Measuring and dispensing powders are traditionally manual operations, often involving the slow, complex, and repetitive task of allocating multiple materials into minuscule doses. These processes require a high level of concentration and are prone to human error.
Powders can also have varying densities, irregular granule sizes, and a tendency to absorb moisture. These traits, along with the risk of exposure to airborne particles, make it difficult and even potentially harmful for technicians to manually handle powders.
An electronic powder dispenser helps to resolve these issues and promotes a faster, safer, and more accurate approach to measuring and dispensing powders. In this guide, we’ll discuss what these machines are, how to use them, and the many benefits they bring to the laboratory.
What Is an Electronic Powder Dispenser?
An electronic powder dispenser is an automated device used to measure and dispense precise amounts of powders accurately and consistently. Dispensers are widely customizable and can vary in terms of powder capacity, dose size, level of accuracy, and actual speed of operation.
They’re primarily used in laboratories to fill a variety of powdered substances into containers, such as vials, tubes, and capsules. Dispensers are often utilized for chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and forensic applications, but they can be used in commercial settings as well.
In large-scale manufacturing operations, electronic powder dispensing systems are commonly used to shorten processing times and streamline tasks such as the following:
- Dispensing of cosmetic powders for makeup and beauty products
- Dispensing of nutritional powders for food and food supplements
- Dispensing of pigment powders for paint, plastic, and coating substances
Types of Electronic Powder Dispensers
There are two main types of electronic powder dispensers: gravimetric dispensers and volumetric dispensers.
Gravimetric dispensers, also called weight dosers, determine the amount of powder to be dispensed by weight. In other words, these dispensers only consider the powder’s mass when allocating it to each powder container. Density fluctuations don’t affect the results.
Meanwhile, volumetric dispensers measure the volume of the powder material, or the amount of space it occupies, when allocating it into containers. If you’re using this type of dispenser and your dose size is specified in mass, you need to convert it to volume.
How to Use an Electronic Powder Dispenser
Electronic powder dispensers can have varying parts and functions, as they’re largely customizable based on your preferred dose size, the physical characteristics of your powder, the size and shape of your reservoirs and containers, and their intended use.
With some easy-to-use dispensers, including XQ Instruments’ laboratory powder dispensers, you only need to fill and attach the powder reservoir to your dispenser, select your preferred number of shots, and press the trigger button.
XQ Instruments’ electronic powder dispensers utilize dispensing disks, which are calibrated according to dose size and customer specifications. The disks allow you to dispense a specific dose or selectable multiples (up to 99x) in as fast as 3.5 seconds per shot.
If you want to switch the single dose values or use a powder material that has a different bulk density, simply swap the dispensing head to one that has the corresponding value. You can have a range of disks on hand if you plan to work with different materials and dose sizes.
Benefits of Electronic Powder Dispensers
Here are several advantages of using electronic powder dispensers:
1. Fast and Accurate Dispensing
When done manually, laboratory powder dispensing can be tedious and time-consuming, especially if you’re working with multiple powders in minuscule quantities. Electronic power dispensers help you save time and effort, removing bottlenecks and boosting lab productivity.
Automated dispensing improves process accuracy with highly reproducible results, allowing technicians to focus on other critical workflow elements. It also reduces the extra cost and risk of human error, which can result in out-of-specification or out-of-tolerance measurements.
Electronic powder dispensers are the best option when it comes to quick and repetitive dispensing. XQ Instruments’ SDB-1 and SDB-2 dispensers are capable of continuous operation in a production environment and can be used in manual dispense mode or automatic mode.
2. Versatile Applications and Customization Options
Electronic powder dispensers are capable of handling a wide range of beads, solids, and microspheres. Some dispensers are battery-operated and handheld for mobility, but you can also choose benchtop dispensers to better accommodate your powder handling workflow.
XQ Instruments can also customize dispensing heads and tips based on your container size, capacity for powder, and other special applications. It can also perform a testing and calibration process using your target powders before shipping the device to you.
Additionally, the SDB-1 and SDB-2 dispensers allow customization and integration into a larger automated system. The SDB-1 Benchtop Dosing Machine has a USB port on the unit body and a connector for external switches, which you can use to trigger dispensing from a PLC.
3. Safety and Ease of Use
Particles can easily become airborne and hazardous during the manual dispensing and loading process. Electronic powder dispensers minimize this risk and reduce exposure to toxic and potentially harmful powders in the laboratory. They’re also simple to use and easy to maintain.
No regular maintenance is required for XQ Instruments’ powder dispensers aside from the equipment cleaning, checking, and verification of dose values. The powder path is easy to dismantle and sterilize. As for periodic recalibration, repeating the dose test is sufficient.
Choosing the Right Electronic Powder Dispenser
Powders are one of the oldest and most commonly used dosage forms, but their minuscule size and diverse physical properties can make them difficult to handle and prone to measurement errors.
Having a precise and reliable electronic powder dispenser will help you overcome the challenges of weighing and dispensing powders, leading to highly reproducible results and a safer and streamlined workflow.
If you’re interested in finding the most accurate powder dispenser for your laboratory, XQ Instruments offers a wide range of customizable dispensing solutions for precise, efficient, and safe measurement. Visit the XQ Instruments website now and make every lab hour count!