The laminar flow workstations have been designed to maintain a clean environment in a laboratory or industrial setting. The laboratory requires different types of equipment to ensure a smooth process of working. And, different gaseous substances may be released into the air that can adversely affect the occupants and workers. This is where a laminar flow workstation comes in. It has the capability of maintaining a clean and hygienic working environment in the industry and laboratory. A laminar flow workstation is more than that of a simple lab workbench as it is equipped with a flow hood whose objective is to keep the environment clean.
Given below are some points that one should consider while buying a laminar flow workstation.
The Applications of a Laminar Flow Hood:
Laminar flow workstations have become a must in the research laboratories, especially those that work with harmful chemicals. It is also essential equipment in the biotechnology, and semiconductor manufacturing labs. The laminar flow hood is also a part of the laboratories that require a sterile environment like the mushroom cultivation labs, tissue culture labs, IV preparation as well as data recovery applications. This is mainly because the samples are very sensitive to airborne pollutants and have a high chance of becoming contaminated. The laminar flow workstations are not only designed to protect the workers but also the samples.
The Functions of a Laminar Flow Workstation:
The laminar flow hood draws in the air filled with contaminants from the working area and then passes it through the highly efficient HEPA filter. Some models of the laminar flow hood contain ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters to meet the requirements of different types of laboratories and industries. In the case of the laminar flow workstations, the air flows vertically or horizontally, in a linear direction such as to prevent the worker from coming into contact with the contaminants.
Categories of Laminar Flow Hood:
The laminar flow hood workstations are generally classified as per the volume and size of the particles contained. This is within per volume of air in the working area. Other factors that determine the classification system of a laminar flow hood include air cleanliness capability, air flow speed, and airflow patterns. The different categories of the hood class include ISO 3 (Class 1), ISO 4 (Class 10), and ISO 5 (Class 100). Among these three ISO 5 is more commonly used in laboratories and industries.
Types of Laminar Flow Hood Workstations:
There are basically two types of laminar flow hoods – horizontal and vertical. These are simply named after the direction in which the air flows through the hood. In the case of the horizontal laminar flow hood, the air flows towards the operator after filtration. This is from the filter located behind the work surface. This type is mostly used for pharmaceutical and clinical applications. The vertical flow hood workstation, on the other hand, releases clean air in the downward direction. This is from the filter surface that is located on the top of the work surface. The vertical laminar flow hood is available in freestanding, bench-top, and portable design.
The lab furniture manufacturers use wood laminate, welded tubular steel, and even plastics to develop a typical laminar flow workstation. The system is designed to maintain the cleanliness of the laboratory or industrial working area and ensures the safety of the workers and the samples.