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Dome Hoods & Barrier Isolators

Dome Hoods & Barrier Isolators

Down-draft Dome Fume Hood Technology Traditional Lab/Shop Hood
Product Details
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Up to 28 cfm Exhaust Flow 200 to 800 cfm
Up to 25 watts Fan Power Required Up to 300 watts +
Up to $75 /yr. Operating HVAC Cost Up to $1300 / yr.
Up to $150 /yr. Inspection & Maint. Up to $600 /yr.
$25 to $80 / hood Installation $90 to $500 / hood
$700 to $950 / hood Purchase + S/H $1100 to $4500 / hood
$20 to $90 / hood Maint. Filter & Permits $80 to $1500 / hood
$1600 / hood (typ)   5 yr. Purch. & Use Cost $7000 / hood (typ)
  • Ergonomic dome is easy to install & maintain
  • Strong, light-weight dome is rugged, chemically stable and durable
  • High efficiency, low air-flow design
  • Low air flow often avoids roof penetrations & environmental permit requirements
  • Much lower maintenance & testing costs
  • Simpler & more reliable
  • Faster to order, ship and install
  • Easier to operate & clean (no corners) 
  • Drasically smaller carbon footprintv
  • Far less expensive to buy, install and use
  • Light weight & spill control base provide extra flexibility
  • Far easier access for process setup & maintenance
  • Not durable/safe for welding or open flame
  • Not compatible with strong organic solvents and some other chemicals
  • Requires more air-flow than barrier isolators
  • May require permit not needed for glovebox
  • Limited size/material options

  • Traditional design - well known - may not require training or acceptance
  • Works with high temperature processes like welding and with open flame
  • Available in very large sizes when required
  • Available in versions that are compatible with strong organic solvents and acids
  • May require expensive site prep & design
  • Requires high flowrate of exhaust air
  • High exhaust flow could require a roof penetration and/or environmental permit
  • Possible high testing and environmental permit costs 
  • Adds to HVAC load - may require capacity incr.
  • Complex maintenance - var. speed drives, etc.
  • Filter replacement may be expensive and difficult
  • Corners, seams and light fixtures are hard to clean
  • Complex & expensive to test and maintain
  • Expensive to buy
  • Expensive to ship
  • Expensive to install
  • Expensive to operate (especially exhaust/HVAC)
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Expensive to test/permit
  • Huge carbon footprint
  • Not as environmentally friendly as other tech. 
  • High efficiency, low 

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, glovebox 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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