Jul 5, 2013

Online Shopping for Used Laminar Air Flow Equipment

Laminar flow hoods are designed to provide a sterile laboratory environment for biological tissue cultures, semiconductor wafer assembly and other sensitive investigations. Used equipment is widely available online, but caution should be exercised prior to purchase.

Operating principle.

Laminar air flow cabinets work on the principle that air is drawn in from the surrounding environment through a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter that strips particulates and contaminants and flows in a steady unidirectional phase across the clean work station. Such cabinets or clean benches are usually made of a stainless steel that has few gaps, cracks or spaces where particulates, dust and dirt may accumulate. The operator has access to the work space from the front of the cabinet, usually below a front sash.

Offers online.

Online shopping sites offer a wide variety of used laminar flow cabinet at bargain prices compared with a brand new piece of equipment. The first step when shopping is to check that the safety and quality specifications of the article conform to regulatory requirements. These could be national and European Union regulations, or guidelines issued by professional organisations that may not be mandatory, but are strongly recommended.

Air flow monitor.

The cabinet should be equipment with an air flow monitor that verifies that the air flow through it is at an appropriate rate to provide adequate protection for both the sample and the operator. Not all cabinets have this feature, but it would be preferable to choose one with this equipment. Otherwise, mistakes may occur during investigation or drug preparations. The consequences of this could be that the cabinet has to be replaced in its entirety - a costly exercise   or that it will need specialist repair and certification.

Self testing.

A self-testing ability is another preferable feature of such cabinets and other laboratory equipment. The front sash of the cabinet should be adjustable to a variety of positions for people working under the hood. Some cabinets are manufactured with a variety of plastic or resin surfaces, but stainless steel surfaces are preferable. Steel is easier to keep clean and is more durable against pitting than other materials.


There should be alarms on the cabinet to warn about inadequate air flow or that the front sash is open. This warns users of any risks that could occur due to operator error, or mechanical or electrical problems with the functioning of the air flow and filters. A light under the hood is a recommended feature. An ultraviolet light is preferable, as it provides a certain amount of sterilising power.

Be aware that installation costs for the cabinet, its exhaust systems and blower are a significant additional expense.

It's important that any used laminar air flow equipment is certified on site after installation. The HEPA air filter should also be checked. The frequency of filter replacement will also depend on the cabinet's precise location in a laboratory and the nature of the surrounding air. These checks are critical if the cabinet is to be used for hazardous investigations. Once installed, laboratory management should draft strict working and cleaning procedures so that an aseptic environment is maintained in the cabinet.

Smith is a certified calibrator for laminar air flow cabinets. If shopping online for new equipments, visit the website containedairsolutions.co.uk.

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