Labcycle, A Plastics Cleaning System.

It's clear in academic literature and in the scientific community that sustainability in laboratories is a massive, growing, and challenging problem. Labcycle aims to improve the quantity of waste laboratories contribute by helping labs to get 2-5 more uses from plastic items such as pipette tips, eppendorf tubes, centrifuge tubes. This solution saves labs money, reduces their environmental impact, and helps scientists to target numbers 11, 12, and 13 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Image of an eight-drawer cleaning device sitting on a laboratory bench.
An exploded view of the drawer section of the tool.
A purple hue pipette tip with a strong shadow on a white backbround.

Laboratory plastics

Through my research, I came to the clear conclusion that pipette tips are one of the largest contributors to plastic waste in laboratories. Although few environmentally conscious researchers make an effort to get more use from them, even going as far, as to wash them by hand, the vast majority of users will dispose of them after a single use as they can’t typically use traditional methods such as autoclaves. Depending on the risk posed by contamination users will dispose of tips that have had next to no contamination if there is a small risk, as sterile working equipment is essential. Though there seem to be few barriers that prevent a solution that is sterile and sustainable for the majority of contexts.

If you care to read more about this, you can download and view my thesis further down this page or from my website.

How does Labcyle work?

The sequence of events for the product.
The first image: Points out the red and purple connectors for the external water supply and waste water. 
The second image: shows the drawer being pulled out, the tub being removed from the top of the drawer and the lid removed from the tub. 
The third image: shows pipette tips being placed inside the tub on a bench.
The fourth image shows how the water flows up and around to the lid to then spray the equipment. 
the final image: points out the mini display, Green is from complete loads and blue indicates how long it has left.

The Labcylce System uses 8 removable and independently washable tubs to sterilise equipment with a 5-cycle washing system (prewash, wash, rinse, dry and anti-microbial spray). Then, sterilised equipment can be easily taken from the machine in a contained and sterile tub that can be used from a bench or off-site. To wash the equipment and dispose of wastewater, demineralised water travels to and from two external water supplies attached at the back that are monitored using the touch display at the front. Users can wash loads independently and monitor the wash cycles of each load with the mini displays at the front of each drawer

The research that lead me to Labcycle in my dissertation
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Top view shot of pages from the dissertation with the download link above.
Project Poster
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User workflow was a key factor when thinking about how people would interact with the Labcycle System. Researchers are some of the busiest people on earth and can’t afford the time and effort to master a new skill or learn to add additional steps to their daily workflow so I tried to keep the products use similar to their current workflow and simple.

The external water supplies make it easy to quickly dispose of or fill/replace waste and clean water as the conical plugs fit into commonly used bottles.
The main user interface assists with calibration and monitoring while mini interfaces let users see at a glance what is happening with the load.
The handles make it clear if the drawer is closed and locked properly, horizontal meaning it’s shut and ready to run.
and replaceable trays mean it’s intuitive and simple to recalibrate for the different sized equipment going in.

An exploded view of the product.

Nick Sabulis

Nick Sabulis is a designer with a drive towards technology, robotics, and sustainability. With experience working in other fields, companies, and countries Nick prides himself on an open-minded worldview, effective and supportive teamwork, and his work ethic.