Balance Enclosures for the Manipulation of Nanoparticulates: Interview with Odette Nolan at Labconco Corporation

Interview conducted by Kal Kaur

Odette Nolan, Product Manager at Labconco Corporation, talks to AZoNano about balance enclosures for the manipulation of nanoparticulates.

KK - Since starting the company in 1925, how has Labconco evolved with regard to its target customers, products and services?

ON - As testing labs developed new methods and measurement criteria, a need for new types of equipment also evolved. From our beginnings in agriculture chemistry and Kjeldahl Apparatus to our current range of 16 different product lines, Labconco Corporation has always strived to address the needs of the market and laboratories by continuing to develop and produce specialized equipment for the laboratory.

KK - Labconco manufactures a wide range of laboratory equipment with the XPert® Nano Balance Enclosure being a key product in the current market. How does this product work?

ON - The XPert® Nano is a specialized type of balance enclosure that was specifically engineered for the manipulation of nanoparticulates. It is a negative pressurized unit which draws air in through the sash opening, protecting the user from hazardous particulates being used inside the unit. The air then flows to the back wall of the enclosure (a.k.a. baffle), up through a path behind the baffle through the intrinsically safe, negative pressure plenum and then through a Bag-in/Bag-out ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filter before exiting the unit.

The XPert interior sides and removable baffle are constructed of 304 Stainless Steel and an integrated work surface which allows easy clean up and resists harboring any static charge which could affect the behavior of some nanoparticulates. In addition, the XPert Nano has an optional ionizer built into the work surface that will, when engaged, emit positive and negative ions into the air-stream and mitigate any charge that may have built up on any instrumentation or labware placed inside the unit.

Labconco's XPert Nano Balance Enclosures. Video courtesy of Labconco Corporation.

KK - What key features of the XPert Nano Enclosures makes these products efficient and easy to handle for the end user?

ON - Again, the ergonomic angled sash allows for closer and more comfortable viewing.

  • The 99.99% efficient exhaust filter removes particle 0.12 micron in size.
  • The deep interior easily accommodate large apparatus. 
  • The tempered safety glass provides better scratch resistance and is less prone to static than those made in acrylic. 
  • The quiet operation is as low as 48 decibels.
  • Optional airflow monitors alert the user to any face velocities outside of the pre-set ranges.

KK - How are the XPert line of balance and bulk powder enclosures changing the way material is handled in a laboratory environment?

ON - By providing a safe handling area, end users are now able to manipulate toxic and/or potent compounds through a sash opening allowing them freedom of movement.

KK - Are there any specific requirements highlighted from end users of these products and how do you plan on implementing these changes into your line of XPert Nano enclosures?

ON - As a manufacturer it is an imperative part of the product design process to listen to our end users. We strive to offer products to meet their needs.

KK - What applications allow the XPert Nano Enclosure to go beyond the field of protection of nanomaterials?

ON - The materials of construction along with the ULPA filter helps this specialized balance enclosure reach far beyond just nanoparticulate handling. The difference between the ULPA and HEPA is based on their construction which translated into their efficiencies. Particulate filtration is rated based on the weakest point of the filter media. 

This means that the efficiency of a filter is better at capturing particulate smaller and larger than the percentage and size listed. If a HEPA filter is rated 99.99% efficient at 0.3 microns, this would mean that 0.01% of particulate 0.3 microns would be able to pass through; however, anything larger or smaller would be captured at a higher efficiency. So then an ULPA filter, rated 99.999% at 0.12 microns, would only allow 0.001% of particulate 0.12 microns to pass and capturing anything smaller and larger more efficiently.

Since a nanoparticulate is defined as an ultrafine particulate between 1 and 100 nanometers in size, it definitely falls into the efficiency range of the UPLA, but so do many other particulates. The filter is not specific to nanoparticulates, it is simply a good filter media for ULPA. 

KK - How do you plan on developing this laboratory equipment to meet the needs of the market?

ON - We are dedicated to offering products with features and benefits that are helpful to our customers. We stay on top of new technologies and the ever-increasing standards and demands for higher performing products. We listen to the market, the customers, the users and the regulators, and factor the information gathered into the designs of our products.

KK - Where can we find further information on your products and services?

ON - Information on our services can be found at our Labconco site and our YouTube channel.

About Odette Nolan

Laboratory equipment and Odette are simply indivisible. If she wasn’t working for Labconco, she’s certain she would spend her days toiling in the lab enclosures themselves, performing research somewhere in the wild world of science. She studied chemistry in college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Biology and Chemistry at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, and upon graduation began working in chemical research and development.

For a decade, both large and small molecule development were Odette's occupation. That experience gave her more than laboratory know-how; it validated the importance of the laboratory work she has always believed in. “During the years I spent in the research lab,” she says, “I had the opportunity to work on several compounds that make a difference in the day-to-day life of people suffering from many diseases.”

Odette values your work and understands why your equipment has to be safe, trustworthy, and dependable, allowing lab workers to think about their projects rather than worry about their equipment.

Odette Nolan is the Co-author of the following publication:

"Glassware Washers: Cleaning Glassware and Implements Used in Compounding" International Journal of Pharmaceutical Compounding, Volume 16, No. 4, July/August 2012

Her main product categories include:

Date Added: Nov 18, 2013 | Updated: Nov 19, 2013
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