Minimal Environmental Interference

air sampling deviceWhen working in a sensitive environment, it is critical to use the right equipment. Your first priority should always be preserving the quality of the environment surrounding your workspace, as environmental stability can make or break any number of critical mission functions. For this reason, it is worth taking a little time to understand which air sampling devices will deliver minimal environmental interference in your workflows.

Undesirable Traits

In addition to comparing and contrasting each microbial air sampler’s features list, you may want to pay special attention to specific undesirable traits that can negatively impact your workspace. Unfiltered exhaust, for example, can compromise the air surrounding the sampler. Various issues to watch out for include: Generation of particles (shedding of materials by a device), Laminar airflow disruption (due to unit size, or shape), harboring or shedding microbial contaminants (due to the inability to completely sanitize a device), oversized devices that are difficult to place, or sample volumes being exhausted at the test location. Any one of these issues can create serious problems.

Ideal Traits

There are a few ideal traits to identify when it comes to air sampling devices. Remote operation, for example, enables greater control over a microbial air sampler without actually needing to interact with it physically to start, stop, or pause a sample run. Other strong features include: HEPA filtered exhaust, simple and easy cleaning and sterilization, small size and convenient design, no airflow disruption, exhaust of sampled air volume outside of critical zones, and low to no particle generation. When you compare these features, you’ll notice that there are certain factors of air sampling equipment that go above and beyond the sampling rate of devices.

In summary, selecting the appropriate air sampling device is an important step in preserving the quality of your work environment. Think carefully about your workflows and their needs, and consider all features of a microbial air sampler to ensure you receive a product that delivers what you require without compromising your environment. For more information, please visit www.emtekair.com  or contact us with any questions at 877.850.4244. .

Microbial Air Sampling Solutions

Microbial air sampling deviceA microbial air sampler is a critical component of any Quality Control (QC) lab associated with Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Healthcare facilities. Not only do samplers protect your work environment and ensure that there is no contamination in your processes and products, they are absolutely required in order to meet most mandatory regulatory requirements.

You cannot run a QC lab without a microbial air sampler. The real question isn’t whether you need one, but which one will work best for your specific requirements.

Here’s a quick overview of a few key elements:

Sample Rate

Sample rates in air samplers are somewhat self-explanatory. This element refers to the speed at which your air sampler can collect a specific volume of air, along with the particles (viable and non-viable) within that air volume, and is commonly measured in liters per minute. On the low end, you’ll find samplers that collect at about 28.3 liters per minute, while the high end offers units that can collect up to 180 liters. The nature of your work will determine the importance of sample rate.

Sample Period

The maximum sample period of a microbial air sampler determines how long the device can be left to perform its task. Much like sample rates, you’ll find a wide range of options here with allowed sampling periods as low as 1 minute and as high as four hours. If one is looking to take quick samples in general facility areas one of the most common sample rates is 100 lpm, which allows for capture of a 1 cubic meter sample in 10-minutes. But, if one is looking to monitor a lengthy process, such as a pharmaceutical filling operation, or a lengthy surgery, one would opt to have an extended sampling period such as testing at 28.3 LPM for 2-hours.  This minimizes required personnel interactions with the sampling device for test medium changes Again, the nature of your testing requirements will drive the required sampling period.

Volume Collected

Volume collected determines how much is sampled over the course of the device’s maximum sample period, and its set, or allowable sample rate, and is measured in liters, cubic meters or cubic feet. Results vary widely from device to device, with standard total volumes running from 1,000 liters to 6,800.

Overall, the specific microbial air sampling solution that works best for you will be the one that gives you the sample rate you need over the right period of time, along with enough volume for you to actually get readings on the factors you consider important. Every test has different requirements; thus, it’s up to you to decide the selection of your device

For more information about air samplers, compressed air samplers or sampling in general, please visit www.emtekair.com

Air Monitoring Equipment

Air Monitoring EquipmentAir sampling equipment is designed with a specific purpose in mind, but many purchasers do not realize that the differences between different air samplers can be major factors in the appropriate testing and control of their environments. Simply put, some air monitoring equipment are not fit for operation in certain environments, and using the wrong device could end up creating negative consequences for the environment that surrounds it. For this reason, it is critical to understand the differences between devices.

Device Desirability

Some device traits make specific pieces of air monitoring equipment undesirable in a clean room, or lab environment. Problems such as material shedding by the device, sample volumes exhausted at test locations, unfiltered exhaust, and airflow disruption can arise when using the wrong air sampling equipment. Additionally, cumbersome or large devices are not easily placed or located for the sake of testing.

An Ideal Design

The right air sampling design skips the major design problems of lesser units. Look for HEPA filtered exhausts, the exhaust of particles outside of critical zones, a device that is easily sterilized or sanitized, and something with a small footprint and low profile that’s easy to place. Also desirable: Remote operation controls that make it easier to manage your sampling protocols from a location, outside, or away from the critical environment being tested.

