A laboratory environment requires different types of equipment to operate smoothly. The right type of lab furniture should be manufactured from high-quality materials such that they offer longevity and durability. For an effective working environment, one should choose laminar flow workstations that have the capability of maintaining a sterile environment in the labs. Also, a laminar flow workbench can be the more affordable way of maintaining a sterile, clean work environment compared to installing heavy machines.
Breaking down “Laminar Flow Workstation”
A laminar flow workstation is basically an enclosed workbench that has the capability of filtering contaminants and particles. High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter, present in the laminar flow hood attracts the air in the laboratory and then proceeds it towards rigorous filtration system. The air moves in a linear direction in the laminar air flow hood, either horizontally or vertically. Depending on the direction in which the air moves within the equipment, they can be distinguished as vertical laminar flow hood and horizontal laminar flow hood.
The laminar air flow hoods are designed to discourage any cross-over of air streams that directs the flow of the particles. The system ensures that the particles or contaminants simply move in one direction that leads towards the enclosed area.
Parts of the laminar air flow hood
Laminar flow hoods manufactured from stainless steel are most commonly available in the market and are in high demand because of its corrosion resistant property. A large number of models built with different combinations are also popular as they tailored to suit specific requirements. The manufacturers also utilize plastics, wood laminate, and welded tubular steel. A standard laminar flow workstation includes:
- HEPA filters
- Plastic laminated working surface
- Steel Frame framework
- Tubular steel frame connections that are welded
Different types or classes of laminar flow workstation
- Class I: The Class I laminar air flow has a design similar to the chemical fume hood, and are not so effective in protecting the workers and lab collections from contaminants. One can install it in a low contaminant working area though.
- Class II: The Class II category works best in the biological laboratories, and are also required when working with BSL- 1, 2, and 3 materials.
- Class III: The Class III laminar flow workstations are known to provide a higher degree of protection to the working environment including the workers. This type of workstation is mostly used when working with BSL-4 materials or human pathogens.
Practicing safety with laminar flow workstations
- A vertical laminar flow hood should be used when work is done mostly above the work surface as the clean stream of air is much closer to the work surface and filter where the samples are accessed.
- In case of working with agar samples, a horizontal laminar flow hood should be used as the cleanest space is nearest to where the vital samples are kept. The area does not see much disturbance, thus keeping the samples safe.
- For complete elimination of the contaminants or particles, one should run the laminar workstation for several minutes before starting work.
Laminar air flow workstations are used in pharmaceutical labs as well as chemical labs to reduce the risk of any hazardous accidents that will not only affect the lab cultures but also the workers. One can also see the laminar flow hoods in hospitals and pathology labs to ensure the safety of workers and lab samples. Nowadays, these devices are also being used in botanical labs and several manufacturing units, electronics industry, semiconductor industry, and circuit board manufacturing. Laminar flow workstations have thus grown to be an essential aspect of almost all types of laboratories.
Are you in the market for a new laminar flow workstation for your work environment? RDM Industrial Products has a variety of styles and configurations, customizable with optional accessories to meet your needs.