The Irony of Metal Fume Cupboards

Throughout time, fume cupboards have been manufactured using an exotic variety of several different materials that often leave us scratching our heads. Believe it or not, possibly the oldest known example of this was a wooden box with sliding sashes. However, as you can imagine, mixing corrosive substances with highly flammable materials isn't something we would recommend.

Surprisingly though, due to the design's primitive use of wood and glass, these somewhat safe matchboxes performed exceptionally well. This may be due to the type of wood used, in this case, a hard oak which offered an adequate level of protection. Although, they did suffer from heat resistance issues which inadvertently ushered in the age of the metal fume cupboard.

Unfortunately, these metal variants haven't fared much better either. Whether you intend on using steel, stainless steel or aluminium, corrosion remains a constant annoyance.

If that's the case, what is the best material to use when building a fume cupboard, and why do we still see facilities operating cabinets made from metals that easily corrode?

Here's our Commercial Director's view on metal fume cupboards:

Throughout my career, I've visited several hundred laboratories across the UK. Yet with each one I view; I often see the orange encrusted remains of so-called "modern" metal fume cupboards steadily corroded by even the most basic lab functions. Some within a few short years.

The question is, why are fume cabinets (which by their very nature are highly likely to contain corrosive substances) still manufactured from steel?

Surprisingly, there is a simple explanation. Steel is a common resource that's relatively simple for manufacturers to manipulate. Having said that, there is a more cost-effective solution available.

Here at TION, we manufacture our fume cupboards using virgin medical grade polypropylene. It requires no powder coating or painting and offers 100% corrosion resistance. We also offer a variety of work surfaces to suit any given application, including Trespa.

If you have any technical enquiries or require support selecting and installing the appropriate fume cupboard, please contact our team.

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