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Why and how to control air velocity in your laboratory equipment?

Why and how to control air velocity in your laboratory equipment?

Controlling air velocity in laboratory equipment (fume hoods, extraction arm, etc.), is essential to guarantee a safe and efficient working environment. Ignoring this variable can have serious consequences, both for the health of operators and the performance of ongoing operations. This article explores the reasons why controlling air is essential, and the different methods of doing so.

Why is it important to control air velocity in laboratory equipment? What are the reasons why air control is essential to the health of operators and the smooth during operations?

Air control is important for a number of reasons, all equally important: health, comfort, ecology and economy, as well as compliance with current standards.

Health and comfort for operators

Laboratory operators regularly handle corrosive elements that can be toxic for their health and that of their colleagues. Even when working in a secure area, these corrosive gases and air are dispersed into the air. Invisible to the naked eye, they represent a risk for everyone.

It is therefore imperative to install and maintain ventilation and air control systems that ensure effective extraction of contaminants. Laboratory fume hoods, safety cabinets and filtration systems must be regularly inspected and replaced to ensure they are working properly. In addition, ongoing training of operators in safety procedures and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential to minimize risks.

Noise reduction and improved operator well-being

Ventilation systems can sometimes emit noise in laboratories. This constant noise can quickly prove to be a source of discomfort for operators, affecting their concentration and general well-being.

A quieter working environment contributes not only to the physical comfort of operators, but also to their mental well-being. Reduced ambient noise enables workers to concentrate better on their tasks, improving the accuracy and efficiency of laboratory operations.

Prolonged exposure to high noise levels can lead to stress, hearing fatigue and so on. Reducing noise promotes a calmer, less stressful working environment, which can have a positive impact on operator satisfaction and motivation.

Optimizing energy consumption: combining ecology and economy

Efficient air velocity management in a laboratory setting is not just a matter of comfort and safety; it also plays a crucial role in optimizing energy consumption. A high extraction rate requires greater use of fresh air supply systems, which translates into a higher energy demand. Significant energy savings can be achieved by reducing extraction airflow to its optimum point, while ensuring sufficient ventilation to maintain safe and compliant working conditions.

Extraction and insufflation systems account for a considerable proportion of a laboratory's energy consumption. By adjusting the airflow to precisely match actual requirements, the load on these systems can be reduced. This reduction in energy demand translates into lower operating costs, which is particularly beneficial for laboratories seeking to manage their budgets more efficiently..

Optimized airflow also contributes to the durability and longevity of ventilation equipment. Less stressed, these systems require less maintenance and last longer, reducing repair and replacement costs. In addition, more efficient use of energy resources reduces the laboratory's carbon footprint and aligns operational practices with environmental sustainability objectives.

Compliance with standards and regulations

Regulating the air velocity of laboratory equipment is not only a matter of comfort and efficiency, it's also a regulatory requirement. Laboratories are subject to strict ventilation and extraction standards to ensure good air quality. These standards are set by regulatory bodies (such as INRS) to guarantee operator safety. Compliance with these standards is crucial to avoid penalties and to maintain safe, compliant working conditions. These standards aim to ensure that hazardous substances are effectively captured and evacuated, minimizing the risk of exposure for operators.

It is therefore essential to install air control systems capable of maintaining the required air flow rates and guaranteeing effective, continuous extraction. Modern technologies, such as intelligent airflow control systems (L-Solution) and real-time monitoring devices (BMS/GTB), facilitate monitoring by ensuring precise ventilation regulation.

How to control air flow: what solutions can be implemented?

To implement effective air velocity control in your laboratory, it's essential to be aware of the different methods available. Air controllers play a key role in this regulation, offering a variety of solutions tailored to specific needs.

An air controller is a device designed to regulate and monitor air flow in an environment such as a laboratory. Its main role is to ensure adequate ventilation by maintaining appropriate levels of air flow, pressure and quality, in order to create a safe, comfortable environment that complies with regulatory standards.

There are different types of air controllers:

- Remote dedicated controllers: Installed remotely, these controllers enable centralized management of several ventilation points in the laboratory.

- Integrated dedicated controllers: Integrated directly into ventilation equipment, these controllers offer precise local regulation of airflow.

- Communicating controllers: Able to communicate with other centralized technical management (CTM) systems, these controllers enable optimized supervision and control on a large scale.

- Enclosure controllers: Designed for specific enclosed environments, they ensure adequate, safe ventilation in confined spaces.

Going further...

To take things a step further, SEAT Ventilation has developed other tools to protect operators from the toxic risks associated with handling air and corrosive gases. These include:

EcoGlass: Ecoglass is an energy-saving system that secures a fume cupboard by automatically closing its movable front panel when inactivity is detected.

A detection barrier detects the activity of a laboratory worker and the presence of objects in the plane of the movable front panel. The EcoGlass controller converts a pre-programmed period of inactivity into an automatic lowering setpoint.

SEAT RX: SEAT RX is a technology that revolutionizes airflow management in laboratory fume hood ventilation systems. Our duct flow controller is designed to meet the specific needs of your extraction, ensuring optimum comfort and increased energy efficiency.

In short, air controllers are essential components for ensuring safe, efficient ventilation in laboratories. They play a crucial role in air quality management, operator safety, energy efficiency and regulatory compliance.

Operator health and safety must be a top priority in any laboratory environment. Rigorous control of air velocity and effective ventilation management help to create a safer, healthier working environment.

By reducing the energy consumption of ventilation systems, laboratories can achieve substantial savings while contributing to more sustainable practices. Thus, effective airflow management is not only a question of safety and comfort, but also a key strategy for energy efficiency and long-term sustainability.

Discover the L.Solution range from SEAT Ventilation: a complete range of solutions to meet all your air control needs to optimize your laboratory.

In short, there are many solutions to help you manage your air extraction and control its speed. Don't hesitate to contact us for a solution tailored to your needs!