We were asked to design, manufacture and install a special purpose-built Walk-in Fume Extraction Cabinet for a client. Safety was highlighted as a top priority in this project.
Fume Extraction Cabinets, sometimes also called Fume Cupboards or Fume Hoods, are fitted into laboratories to prevent the inhalation of harmful substances by workers.
During the briefing, our client explained that they would be working with hormones in the Fume Extraction Cabinet. As a result, we needed to ensure that anyone operating the cabinet, as well as the surrounding environment, would be well protected.
We focused on three main safety features in the design of the Fume Extraction Cabinet. One involved making sure that the work chamber in the cabinet would be kept under a constantly monitored negative pressure, meaning that any airborne particles would not be able to escape. This would ensure a barrier between the processes occurring in the cabinet and the laboratory staff.
The second feature involved the installation of special safe change filter housings, to protect service personnel, as well as the environment, from exposure to the hormones produced within the Fume Extraction Cabinet. Safe change filter housings allow the cabinet’s air filters to be replaced without anyone being exposed to the actual filters and any contaminants they may contain.
Thirdly, in line with safety regulations, it was necessary to include a sump, which is a collection space for runoff liquids. We designed the sump to have a holding capacity that would exceed the volume of product being manipulated within the Fume Extraction Cabinet, ensuring safety even in the unlikely event of a product spill. The sump would also facilitate a wash-down of the cabinet between batches of different products.
Our client wanted to be able to control settings and make adjustments to the equipment housed inside the Fume Extraction Cabinet, which is a closed environment, as well. To make this possible, we installed glove ports in the toughened safety glass doors.
Once the Computer-Aided Design drawing plans were approved by the client, we proceeded to the manufacturing phase. Just 12 weeks later we were assembling the Walk-in Fume Extraction Cabinet on a building site that had been specially prepared for the unit.
By August 2015, our client’s laboratory was ready for operation. We carried out a full validation of the Walk-in Fume Extraction Cabinet and its filters, and our client began their production processes. We have since received feedback that they are very happy with the unit.
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