April 16, 2011

Good Hotplate

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

On Wednesday there was a bad hotplate incident that melted two of my samples. As scary and destructive (for my poor Oman rocks…) as this incident was, I’m happy to report that there is some good resulting. I’ve filed a full safety report, and with the help of a safety person I’ve been in touch with Thermo Scientific, the company that manufactured the defective hotplate. Maybe it’s because Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a big client, but I’ve been very impressed at Thermo Scientific’s response so far. We have a representative working with us on our case, and the company is launching an investigation of the incident to see if there is a problem with this model of hotplate. I really hope the company follows-through with the investigation. Thermo Scientific is also offering to buy me a new hotplate, though I told them I don’t want another Cimarec hotplate since I don’t trust this hotplate. I almost said, “I don’t want your crappy unsafe hotplate,” but I managed to put it a little more tactfully than that on the phone with the representative.

So, you might be wondering, what hotplate do I want? I want a PicoTrace safety hotplate, a geochemist’s dream:

The dreamy PicoTrace hotplates. Image taken from here.

What a gorgeous hotplate…. separate temperature control outside of the corrosive environment, multiple safety features and temperature limits, a maximum temperature of 265 degrees C… I could go on and on about this dreamboat hotplate.

Alas, these beautiful hotplates start at about $3,000. I’m not sure if Thermo Fisher will spring for that, but perhaps they’ll at least refund our money for the two hotplates that malfunctioned, and we can put that money towards the expensive hotplate. Also, I’m pretty sure the hotplate incident has convinced everyone involved in the lab re-design and money budgeting that it’s worth it to pay for the $3,000 model hotplates. Yes, the PicoTrace hotplates are expensive, but they’re worth it for safety.