The laminar flow workstation is a type of workbench that has been specifically designed to allow a person to work with hazardous materials without the risk of contaminating their surroundings. These workstations are made of specially-controlled materials and offer environmental control and containment.
Additionally, they typically have an exhaust system in place to remove any vapour or vaporized fluid that could be released during contamination. Since the risk of contamination is so much lower in these workstations than it would be otherwise, standard protection garments are usually all that is needed to safely operate them.
There is a lot of confusion regarding what exactly a laminar flow workstation is, how it differs from other types of workbenches and enclosures, and what its benefits are. Therefore, this article will discuss the functioning and benefits of these workstations in specific detail.
Basic Functioning of Laminar Flow Workstations
Workstations designed to be used in hazardous materials are typically made out of some type of specially-controlled material, such as stainless steel, borosilicate glass, or special polyethene. These materials are specifically engineered to be air-tight and provide containment and environmental control for the workstation.
It is important to follow some regulations regarding the construction of these workstations to ensure safe working conditions for those performing tasks within them. The most basic function of these workstations is ventilation control. By having a special type of ventilation system planned into the workstation, the environmental control of that workstation can be monitored for pollution.
In addition to the ventilation system, several other features are typically included in a Laminar Flow Workstation. These features include specialized equipment and controls, energy management, hazardous materials detectors and alarm devices.
Advantages of Using Laminar Flow workstations
Since these workstations are made out of special materials that make them air-tight, they require some type of exhaust system to protect their environment from contamination. Depending on the type of material used for construction, this exhaust system can pose additional challenges in design and assembly. Here are some advantages of using a laminar flow workstation in your laboratory:
Ensure Better Environment in Lab
Having a laminar flow workstation in your laboratory can ensure better containment and environmental control of the workstation itself. You will be able to work with hazardous materials, but you can do so without contaminating the lab environment with any hazardous materials.
Additional ventilation controls can also be added if you want to maintain a cleaner lab environment. This workstation type can also prevent your workplace odours from becoming trapped in the system and spreading about your entire facility.
In addition to improved environmental control of your lab environment, a laminar flow workstation can prevent contaminants from entering the area where it works. Since you can limit the contamination of your work area, you can also limit the spread of contaminants throughout your lab.
Fear of Contamination
Due to its protected environment, a laminar flow workstation is often associated with less fear that someone will accidentally contaminate their workspace. This makes it easier for people to perform tasks within these areas without fear of contaminating the room where it is being used.
One of the biggest advantages of using a workstation like this one is that you can conserve a lot of energy inside your work area by controlling temperature, humidity and ventilation levels.
The uses and benefits of these workstations make them a very useful addition to any laboratory that works with hazardous materials.
Types of Laminar Workstations
A laminar flow workstation is essentially a type of workbench that has been designed for use with hazardous materials. Based on the flow of the air, these workstations are divided into two different categories:
Vertical Flow Workstations
These Vertical Flow Workstations through the air and allow the material being worked on to be contained within the work area. The air is either forced upward through a central point or has its movement interrupted by a fan at the unit’s base.
Horizontal Flow Workstations
These Horizontal Flow Workstations move outward and have a large space where materials can be placed and then exposed to a controlled flow of air to remove any contamination that would normally be present in a contaminated area.
Due to the special design and materials used in laminar flow workstations, you will typically find that they have a higher upfront cost than other materials. However, when it comes to the benefits you can expect from using these workstations, they are definitely worth their higher initial price.