understanding of the types of thing to look for.
The Fluidnatek LE-10 can be considered almost as an introductory machine for those just starting out in their discovery of potential uses. It is small in size, and can actually fit onto a standard worktop, so is perfect for smaller lab spaces. It is compact and lightweight and easily installed.
It should be considered perfect for feasibility studies and proof of concept development, because it is smaller and therefore cheaper. This ensures no wastage by procuring a larger tool that may not be fit for purpose later down the road.
It has some excellent features, such as a touch control interface and a decent extract fan for removal of any harmful gases released during use. It has a coaxial electrospinning configuration and is CE certified and UL compatible with excellent safety features. The rotating collectors have a scanning motion emitter and are also interchangeable, meaning it has a level of flexibility during use.
The next size up from the LE-10 model, the LE-50 is also a small, compact benchtop machine for smaller laboratories. But in addition to all the features of the LE-10, it is more powerful, and is considered a more advanced research station.
It can take researchers onto the next stage of development after proof of concept, and is more adaptable in terms of choice of configuration. It is best for when it is time to focus research activities.
The touch screen interface is also more advanced, allowing for multiple user login and the ability to record data.
Similar to the LE-10, this is a benchtop machine, however it has a lot more oomph, as powerful as an advanced research station. A key feature is also the ability to integrate with AC units to allow for climate control.
As it is adaptable, it is possible to have a second optional independant spinning stage, which will allow for the processing of multiple materials at the same time. There is also a machine qualification package available that will allow the enablement of GMP or ISO 13485 process validation
Fluidnatek LE-100 and LE-500
The next models, the Fluidnatek LE-100 and the LE-500 are for labs that are ready to undertake serious heavy duty research and development, and also move into the preproduction phase. There are companies out there who have successfully managed to scale their production of nanomaterials through the use of electrospinning equipment, and these machines are the precursor to this.
They hold all the features of the smaller proof of concept machines, but have additional features to allow for added complexity and multiple projects and materials.
The LE-100 for example has a large experimental chamber and full control over all aspects of the parameters used during processing.
The actively regulated exhaust system has pressure sensors, and not only can it have a coaxial electrospinning configuration, it has potential for tri-axial too. It also has up to 20 emitters for increased productivity and programmable X, Y and Z axes motion for patterned deposition.
The LE-500 on the other hand has all of this, but is intended as a pilot-line production machine, and has a research mode and a production mode. The key difference is the large-volume solution feeding system for extended production batches (single-phase or coaxial).