Laboratory containment isolator supports itself on an integral composite material rod
Solo Containment has just returned from exhibiting its soloFLEX laboratory containment isolator at the AAPS show in Washington, DC, US. The UK firm says the reaction to this radical new design was high, with many visitors applauding the departure from conventional glove bag methods of a heavy stainless or tube support frame with elastic bungee cord supporting the flexible envelope.
Solo engineers say the bungee cord is a contamination risk to CROs and pharmaceutical laboratories, which is why the soloFLEX supports itself on an integral composite material rod that is only a fraction of an inch in diameter.
By carefully designing a system of sleeves at the corners of the envelope the soloFLEX unit can be shipped as a flat pack with the support rods tucked inside. Once on site a typical unit can be unpacked and set up within 5 minutes, making deployment much faster than conventional glove bag systems.
All parts of the soloFLEX package are innovative. The front face film is a high optical clarity anti-static PVC ensuring fine detail can be viewed without compromise by scientists. Similarly, Solo has taken care to reduce user fatigue by incorporating a very low friction PU for the glove access sleeve. A wide range of glove types is also available to suit variations in hand sizes.
As the soloFLEX frame provides a semi rigid – yet forgiving structure – the envelope can be operated at negative pressure for API containment application or over pressure for aseptic applications. Solo’s designers have tested even the largest soloFLEX to a negative pressure rating of 60pa.
The soloFLEX is offered with a range of options. For example, the standard P3 breather filter can be upgraded to an H14 HEPA cylinder that is manufactured exclusively for Solo with a 500-micron integral PU panel mount. This means the HEPA can be welded directly to the envelope wall thereby eliminating all leak paths.
With a typical API handling application, Solo recommends either an airlock entry or a bag – in bag out continuous liner system. When this set-up is operated with the firm’s compact venturi ejector, it can provide a controlled negative pressure cascade with a double HEPA exhaust. For low R/H or oxygen sensitive applications the venturi ejector can be powered with nitrogen gas supply providing a simple inert over or under pressure recirculation system.