Streamline flow or laminar flow describes a distinct pattern of movement often utilized within a controlled environment, such as a lab. Lab personnel should be familiar with all of the necessary procedures involved with using a laminar air flow unit before doing any critical processes or handling bio-hazardous materials.
Air Flow Hood
Laminar Air Flow Hoods have a HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filter; are made from Formica or stainless steel and are used to prepare IV solutions which require a sterile and germ-free environment. These devices will separate the air that flows through the hood in layers. The air is cleansed of bacteria and microorganisms.Laminar flow hoodsare also used in medical facilities to protect patients with compromised or weak immune systems.
A biological safety cabinet may also be called a laminar flow hood or flow cabinet, a flow hood, or laminar air flow hood. These enclosures are specifically designed to create a clean air laboratory environment by removing air particulates through a filtration system.
Clean rooms use chemical fume hoods and biological safety cabinets to maintain safety standards for laboratory environments. These systems are often part of the overall HVAC system located within the clean room environment. Although known to be very effective, fume hoods and safety cabinets can be costly for installation and maintenance. A ductless laminar air flow hood provides an economical alternative to the hoods and cabinets designed with costly exhaust systems.
Installation of a flow hood in your workshop is a safety measure that must be taken by all business owners. You may work in a small workshop that attaches to your home, or you may manage a large facility. Every building that sees industrial work every day must have laminar flow hoods in every room. The hoods you install will help you remove dirty air from the space, and the hoods help protect the lungs of you and your employees. Installation protocols are different for every building, but a simple plan will help you complete an installation that makes sense for your business.
#1: Where Do The Hoods Go?
Flow hoodsmust be installed directly over workstations in your building. Your home workshop may feature a flow bench that allows you to remove dirty air from the room as you work, and the hood is designed as part of the bench. A larger workshop may have hoods over every table, and a massive factory may have several hoods hanging from the ceiling. You must decide how to install your hoods based on the size of your building.
#2: How Do The Hoods Work?
The hoods use fans that suck air out of the room into an attached hose or pipe. The hose or pipe may go to a duct that leads outside, or the air may be sent to an incinerator that burns off any fumes that are flammable. You must attach your hoods to pipes that take the air away from your workers, and there may be a building code in your area that addresses such installations. Ensure that you have installed each hose or pipe correctly once the hoods are installed.
#3: Power Sources
The power source for your hood must be the wiring in your building. You tap into the electrical outlets for each room, and you may place the control panel where the outlet once stood. Your hoods will turn on and off using a simple switch, but you are not plugging in a socket. The hoods work best when they are hard-wired into your building’s electrical circuitry.
The power switch comes with a knob that allows you to control the speed of the fan. Every fan must be set to accommodate the amount of gas in the room, and your employees may turn up the fan at any time. Combining the hood with a gas sensor will help your employees understand what setting to use, and your building will be much safer as a result.
#4: How Long Do The Hoods Last?
A laminar flow hood will last for years on end when it is cleaned properly. You must hire a local service to clean your hoods once or twice a year. A complete cleaning and inspection will reveal any problems with the hood, and the technician can repair those problems during the visit. Dirty hoods will allow debris to get back into each room, and flammable gases or debris may ignite inside the hoods. You may keep your hoods for decades, but the hoods must be perfectly clean all the time.
A hood or flow bench helps everyone in a workshop remain safe during production. Industrial materials and tools create gases and debris that must be pulled out of the room, and your hoods will keep the air clean inside the space. Your employees are counting on the hoods to keep the air clean, and you must keep the hoods in good condition for the safety of your staff. A proper workshop or factory is not truly safe until every workstation is covered by a hood fan.
Do you have an application such as inspection of parts or assembly of optics that calls for a clean work environment free from airborne particulate matter? Laminar flow workstations are commonly used for Class 100 (ISO 5) applications that need a level of cleanliness corresponding to less than 100 particles of diameter greater than 0.5 micrometers per cubic foot of air. This type of clean environment is also ideal for the medical, pharmaceutical, electronics, food and industrial sectors for sterile manipulations, assembly of miniature mechanisms, production of optical components.
Laminar Airflow Workstations
Laminar flow workstations provide a source of clean filtered air that flows smoothly over the work area and then out, keeping the working area at the rated cleanliness level. These workstations come in a range of sizes from 24″ wide and 24″ high to as much as 96″ wide by 37″ high, and can be moved through standard-width doorways. The workstations will have:
- a flow hood,
- both electrostatic and HEPA 99.99% air filters,
- micro-controlled low-speed air blowers,
- integral lighting over the work area,
- electrical outlets for equipment,
- surfaces of stainless steel for easy cleaning, or polypropylene to avoid any possible contamination from rust.
The working area is enclosed at the sides to ensure guided airflow and to prevent the possibility of contaminating particles mixing in from the outside. The low blower speed prolongs the fan’s lifetime and also provides a quieter environment for the operator, with noise levels around 65 DBA. Electrical outlets, cable trays and tool drawers are integrated into a complete workstation for a broad spectrum of applications.
These are the basic types of laminar airflow workstations for clean environment applications.
