What Are Laminar Flow Cabinets Most Commonly Used For?

There are so many industries which require a clean and sanitised environment in which to work. From pharmaceutical and medical fields to manufacturing and scientific research, contaminate free areas are an absolute essential.

Many businesses that don’t have the facilities or budget for a full cleanroom choose to use laminar flow cabinets instead. This kind of equipment provides protection from contamination for a specified space within a lab. If you are wondering where laminar flow cabinets are commonly used, and if they could be the right solution for you, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Laminar Flow Cabinet?

Laminar flow cabinets, or cell culture hoods, are a specifically designed type of lab enclosed workstation, which creates a contamination free environment. A filter pad and HEPA filter capture all particles before they enter the cupboards.

They work in a very similar way to biosafety cabinets, with the key difference being the air flow that is used. Laminar flow is considered to be an airflow where the body of air in a specific space is steady in both direction and velocity.

This is the environment that is created within a laminar flow cabinet, as the air is drawn from the room by the fan through the filter pad and additionally through the HEPA filter, with the sterile air propelled to flow into the entire workspace.

What’s Difference Between a LAF Cabinet and LAF Fume Cupboard?

Laminar flow fume cupboards give all the benefits and the safety of a fume cupboard, with the full functionality of a clean bench. These innovative units are used in a lot of different real-world applications.

Most Common Uses for a LAF Cabinets & LAF Fume Cupboards

Here are some of the most popular uses for laminar flow cabinets are:

1. Pharmaceutical Production: When new pharmaceutical drugs are being created, there is a lot of hard work and time that needs to go into the process. Scientists often spend years formulating and testing new medications. LAF cabinets are commonly used for drug experiments and tests as a contaminant-free environment is vital to achieve accurate results.

2. Medical Laboratories: Medical labs need to have completely sterile environments in order to ensure there is no airborne contamination of their samples and experiments. Laminar flow cabinets are a popular option for laboratories that do not have their own clean rooms on hand.

Sometimes a UV lamp is used along a laminar flow fume cupboard in order to sterilise the area and ward of bacteria and viruses. If this is the case, the UV lamp is deactivated while the laminar flow cupboard is active as this ensures the operator is not exposed to the UV light emissions.

3. Tissue Cultures: When it comes to studying the biology of cells that come from living organisms, tissue cultures are a critical tool. Tissue cultures provide specialists with an environment that can be analysed and manipulated. Often a laminar flow cabinet will be used to give a contaminant free environment for tissue culture analysis and testing.

4. Medical Equipment Assembly: Organisations which assemble medical equipment and devices used for implants need to make sure they are working in a sterile environment. You will find that laminar flow cabinets are used for assembling manufacturing, and packaging medical equipment to make sure that there has been no contamination.

5. Lens Assembly: Medical equipment is certainly not the only area that requires a sterile and clean assembly environment. Lenses also benefit from being manufactured and assembled in a laminar flow cabinet. Having any particles or dust on a lens can cause dark marks when the camera is in use.

Think back to old movies where marks on films were a common occurrence. Modern movies do not have this issue thanks to equipment like laminar flow cupboards.

6. Electronic Parts Assembly: Another item which requires extreme clean environments during assembly is electronic parts. They are very sensitive to any kind of surface contamination, so LAF units are used to prevent this during both testing and assembly stages.

7. Data Recovery: It might surprise you to learn that data recovery services rely on this type of equipment. They use these cabinets to assist when recovering files from digital devices such as flash drives and hard drives. A single speck of dust on a microchip could cause serious damage.

8. Food Processing: For large scale food processing, a clean room or something similar is required, but on smaller scales, laminar flow cabinets work perfectly. Food products are often packaged in these contaminate free environments, and food testing labs commonly used them as well.

Whether you’re in the process of refurbishing your laboratory, looking to upgrade your equipment or would like more guidance on choosing the correct specification laminar flow cabinet for your application, feel free to get in touch or book a free consultation with one of our experts.

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