Objects in a separate environment can be handled safely in a glove box, which is an enclosed container. It is possible for the user to enter their hands into the gloves and carry out duties inside the glove box without compromising its containment. Glove boxes typically contain transparent sections (clear acrylic) so the user can see what they are handling. Objects are handled manually in simple structures.
Glove boxes and glove box isolators are commonly mistaken since both allow for simple manipulation and observation of work in progress in a sealed, separate environment. However, this is where the commonality ends and the difference begins. Glove box isolators come in a variety of designs.
When do you use filtration glove boxes?
Airtight filtration glove boxes are handy tools for repairing engineers, scientists, and other professionals who need to work with sensitive items in a controlled environment. They are typically used to shield personnel from hazardous products or to safeguard chemicals and materials that may be susceptible to air or water vapors.
You can utilize glove boxes with or without pressure. Positive-pressure glove boxes typically hold products that are sensitive to air or water vapor contamination. When exposed to contamination from the outside, the specimen or the device may degrade or react violently. Negative pressure glove boxes are used to safeguard workers from potentially harmful substances, such as infections and toxic gases.
Inspections every day
Perform daily inspections before using glove boxes. Perform the following tasks as part of your regular routine –
- Make sure the gloves are in good condition.
- Find holes in the gloves.
- Discoloration indicates a lack of structural integrity.
- Take note of any damage in the area where the window is attached to the box.
- Vacuum pumps need to have their lines checked and their oil replaced on a regular basis.
- Check the oil-mist filter on the vacuum pump exhaust to make sure it is still operating.
- Ensure that the solvent scrubber cartridges are within operational specifications.
- If your box has a solvent delivery system and scrubber, then look for minor particles.
- Look if each one of the system’s pressure gauges and indicators is working properly.
- Make sure they are within the safe operating ranges.
More than just a set of gloves, isolators perform a variety of functions
If you compare glove box isolators to ordinary ones, you will notice that stainless steel is used in their construction. The body is welded with Tungsten Inert Gas. Environmental controls, including exact oxygen and nitrogen mixes, humidity control, and isolated environmental filtration, are available as features for these devices.
With a variety of components, such as Oxygen and Water monitoring, balances and PLC control units, and safe filter replacement methods, researchers can execute their job successfully in a glove box isolator.
What should you know?
If the glove box is shared, designate one or two senior members of the lab to oversee regular maintenance of the box and its components. You must schedule regular system maintenance with the manufacturer. Extending gloves into the box too quickly can put undue strain on the system and lead to an overpressure situation.
Put on latex gloves before putting your hands in the glove box gloves. Using this method, the glove box gloves will last longer, and it will be easier to clean up in the future. Only trained professionals are allowed to use it as per schedule. This training should be documented in a lab-specific training file. Keep backup plans in place in case of a power outage or a lack of nitrogen in the plant.
HEPA filtered glove box
These air filters are capable of removing 99.97% of airborne particles, including dust, pollen, mold, and other micron-sized allergens. Larger particles are better captured by traps. HEPA filters were created by the military for use in chemical, biological, and radioactive protection, during World War II. HEPA filter system works in four modes – direct impact, interception, diffusion, and screening.
The HEPA filtered glove box utilizes a blower to draw ambient air into the main chamber, which is then filtered by HEPA filters. Keeping samples safe is the primary function of these glove boxes. Particulates are removed from the main chamber by the inlet HEPA airflow. As soon as you open a sample container, the exhaust HEPA filter traps the loose particles.
Exceptionally, working with dangerous particles in a low oxygen/moisture atmosphere is a requirement for several glove box applications. Controlling the particles in the vacuum line of a controlled atmosphere glove box is the solution to the problem. Particulates extracted from the glove box atmosphere can be contained by a secondary vacuum line.