Tips on Laboratory 6 place Blood Centrifuge Machine

How to Centrifuge Blood Tubes
How to Centrifuge Blood Tubes

How to Centrifuge Blood

Blood centrifuge machines are used in medical laboratories, some are 6 place or 8 place for blood tube slots. The centrifuge uses centrifugal force, a spinning motion that exerts pushes outward, to separate liquids into their component parts. A whole blood specimen can be placed into a centrifuge and separated into a bottom layer of heavy red blood cells, a tiny middle layer of platelets and white blood cells called the buffy coat, and a top liquid layer that is the lightest of the components. The top layer is serum if the specimen was allowed to clot before centrifuging or plasma if the specimen was anti-coagulated and not allowed to clot.

Blood Centrifuge Machine - Instrument that spins and separates blood into layers depending on the weight of the layer. The heavier elements are pushed to the bottom due to centrifugal force.

Blood tubes must always be balanced in the centrifuge.Before placing blood tubes into the centrifuge slots, remember to always label each blood tube with the patient's information: full name, today's date, military time, and the collectors initials. If an uneven number of tubes are to be spun, a tube with water must balance the other blood tube on the opposite side of the centrifuge. Fill an empty blood tube with water all the way to the top; this will balance the other tube that has the blood content because it weighs more. Then place the water tube and the blood tube opposite of each other in the centrifuge machine.

All tubes must be securely capped. Never start the machine until the lid is locked' many centrifuge machines will not start until the lid is securely locked. NEVER open the centrifuge until all motion has stopped, and NEVER stop the spin with your hand. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning, oiling, and maintaining the machine. As with all equipment, read the instructions before operating the machine.


Names of Blood Centrifuge Machines

  • Clay Adams 2
  • Becton Dickinson
  • Hamilton Bell VanGuard
  • Drucker
  • Unico Powerspin
  • Beckman
  • Grafco


The RPM seen on a centrifuge machine means 'rounds per minute,' set the centrifuge speed at "15 RPM." This is the most common speed for centrifuging blood tubes.

Adding a small amount of anticoagulant to a test tube prevents the blood from clotting and keeps it in a condition similar to how it was in the body. The uncoagulated blood has the bottom layer that contains the erythrocytes (red blood cells), and there is a thin layer in the middle called the buffy coat (which are white blood cell - platelets). The buffy coat contains a mixture of leukocytes and thrombocytes. And the top layer is 'plasma' which contains fibrinogen.

After a blood tube has been spun-down by the centrifuge machine for 15 RPM; the "clotted" blood will show the top layer which is 'serum.' And the bottom layer will show the 'clot.'

Many medical professional personnel use a centrifuge machine for spinning down blood tubes such as: Medical Assistants, Doctors, Registered Nurses, Phlebotomist, Mobile Phlebotomist, and other medical personnel.

When purchasing a centrifuge machine, make sure it's a "laboratory 6-place centrifuge" and not a scientific centrifuge. Some lab centrifuges may hold 8 places or more for blood tubes.


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