A laminar flow hood is a device that allows obtaining a sterile and safe area for any need that is required within a laboratory. It can be: horizontal or vertical. Basically it constitutes a space, which, by means of a specific treatment of the air, allows to work in an area with a strict control of non-road particles.
What should you keep in mind?
This type of equipment is used for certain processes where extreme pollution control is needed. Normally, these systems are used for microbiological control procedures, packaging process and sterile filling, but in no way should they be used for processes in which strains of contaminating biological agents are involved, whether known or not. For these cases there are biological safety cabinets, prepared exclusively for the protection of the product / process, the operator and the environment.
To understand the purpose of laminar flow equipment, it is necessary to consider its operation, and the physical space where it will be located.
First, we must consider that extremely clean areas will be required whenever working with products or processes with requirements of a certain degree of sterility. These zones are constituted by systems that work under a laminar flow pattern.
How laminar flow occurs in the equipment?
The laminar flow is generated thanks to a constant velocity at the air outlet that allows the distribution in the workplace to be homogenized. This is possible thanks to the placement of HEPA filters as a previous step to the air outlet. However, considering a complete room with filters of these characteristics would be extremely expensive, and the question we must ask ourselves and if we really need the entire surface covered with HEPA filters. While these systems may differ in some constructive characteristics, maintaining a constant laminar air flow is critical to the objective. So it turns out that we could reduce the requirement to a clean or ultra clean area, instead of thinking about the entire area under this condition.
What can we conclude?
Laminar flow hoods contribute to the recirculation of clean air in the environment where they are, since they have a continuous work of air renewal. Let’s not forget that they take it from their environment, filter it and return it to the environment with an extra stage of absolute filtration, and this process is constant.
In the case of laminar flow hoods, the air output speed, in a constant way, continues and of homogeneous distribution through HEPA filters, allows to move the particles generated in the work area causing a sweeping effect out of said area. This mechanism achieves a workspace of grade A with a very low number of concentration of particles of different sizes.
However, if we understand that the laminar flow system provides us with a work zone free of contaminating particles, that in addition, the location environment will benefit from continuous use, as much as the use of a controlled environment will be advantageous for the operation of the system, we can consider that many times the failures associated with the operation of the equipment are given by the way they are used.
A laminar flow hood is not a storage cabinet, or a desk, or a receptacle for waste, but a critical work tool, so it is important to provide adequate care and maintenance to allow it to work with consistent results throughout its useful life