Ultra-quiet, Super-light Temperature Control Unit for Research Laboratories
Feb 10 2023
Huber presents the ‘Piccolo’, a new laboratory cooler with Peltier technology
Temperature control units are an integral piece of equipment in research laboratories. The spectrum of applications ranges from sample preparation to the temperature control of analytical instruments. Different units are often used, such as bath circulators for heating and chillers for upcoming cooling tasks. By introducing the new Piccolo Peltier chiller, Huber has launched an extremely compact heating/cooling circulator to address simple bench-top applications in the lab. Being refrigerant-free, they are environmentally-friendly and simpler and easier to maintain and service. The Piccolo fits perfectly into the Huber philosophy which has always been focused on providing environmentally-friendly refrigeration systems. With the development and introduction of the Piccolo, Huber is furthering their pioneering role in the field of ecological and sustainable temperature control technology.
Advantages of Peltier technology
The new Piccolo has extremely compact dimensions, allowing a space-saving installation on any laboratory bench. Weighting only 13 kg and fitted with ‘Quick-Disconnect’ pump connections, it is easily moved around the lab to a new location.
Peltier devices both cool & heat depending on the direction of the electric current flow through them. During development, the mode of operation of the Peltier elements was optimised and configured in an energy-efficient manner. The electronic control system within the ‘OLÉ’ controller keeps the Peltier elements operating efficiently and giving tight, responsive temperature control. Having no compressor fitted and a quiet efficient pump, the Piccolo has no vibrations, is virtually maintenance-free and extremely quiet in operation.
The wide tolerance of the mains voltage (100-240 V 1~/2~ 50/60 Hz) give enormous flexibility allowing the unit to operate on virtually any domestic power supply.
The Piccolo is aimed at applications with low power requirements with constant temperatures. Typical applications include: rotary evaporators and temperature control of analytical instrumentation such as refractometers, polarimeters and electrophoresis chambers, cooling optical measuring instruments, lasers and photodiodes. In addition, the Piccolo is suitable for temperature control tasks in quality control, material tests and sample preparation, and general applications, e.g. smaller chemical, photo and bioreactors, thermal blocks and cooling plates.
For the applications mentioned, the Piccolo provides a cooling capacity of 280 watts at 20°C and a heating capacity of up to 700 watts (at 4°C). The working temperature range is 4 to 70°C, the circulation pump has a maximum flow of 1.85 l/min and a maximum pressure of 0.95 bar. The Piccolo is designed for operation with non-flammable liquids such as water or water-glycol mixtures and is therefore suitable for numerous temperature control tasks in research and testing laboratories and in analytical technology.
The Piccolo is operated via the extremely simple and proven OLÉ controller. Additionally, installation and commissioning are quick and easy: Set up, connect, fill and switch on – the entire setup process is completed in just a few minutes. The practical hose quick-release fasteners save the user just as much time as the intuitive menu navigation. Temperature settings are made with a few keystrokes on the bright OLED display, which is always easy to read. A USB port and an RS232 interface are standard on the Piccolo. In conjunction with the free SpyControl software, the Piccolo can be remotely controlled from a PC, and temperature readings can be visualised and recorded.
Safety is paramount. Overheating protection and adjustable temperature limits for the setpoint are standard functions. In addition, there is an automatic mains failure function which allows either a shutdown or automatic continuation of the temperature control after a mains voltage interruption.
Lightweight and minimum space requirement
With a weight of only 13 kg, the Piccolo can be placed effortlessly on any laboratory bench with minimal effort. The space required measures only 215 x 310 mm and is roughly the size of a A4 paper sheet.
Performance in practice
In order to test the control behaviour of the Piccolo under real conditions, a case study was created in which the temperature control of a biochemical reaction was simulated. For this purpose, a 3 litre bioreactor was used and filled with two litres of water as the reaction mass. A reaction heat of 100 watts was supplied via an electric heater in order to simulate the reaction.
The Case Study demonstrates that the Piccolo is a real alternative for bench-top applications in which the main concern is to keep the working temperature constant. The control accuracy of the Piccolo is ideally suited for such applications: in the case study, the small cooler was able to control the reactor contents with a constant temperature of +-0.05 K.
The new Piccolo recirculating cooler works thermo-electrically with the latest Peltier technology and is therefore refrigerant-free, low-maintenance and environmentally friendly. In practice, the Piccolo can be used in a variety of ways, e.g. in analysis technology or in the preparation of laboratory samples. Other plus points are the ultra-quiet operation, the small footprint and simple commissioning and operation, which noticeably facilitates daily work in the laboratory.
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