BECKMAN INSTRUMENTS, INC.
1050 Page Mill Road, Box 10200, Palo Alto, California 94304
Telephone (415) 657-1150
All Ultracentrifuge Users
Laboratory Safety Officers
June 22, 1984
URGENT CORRECTIVE ACTION NOTICE
Reclassification to Minimize
Ultracentrifuge Chemical Explosion Hazard
THIS LETTER IS SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED TO ALL OWNERS OF ULTRACENTRIFUGES OF
THE MODEL L SERIES, MODEL L2 SERIES, MODEL L3 SERIES, MODEL L4 SERIES AND THE
OWNERS OF TYPE 35 AND TYPE 42.1 ROTORS BELOW SERIAL NUMBER 1299.
In keeping with our policy of informing our customers of any potential safety hazard which might be
experienced in operating Beckman equipment, we are providing this URGENT corrective action notice with
respect to some of our older ultracentrifuges and rotors.
Although all Beckman ultracentrifuges and rotors undergo the closest design scrutiny and testing, there have
now been four unusual and exceptionally forceful rotor explosions in Beckman's ultracentrifuge manufacturing
history. The second of these incidents occurred in 1982 and was described in detail, together with a worldwide
instrument retrofit (of L2-65B, L2-75B, and L4's), in a letter mailed in April, 1982. The latest two incidents
which just recently occurred are described in detail in this notice, along with immediate and positive steps
which the company is taking to minimize the possibility of a recurrence of this type of incident. WE URGE
YOU TO READ THIS NOTICE CAREFULLY, AND TO JOIN WITH US IN THIS CORRECTIVE
PROGRAM TO ASSURE CONTINUED LABORATORY SAFETY.
The following summarizes the two most recent incidents:
Incident No. 1. This incident occurred in an unoccupied laboratory with a 15-year-old Model L2-65B
and a 6-year-old Type 60 Ti rotor. Beckman's subsequent investigation showed there were three
separate electronic malfunctions, two being in the overspeed circuit causing it to be inoperative but
allowing the ultracentrifuge to continue to run. Also there was a malfunction in the speed-control
circuit which caused- the rotor t