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Hoods vs. Isolators
Best Hoods for the 3rd Millennium

Best Hoods for the 3rd Millennium

Dome Hoods & Barrier Isolators

Dome Hoods & Barrier Isolators

Down-draft Dome Fume Hood Technology Dome Barrier Isolator
Product Details
What?
Laminar flow air wash - Through hand ports How?
Total physical barrier + Negative pressure isolation
Capture, dilution & removal of hazards Rule of operation
Contain and capture all hazards
Removal of particulate, smoke and vapor:
 exothermic reactions and higher volume
 emissions as in Cooking, & exothermic chemistry
Best for
Control & containment of hazardous liquids, powders and particulates: medical, pharmaceutical, industrial assembly, biotech and nanotech work
4 to 28 CFM ( 113 to 792 liters per minute ) Air Flow Required 0.03 to 0.05 CFM ( 1 to 1.5 liters per minute )

Similar principle to traditional hoods but more efficient; still can remove smoke, vapor & heat, but is more compact, energy efficient & cleaner than conventional fume hood.  Used in well-lit area, then it doesn't require inside light fixtures, so it has same clean/ seam & corner-free shell as Dome barrier isolator  
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More air-flow than Barrier Isolator, and it does not compel rigorous glove/hand-use protocol to the degree forced by glove box use.  Requires more air-flow & electrical power than Barrier/glove box. May require specialized test/certification.  Air wash may disturb or contaminate processes.  May requires hard duct-work.  Generally requires more operator care for effective control of hazardous materials.  Places more load on heating/cooling/ventilation systems compared to Dome glove box.  May require fan or duct engineering or design work prior to installation 
Pros/Cons? Efficient, fail-safe & reliable, compact, flexible & inexpensive.  Low energy, easy to clean (no corners or seams) environmentally superior, simple & easy to install, certify & maintain.
 Economical to operate; no ductwork required; 
Tiny carbon footprint, containment even after power fairure, mechanical fault or human error, easy/simple to purchase, install
 and certify.  This is a safer, simpler, more robust, practical solution.

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Newer & less common than laminar air-wash hoods, not always effective to control massive heat or smoke, not always covered by 20th century standards, regulations and training


For many contemporary applications, barrier isolation glove box enclosures provide simpler, safer, less expensive processing than is possible using hoods, but when massive smoke, vapor or heat must be removed, this technology is seldom an option.  In some applications, barrier isolation workstations are safer and more practical, but may not comply with corporate standards, government regulations or other requirements established or carried over from the 20th century.  
In most R/D, quality assurance, industrial assembly, biotech and gmp applications, regulatory issues and standards are unlikely to impede implementation of newer, more efficient barrier isolation systems.  In highly regulated medical and pharma applications, it is often easier to apply barrier isolation in applications that have not previously been isolated in hoods, than in processes where hoods are the typical handling technology in place.  While infrastructure and older standards may pose a challenge, the massive improvement in risk control, cost, ecological control and efficiency often is worth the effort to implement barrier isolation, when it is possible.

In some cases it may be possible to provide the efficiency and reliability of barrier isolation while satisfying old requirements by combining barrier isolation glove box systems with hoods or cleanrooms.  By placing a barrier isolator inside a large hood or other laminar air wash clean room, a process can be better controlled, with less emissions and reduced safety risk, but at a higher operating cost.  In the long run, it seems likely that standards and regulations will be updated, but they should be carefully checked prior to changing your isolation approach.


A few of the reasons why organizations move from fume hoods to barrier isolation include:

  • Eliminating the cost of custom hood/enclosure engineering, design and fabrication 
  • Reducing or eliminating the cost of ductwork, fan upgrades, heating/AC and ventillation system upgrades for these sources
  • Reducing HVAC / energy expense from additional building exhaust and related heating or cooling
  • Eliminating new roof penetration and exhaust environmental permits and related costs and delays
  • Reducing maintenance & operational headaches from work in, on and around stationary enclosures
  • Reducing or eliminating lighing issues for work under vent hoods (clear dome uses room lighing)
  • Reducing floorspace and counterspace required due to small footprint (4.8 square feet)
  • Reducing downtime and maintenance cost for station access (hood remove & replace times < 2 minutes)
  • Reducing filter media and replacement labor costs ( HEPA cartridges last longer, and cost < $80 )
  • Reducing risk, exposure, insurance and compliance costs by means of fail-safe performance
  • Reducing direct energy cost ( power requirement < 0.3 KWH per 40 hr. week for Safe-T-Dome™)

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