How to Select the Best Specialty Lab Cabinets, Including Fume Hoods, Laminar Flow Cabinets, and Biosafety Cabinets

cryogenics laboratory furniture

Understanding The Full Spectrum Of Biosafety Cabinet Solutions — From Laminar Flow Cabinets To Biosafety Cabinets To Fume Hoods.

You often hear these three terms used somewhat interchangeably: laminar flow cabinets, biosafety cabinets (BSCs), and fume hoods.

Formaspace built the furniture for this lab at a prominent medical device research facility. It features a large fume hood that’s integrated within the powder-coated gloss white steel casework with gray epoxy tops, as well as a secondary fume snorkel.

Laminar Flow Cabinets: Protecting The Product/Sample From Contamination

Category And Class/Type: Laminar Flow Cabinets, Vertical Or Horizontal

Let’s start by looking at laminar flow cabinets because they’re the simplest category from a human safety requirements standpoint. Why? Laminar flow cabinets are designed to protect the product (whether it’s a semiconductor chip, a non-toxic tissue sample, or a non-toxic pharma compound) from contamination. And by contamination, we usually mean human contamination, such as dust particles spread from clothing, dander from skin, stray human hairs, etc.

· Human Health Protection: None

· Product/Sample Protection: Maintain A Particle-Free, Sterile Work Zone

· Lab Setting: Often Used Within A Larger Cleanroom Setting (With Positive Or Negative Air Pressure, Depending On Requirements).

How do laminar airflow cabinets work? Typically, air is drawn into the cabinet via a fan, where it passes through a HEPA filter to remove any particles. The particle-free air is blown across the work zone in a straight line, e.g. in a laminar air stream, at a rate of 80–100 fpm.

· Input Air Source: Intake Of Ambient Room Air From A Grill In The Top Of The Unit

· Filtration Protection: Air Is Processed Through A HEPA Filter To Eliminate Particulates Landing On The Product/Sample; However, The Air Is Then Blown Out Of The Cabinet After Touching The Product/Sample, Providing No Additional Protection For The Worker

· Exhaust Air Output: Air Exits Via Front Of The Open Cabinet And Recirculates Back Into The Room

· Work Zone Protected Areas: Best Locations Are In The Center For Vertical Laminar Flow Cabinets, In The Back For Horizontal Laminar Flow Cabinets.

BSL Level 4 Glovebox Biosafety Cabinet (Class III BSC)

As mentioned earlier, we’ll contrast the simplicity of the laminar flow cabinet with one of the most highly regulated units, a Glovebox Biosafety Cabinet (BSC) used in a Level 4 Biosafety Laboratory (BSL-4), which is built to handle extremely dangerous biohazards, such as the ebola virus.

glovebox biosafety cabinet
A Glovebox Biosafety Cabinet is probably what you think of first when imagining a lab worker handling dangerous pathogens. But there are a variety of Biosafety Cabinets (BSCs) designs available for handling biohazards, depending on your unique laboratory safety requirements.

· Human Health Protection: Protect Lab Workers From Biohazards

· Product/Sample Protection: Maintain A Particle-Free, Sterile Work Zone

· Lab Setting: Used Within A Highly Regulated Cleanroom Setting, With Operators Wearing Full Protection Suits. Air Pressure Is Controlled To Ensure Contaminated Air Exits The Room.

The lab operator slides his hands into the gloves, allowing him or her to manipulate dangerous products or samples within the cabinet without having any direct contact with the air contained inside. The air entering the cabinet is HEPA-filtered on the way in. The contaminated exhaust air is HEPA-filtered twice on the way out then hard ducted directly through the roof to vent into the outdoors. (In some cases, an incinerator is used instead of the second HEPA exhaust filter.)



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