Hand-Held Lab Homogenizer for Small Sample Sizes

X120 Handheld homogenizer

CAT Hand Held Homogenizer Drives

Developing new compounds involving scarce and/or costly ingredients may involve several trials in the research lab.  Processing the ingredients is facilitated when researchers use a hand-held lab homogenizer for small sample sizes.

An example of a versatile hand-held homogenizer is the CAT Scientific X120 designed to process samples as small as 0.1 ml but up to 1 liter in volume.  While its 1.5 pound weight makes it ideal for short-run hand held homogenizing applications, the X120 is shipped with a support stand assembly (unless declined by the purchaser) for longer mixing cycles and to ensure that the unit’s generator is properly positioned at the recommended depth in the sample container.  The support stand also helps avoid operator fatigue, container breakage and sample spills.

Operating Hand-Held Lab Homogenizers

Although small in size and light in weight, the CAT Scientific X120 has many of the features found on its larger cousins.

  • Operator-controlled speed from 5,000 to 33,000 rpm
  • Easily exchanged rotor-stator (generator) assemblies for different processing requirements using supplied rotor and stator wrenches*
  • 2-year materials and workmanship guarantee

The speed is adjustable in five increments from 5,000  to 33,000 rpm.  Homogenizers should always be in the off position before being immersed in the sample, then started at the slowest speed then ramped to the desired speed.  Stated another way, never turn the unit on when it is not in the sample as damage to bearings and gaskets will result if they are not cooled by contact with samples being processed .

It is also recommended that homogenizing cycles be kept at 3 or fewer minutes to avoid overheating the drive motor.  If longer mixing cycles are needed allow the unit to cool down before proceeding.

The X120  can be used with CAT Scientific’s 6, 10, and 17mm diameter generators.  These generators can be ordered to process samples of medium, low and fine viscosities and for knife and cutting applications.  Our application table describes these in detail.

Setting up the Hand Held Homogenizer

Assemble the support stand and vertical support rod.

Homogenizing generators come assembled. These are slipped into the base of the drive motor housing until the rotor shaft pin clicks into place (in a manner similar to changing bits on a power drill).  Fully tighten the holding screw to ensure the tube surrounding the stator shaft is firmly held.

Screw the horizontal support rod into the drive motor housing.  The height-adjustable cross over clamp is affixed to the horizontal support rod and tightened.

Place the sample container on the base of the support stand.  You can now lower the CAT X120 generator to the recommended depth in the container by slipping the cross over clamp over the vertical support rod and tightening the clamp.

Keep in mind that for this unit the generator is immersed in the sample to a depth of 55mm and no closer than 10mm from the bottom of the container.

Position the generator in the sample beaker or flask so that it is offset from the center to avoid a vortex.

Other  Hand Held Homogenizers Operating Procedures

Homogenizing tools – the generator and shafts – can be changed out simply by loosening the holding screw on the drive motor housing.  Use care in handing the rotors and stators because edges are sharp.

Clean generators and shafts after use to remove media before it hardens and avoid/reduce dangers of cross-contamination.  This can be accomplished by running the equipment in a solvent that dissolves substance residues and is not harmful to gaskets and seals.  General-purpose disinfectants such as formalin and alcohol are OK for chemical sterilization followed by a rinse in sterilized water.  Clean drive motor housings by wiping them down with a mild detergent.

Our post How to Sterilize a Lab Homogenizer goes into this important procedure in more detail.  If you are planning to purchase a homogenizer we invite you to complete our homogenizer questionnaire or simply ask us a question.

*See our video how to change homogenizer generators

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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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