Horizontal Flow Workstation
In a horizontal flow bench, the room air is pulled in from an opening on top of thelaminar flow hoodor below the work area platform and then prefiltered electrostatically. The air then moves to the rear of the bench and exits through HEPA filters that span the back of the workstation into the working area, after which the ultra-clean Class 100 air exits towards the front of the workstation, and past the operator. The laminar air flow is monitored, and any filter obstruction is reported to the operator. This horizontal flow bench design is intended for product protection.
Such a flow hood could also make an excellent tissue culture hood. Other clean bench applications could be for:
- IV admixture preparation,
- drug compounding,
- plant cell culture,
- media preparation,
- pharmaceutical procedures,
- electronics assembly.
Vertical Flow Workstation
A vertical flow bench design also has the room air pulled in from the top of the laminar flow hood where it is prefiltered electrostatically. In this case, the air then is pulled below through HEPA filters and flowed downward onto the working surface, exiting past the operator at the front. The intended use for this design is in applications that require clean environments and pose no hazard to the operator.
Polymerase Chain Reaction Workstations
Some laminar flow workstations have specialized enclosures that reduce the risk of sample contamination while performing polymerase chain reaction experiments. The constant positive pressure HEPA filtered air prevents airborne contaminants from entering into the work zone. The workstations are equipped with a built-in shortwave UV lamp to effectively decontaminate the work area between amplifications. Safety interlocks prevent operators from being exposed to UV radiation. However, keep in mind that these are not biological safety cabinets. They are designed to provide process protection only from potential airborne contaminants found in the laboratory space.
Time and time again we’ve heard about how important labs are. Unfortunately, many seem to take it for granted. Please do not commit that same mistake.
Take note that laboratories—regardless of what specific activities or operations you use it for—need to work effectively. Otherwise, you can expect to run into certain complications, including but not limited to safety issues or inaccurate tests.
And that’s the reason why lab maintenance is quite important…
Lab maintenance (whether you like it or not) is indispensable to your lab. This will help ensure that your lab works the way it should, without any unnecessary issues that may hamper your operations.
Here are some additional reasons why you should make sure that every aspect of your lab is well taken care of:
Let’s face it: If you’reworking ina lab that doesn’t have the needed amenities (ex: fume hoods or lab tables)—then you can’t expect it to work the way it should.
In order to ensure efficiency, you need to invest in efficiency. Make sure that you have the right equipment that can help make your lab operations more effective. Yes, this may mean having to spend some money at first—but later on it will make your lab better. Believe me.
Safety is and will always be something that you should keep in mind. If you’re working in a lab, all the more you should ensure that you and your co-workers will be safe.
Tip: Assess your lab. Make sure everything is fine. Is yourlaminar air flow hoodworking alright? Are your lab tables able to handle the chemicals it’s exposed to constantly? Are you using updated safety gear?
Undertake the needed strategies and use the proper equipment to ensure that you will be safe at all times. If there are any issues, please do resolve them immediately. Taking safety for granted is courting disaster.
If your lab is not well maintained, chances are it will cost you more money in the long run. Why? Because there’s a big probability that you will have to spend a lot of money on equipment repairs.
Remember that maintenance is meant to prevent things from getting worse. It’s to ensure that things run as smoothly as they should. So, if you fail to follow that rule, you just might end up with more problems in your hands. In other words: If you want to save money, make sure your lab is well-maintained.
Employee motivation is an important aspect of a workplace—whatever it may be. After all, if you don’t have employees who are motivated for work, chances are you’ll be running into a lot of issues later on.
Take note: Although employee motivation may seem to be a simple strategy, in reality it’s really not. There are various facets that we will need look into, in order to ensure that your workers will actually perform as well as they should.
Curios? Here are some strategies for motivating your employees:
Be a Good Leader
Sometimes, motivation all boils down to leadership. If you just take the time to learn how you can make your employees and workers happier (and motivated work harder), there’s no reason you can’t make things work.
Find Ways to Excite Your Workers
Remember: A worker who’s excited to work—will most likely be more motivated for work. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to make that possible:
– Give rewards to workers who’ve performed well with their tasks. This will make them more appreciative—and more motivated.
– Listen to what they have to say. Do you have some employees asking for a raise? Is somebody requesting for a newlaminar air flow hood? Are there any employee suggestions on how to make the workplace more effective? Whatever your employee’s message is, again take the time to listen. This can surely lead to more benefits for you.
– Be fair. When the time comes you have to discipline employees, make sure that you’re as fair as possible. This will help prevent any mishaps along the way—and your employees will understand why they’ve been scolded or reprimanded (this will also prevent them from getting demotivated).
“Invest” in Your Employees
Remember: your workers are the backbone of your business or company. As it is, you should try to provide them with the necessary equipment and amenities, to enhance productivity and efficiency.
So, for example: Are your workers constantly working in heavy duty tasks? If so, then you might want to provide them with a heavy duty work bench to make things easier for them. Are there personality development seminars that you think your workers will have good use for? If so, then you might to invest in that as well.
Remember: The more you are able to help your employees out—the more they will be motivated to work for your company. Obviously, that can lead to increased productivity, better results and many other advantages. So, take the time to motivate your employees. You are bound reap benefits from it.