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Simplicity in Biosafety Cabinet Airflow

Simplicity in Airflow Generation for Class II Biological Safety Cabinets Improves Safety and Reliability

From the first generation of Class II Biological Safety Cabinets, the simplicity of using a single motor/blower have improved safety and reliability to generate and control cabinet airflow for both downflow and inflow versus more complex two motor/blower systems that generate and control downflow and inflow independently.

wide range of processes in research and various industries require a class II Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC). Scientists and lab technicians use this technology as the primary engineering control to protect themselves (personnel) and their work materials (products) when working with hazardous biological or chemical particulate materials in various forms of life science and pharmaceutical research, as well as hazardous drug preparation. Given the crucial safeguards provided by a BSC, these engineering controls must perform both continuously and reliably. In addition, a BSC must supply the necessary level of safety at an affordable lifetime cost of ownership. Meeting those criteria as effectively as possible depends on a BSC’s design and components. As this discussion shows, the engineering and economic principles of a single-blower BSC surpass those of a dual-blower approach.

The first generation of the modern-day class II BSC was originally specified by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the early 1970’s document NIH-03-112 for BSC suppliers to NIH as minimum requirements for construction and performance. The specification read: “The unit shall have only one motor driven fan system for both recirculated and exhaust air.” The NIH specification reinforced the message that simplicity improves reliability. As technology has evolved for motors, fans and controls, the basic class II BSC airflow design that provides personnel, product and environmental protection remains essentially the same.