To B2 or Not to B2? Thanks to the new C1, That is No Longer the Question...
Regardless of your industry, having the right tools for the job matters. That statement goes both ways, too: Of course you want equipment that allows you to perform effectively and safely, but you don't want to incur any added expenses for features or protections your work doesn't necessarily warrant.
In other words, if you're a carpenter, you're going to need a hammer—a good, dependable hammer. You don't want to reach for the blunt end of a screwdriver in desperation or have to read an instruction manual for a complicated, expensive gadget you're too frustrated to use.
What if your hammer could do other things you needed it to do, though, and actually save you money in the long term? Well we haven't invented that—we don't sell hammers. Sorry. But we did engineer a completely new biosafety cabinet that can function in either Type A mode or Type B mode, and it's swiftly becoming the Swiss Army Knife of sorts for laboratory toolboxes around the U.S. (like this one at Creighton University).
Before we explore the Purifier® Axiom™ Class II, Type C1 Biosafety Cabinet, though, let's delve into the backstory about why this technology is indeed so novel. It starts by addressing the longtime struggle of many labs in determining what kind of cabinet—a Class II, Type A2 or Class II, Type B2—they actually required.
BSC Choice Struggles of Yore
Although the field of laboratory research is one rooted in change and new discoveries, one thing remains unchanged: Safety matters. (Read what industry expert Sean Kaufman has to say about safety in labs here).
It matters so much, in fact, that we've received many inquiries in the past from customers wanting to purchase Type II, Class B2 total exhaust cabinets with the misconception that these units were safer than their Type II, Class A2 counterparts.
That's only partly true, and it comes with a hefty application caveat. Type B2 cabinets aren't only safer when your microbiological work requires the use of volatile toxic chemicals or radionuclides—they're required.
In other words, if your application includes hazardous chemistry, you must have a hard-ducted Type B2 (or C1, as we'll get to in a moment).
It's important to note here that although they're often used interchangeably in the industry, 'hazardous chemicals' and 'hazardous chemistry' do not mean the same thing. For example, if you're working with a hazardous chemical, you don't necessarily need to opt for a Type B2 cabinet if that chemical is diluted enough to be rendered non-hazardous. Is that clear?
For many, it's understandably not—that's why a risk assessment must be performed to determine if the volume and concentration of the chemistry you're going to perform is indeed hazardous. Remember . . . safety matters.
Some risk assessments will find that the application in question warrants a Type A2 biosafety cabinet, a unit that exhausts about 30 percent of its total airflow while recirculating the remaining 70 percent within the cabinet. In contrast, airflow through a Type B2 cabinet is similar to that of a fume hood, externally exhausting 100 percent of the air pulled through the cabinet. The purpose of this design is to completely remove any toxic chemical vapors or radioactive compounds that are generated inside the cabinet.
Room air is brought into the cabinet through both an opening in the top of the cabinet and through the inlet grille. This air flows through an initial HEPA filter and then downward through the work area. All of the contaminated air is then drawn into a negatively pressured plenum and exhausted through a second HEPA filter. A dedicated exhaust system and remote blower draw all of the filtered exhaust air out of the laboratory.
At the end of the day, Type A2 cabinets and Type B2 cabinets are equally safe when used for the properly designated applications. After all, they both utilize HEPA filtration and protect against agents requiring biosafety level (BSL) 1, 2, or 3 containment. In the past, researchers who needed both Type A and Type B functionality would have been forced to purchase both types of cabinets—that is, until today.
Type C1 Biosafety Cabinet: Best of Both Worlds
As you've probably gathered by now, the Class II, Type C1 biosafety cabinet can convert from operation in Type A mode to operation in Type B mode, the first of its kind. Running the Type C1 in B-mode is cost-effective, too, as it tallies near the operating cost of a traditional Type A2 cabinet with canopy connection. It can be tied to almost any existing exhaust system with sufficient CFM reserve, so installation costs are minimal compared to traditional Type B2-only implementations.
With dual ECM blowers and our very own Constant Airflow Profile™ (CAP) technology, safety comes first on the C1. In fact, the unit maintains safety for both you and your work, even in the event of a building exhaust failure.
Thanks to the design of the Chem-Zone™—the center of the dished work surface that serves as the dedicated exhaust portion of the cabinet when in Type B mode—airflow demand is reduced by more than 50 percent (compared to traditional Type B2 cabinets).
In short, the Type C1 is changing the biosafety game, combining unparalleled versatility, flexibility and safety. Labs like yours no longer have to teeter the line between Type A and Type B or purchase multiple units to satisfy multiple needs because the Type C1 is capable of handling any application. To B2 or not to B2, then, is no longer the question.