The importance of a high-quality biological safety cabinet (BSC) in the laboratory should never be overlooked. The BSC protects personnel from dangerous contaminants during biological experimentation, and ensures sterile product preparation. Unfortunately, not all BSCs are created equal, and many designs meet performance requirements but sacrifice energy efficiency and comfort, contributing to high operating costs, and poor working conditions. A BSC that achieves the optimum balance of performance, energy efficiency, comfort, and reliability provides a myriad of benefits for laboratory personnel in addition to creating significant cost savings over time. The Class II type A2 SterilGARD® e3 biological safety cabinet from Baker combines multiple innovative technological design features that balance performance, energy efficiency, and safety.
Greater Efficiency Without Sacrificing Performance
BSCs consume a large amount of energy for optimal performance. In addition to the energy required to power the motor, the resulting heat output must be addressed by the laboratory heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. These factors contribute to high operating costs that continue to accumulate over the lifespan of the BSC.
Baker’s StediFLOW™ variable frequency drive (VFD) motor controller reduces energy consumption and heat rejection by automatically adjusting speed based on demand. This technology enables the BSC to maintain precise airflow, provides constant air volume, and automatically compensates for filter loading to extend filter life. As a result, the SterilGARD® e3 can automatically handle an increase in pressure drop across the filter without a significant reduction in total air delivery.
ReadySAFE™ technology further reduces energy consumption and supports increased productivity by providing instantly safe working conditions upon opening the viewscreen. ReadySAFE™ low-flow mode is automatically engaged when the user closes the sash to attend to other tasks, take a break, or leave the lab at the end of the day. The motor automatically switches to a reduced flow mode, consuming 50-70 percent less energy than the standard operating mode, without sacrificing product protection and containment—low-flow mode meets NSF 49 and ISO class 4 criteria. When the user returns and lifts the sash, the motor automatically returns to normal operating speed to ensure safe working conditions. Turning off the motor allows contaminants and particles to enter the BSC, creating more work to fully clean it when work resumes.
Safety Is Paramount
A primary purpose of the BSC is to protect laboratory personnel by reliably containing contaminants, which is achieved with precisely controlled airflow volumes and velocities. The SterilGARD® e3 is designed with multiple technologies that work in concert to deliver maximum protection. The momentum air curtain creates a strong barrier at the front of the cabinet, and combines with high-velocity return air slots, aerodynamically contoured front-opening surfaces, and optimum air intake velocity to prevent contaminants from moving into or out of the work area.
In addition to well-controlled airflow volumes and velocities, other design features ensure safe operation. Audible and visual alarms, such as sash and power/processor fault alarms are essential to notify users of any abnormalities and ensure proper operation. Operating noise, vibration, and heat generation are also important safety considerations. Spending hours each day in poor working conditions places additional strain on laboratory personnel, and contributes to negative health effects. The SterilGARD® e3’s VFD motor controller is designed for quieter operation, with less vibration and reduced heat output while maintaining containment.
An ergonomic design is important for comfort and safety. A well-designed BSC enables users to perform all tasks comfortably, reducing fatigue and enhancing efficiency. A large usable work area, reduced front grille depth, padded armrests, and a low profile drain pan that creates added legroom enables users to achieve and maintain proper posture and reduces the risk of injury. Additional features such as non-glare work surfaces, cool-white fluorescent lamps, and a slanted sliding viewscreen reduce eye and neck strain that often occurs with prolonged periods of work in the BSC.
Reliability for the Long Run
BSCs are intended to serve the laboratory for many years— often 15 years or more. Malfunctions place laboratory personnel and products at risk, and frequent maintenance and repair throughout the long lifespan of the BSC can add up to significant costs. The associated downtime reduces productivity and creates additional financial losses. Therefore, reliability is an important consideration. The SterilGARD® e3’s innovative design enhances serviceability and provides years of reliable performance.
The SterilGARD® e3 makes certification and testing simple, as it features a telescoping plenum assembly that puts supply and exhaust HEPA filters within easy reach from the front of the cabinet. The UniPressure™ Preflow Plenum high-performance airflow system loads filters evenly to prolong filter life and reduce the frequency of filter changes. All other components that are critical to cabinet operation are also easily accessible from the front panel, and an innovative controller with diagnostic LEDs makes maintenance quick and easy. Cleaning is also an important aspect of routine maintenance. A membranesealed control panel, one-piece work surface, and radiused, cove corners make routine cleaning faster and easier.
A robust biological safety cabinet is essential to protect laboratory personnel, the environment, and products from contaminants. The Baker SterilGARD® e3 biological safety cabinet delivers the optimum balance between performance and energy efficiency, without compromising comfort and safety, to ensure containment and significantly reduce the total cost of ownership.