Laboratory Glove Boxes
Laboratory glove boxes are widely used in research and industry, R&D, medical and pharmaceutical sectors, energy and nuclear sector. They are used to create a confined or controlled atmosphere, an essential condition for developing processes, experimenting with, or handling sensitive or dangerous materials. Protection from ambient air and all contamination; optimal product protection and operator safety are all guaranteed.
Main uses of Laboratory Glove Boxes
Laboratory glove boxes take the form of hermetic stainless-steel enclosures with a transparent working face, handling gloves, control and regulation units, sophisticated transfer and purification systems. They allow the handling of materials and products which must not come into contact with the ambient air or propagate in the environment.
Components of a Glove Box and Their Roles
Components of a glove box play a specific role in ensuring its proper functioning:
The main chamber
The main chamber of a laboratory glove box is the work area for the operators. All manipulations take place in this hermetically-sealed protective enclosure. It should have one to several transparent work surfaces for better visualization during handling.
The protective gloves are directly attached to the support rings located on the working face. In addition to his personal protection, the operator must use his protective gloves to handle the samples, products, materials, compounds… implemented.
One to several transfer airlocks
A laboratory glove box should have at least one transfer airlock. High-end glove boxes have more than one. This sophisticated system is useful when products and instruments need to be introduced into the main chamber. It prevents any break in containment. On some glove boxes, it is preferable to have an inlet airlock and an outlet airlock.
Sensors and regulators
Each project may involve different types of substances or materials. Depending on the conditions necessary for their handling, the chemical composition of the glove box can be adjusted. Pressure, temperature, etc. are adjusted by means of regulators. The humidity and oxygen levels are checked by means of sensors.
Automatic safety flow rate
The presence of automatic safety flow is mandatory only on glove boxes used for personnel protection. The system automatically compensates for any pressure drop that could be due to a leak or an accidental break in containment (tearing of a glove for example), thus ensuring optimum safety. Thus the confined atmosphere cannot escape from the enclosure.
The enclosure of a laboratory glove box is completely protective and set to an air pressure lower or higher than the atmospheric pressure. Operators can carry out their tasks safely. Safety alerts are automatically triggered in case of anomalies.
You can, for example, use a laboratory glove box when you need to handle volatile, toxic or radioactive substances, pathogens, active ingredients, materials sensitive to ambient air, etc. Thanks to the transparency of the walls and the quantity of gloves or cuffs, an operator can work more comfortably.
Different Types of Laboratory Glove Boxes
The purpose of a laboratory glove box is to protect products, operators and the environment. There are two main types:
- Containment of dangerous substances
There are laboratory glove boxes specially designed for the containment of dangerous substances, such as radioactive materials and pathogens. Its various protection components, filters, gloves, airlock and the specific operating mode offer appropriate protection to avoid the risks of external contamination.
In nuclear processes where it is necessary to protect operators from contamination or radiation, specific equipment is necessary such as filters, lead protections, lead-charged gloves. In biological or pharmaceutical processes, the enclosure allows the containment of pathogens. Adding HEPA H14 filters enhances safety.
- Containment in an inert atmosphere
This type of laboratory glove box creates an inert atmosphere of great purity. To do this, all traces of oxygen, water and solvents are removed from the enclosure via specific integrated devices. It is also pressurized to prevent the spread of contaminants into the environment in the event of small leaks. It is used when handling under argon, nitrogen or other pure mixtures.
A minimum of training is necessary for operators who use a laboratory glove box. It is possible to add accessories to facilitate the handling of the equipment. In addition, wearing personal protection and immediate accessibility of emergency equipment should not be overlooked.
Jacomex, Manufacturer of Laboratory Glove Boxes
It is clear that the respect of safety protocols in the laboratory implies the use of a quality glove box. Great care must be taken in selecting the manufacturer or supplier to purchase reliable containment enclosures. Jacomex, a French-based company, is a world reference in terms of containment technologies.
For several decades, Jacomex has been designing and manufacturing glove boxes, isolators, gas purification units and various containment solutions. It dedicates its products to many sectors: pharmaceutical-medical, nuclear, aeronautics, industry, research and development, energy, etc. It offers standard laboratory glove boxes for traditional processes. Modular glove boxes are also available from this specialist. They have the advantage of being customizable. You may consider adding accessories.
You may need the assistance of an expert to create a custom-made laboratory glove box for a specific project. In this case, you can also contact Jacomex, its design office can develop a safety device adapted to the risk classes.
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