Professionals in the field of laboratory sciences occasionally encounter a situation where they must enclose several processes requiring the manipulation of product in two or more “phases”. But here’s the catch: some processes are comprised of 2 “phases” while others are comprised of 3 or more. The purpose of this document is to demonstrate the capability of Flow Sciences’ products to facilitate flexibility in a dynamic laboratory work environment. While the following text describes the original purpose behind the design of this enclosure suite, the real intention of this article is to convey the message that Flow Sciences’ product line offers consumers the flexibility to change their operations without compromising the safety of those performing them.
The Particle Analysis Suite was designed to enclose a vacuum cleaner filter changeout process on a Nilfisk vacuum unit as well as a Sympatec HELOS/BF Laser Diffraction Analyzer. The lower section of the middle enclosure is intended to house the Nilfisk vacuum system while the left/right enclosures house the laser diffraction devices. The client stipulated a respiratory exposure concentration of less than one hundred nanograms powder per cubic meter air (<100 ng/m3) during the filter replacement procedure. This exposure is expressed as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) in the breathing zone. A non-functional, fiberboard mockup of the enclosure suite was shipped to the client so they could make additional considerations prior to finalizing the design. After the client analyzed the area with mockup installed, Flow Sciences worked with the client’s facilities and health/safety departments to incorporate more versatility of use. Flow Sciences’ resultant decision was to add guillotine pass-thrus on each side of the sliding sash enclosures to allow interchangeability of the configuration of enclosure; the option
of using any permutation of 1, 2, or 3 enclosures was now possible. To add to the versatility, tables with locking casters were added to the sliding sash enclosures. A Double Safe Waste Chute is on the side of the draft shield enclosure to facilitate waste load-out.
The removable draft shield enclosure was subjected to two “phases” of Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) in FSI’s in-house laboratory. During one phase, the enclosure was tested with the draft shield in place. During the other phase, it was tested without the draft shield. Surrogate Powder Testing produced results proving the enclosure contained to an average respiratory exposure concentration of 30 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3).
Flow Sciences is known for their flexibility and their unique reception of customer needs. The FSI mantra of “…developing a containment solution to fulfill a particular industry need” does not exclude multi-stage processes. Multi-task systems are built for a multitasking world with a seemingly never-ending influx of information.