Some Considerations

When considering a new piece of air sampling equipment, you should think about the following: Type and size of microbial particles being sampled, sensitivity of those microbial organisms to the testing parameters, concentration of those microbial particles, and the ability to detect high or low levels of microbial contamination. Also to be considered: Appropriate culture media for detection of the desired microbes being collected, and the time and duration of sampling.

The wrong air sampling devices can compromise everything you do. But, choosing the right air sampler helps you keep your critical environments in an appropriate state of control, by ensuring that the device itself does not negatively impact your environment, while the samples and data you collect are accurate.

For more information about air monitoring equipment please visit www.emtekair.com or contact us at 877.850.4244 with any questions.

Understanding Air Monitoring Equipment

Air Monitoring EquipmentAir monitoring is a critical component of many Quality Control systems Air monitoring equipment ensures that a work environment is safe for the people working in it, and helps prevent against the spread of contaminates. There are a few different things to consider when implementing an air sampling protocol if you’re looking to guarantee the best possible results.

Environmental Contaminants

Different environments are prone to different types of contaminations, and have different monitoring requirements. In Pharmaceutical, Biotech, and Hospital environments, the air in the clean room environments must be tested for both non-viable particulates (e.g. Dusts, skin flakes, aerosols, , pollen, etc.), as well as viable particulates (e.g., bacteria and mold). Different equipment is required for testing for these two different contaminants, which includes unique sampling equipment for collection and detection. It’s critical that you identify your specific needs before beginning an air sampling plan. Our V100 Controller with our R2S , RAS , or RCG sampling heads , and our P100 air samplers , for example, are designed for the capture of microbial particulates.

Volume and Rate

Every environment demands its own standard of testing. In some cases, a quick, small sample size is all you need to get an idea of the air quality. In others, you may need a longer sample collection period with a larger total volume, allowing you to gather more particulates and make more inferences about the work environment around the sampler. Different samplers offer different potential total capture volumes (10 cubic feet, cubic meter, etc.) and sample collection rates (e.g., 28.3, 50, or 100 LPM) – -always cross-reference these sampling parameters with your sampling requirements.

The Interface

Much like any other piece of high technology, the data collected from the air sampling equipment is most accurate when the operators using it are appropriately trained.. Spending some extra time or money to purchase a sampler that has an easy-to-use interface often pays big dividends in the end, as it limits the learning curve for new employees and gives you results that you can count on as accurate. User error is a consideration in any field, but user error (e.g., false positives and/or false negatives) with air sampling can have dire consequences (e.g., impact lot release, cause product loses, etc.),.

Overall, choosing air monitoring equipment demands a strong understanding of the fundamentals and a clear vision of your exact needs. Whatever it is that you’re hoping to get out of your equipment will depend on the sampling patterns you wish to follow, and there is sure to be a sampler that falls directly within those parameters. For more information about microbial air samplers please visit www.emtekair.com or contact us at 877.850.4244.

V100 Controller Now Compatible with Laser Particle Counters

Microbial air sampler
Both laser particle counters and microbial air samplers are critical tools used for determining the quality of the air in clean room and other environments, as well as compressed air and gas systems. But the two pieces of air sampling equipment have very different methods of operation, and offer different environmental data for the user. For this reason, most critical environments require the combined use of the two types of devices to assess the status of those environments, or systems.To better understand why you need both devices for effective air sampling in your facilities, here’s a brief overview of what makes them similar and different:Differences

Differences

Laser particle counters (LPCs) allow for a total count of the particulates in a given air volume of both ambient air and compressed air and gasses. The total count given includes both viable and non-viable (microbes) particulates, but does not differentiate between the two sources. LPCs also categorize by size, with many common particle counters offering particle channel sizing from 0.3 to >15 micron particle sizes. LPCs also offer a variety of sample rates, ranging from 0.1 liters per minute (LPM) to 100 LPM. Microbial air samplers, on the other hand, asses the viable, or microbial particulates, in the air, not the raw total particulates.

There’s also a big difference in terms of time to result. Laser particle counters can deliver results almost instantly, while microbial air samplers require two to seven days of incubation time before a result can be delivered. LPCs help cover the gap in time while you are waiting on results from the microbial air samples, since they immediately offer results on the total load of particulates in your environment. If trended over time, these results can quickly tell you if your environment, or system is in a normal state of control and within appropriate limits for operations to occur (e.g., HVAC system is operating correctly, equipment is not malfunctioning and shedding unwanted materials, etc.)

Similarities

Similarities

There are quite a few similarities shared between many popular laser particle counters and EMTEK’s V100 Controller, which operates its’ microbial air samplers (e.g., R2S, RAS, and RCG). Most 1 CFM (28.3 LPM) to 100 LPM Portable LPC’s and the V100 Controller, provide vacuum to a remote sampling device (probe, or air sampler), allowing for remote monitoring of critical areas, such as ISO 5 Filling Lines, Isolators, etc.. This minimizes risk of contaminating that environment, and allows for closer placement of the probe, or air sampler to the critical sampling location (e.g., by filling needles, stopper bowl, capping station, etc.), while the controller/vacuum source can be well outside of the critical zone. Additionally, the EMTEK V100 Controller offers similar flow rates to the most popular LPCs on the market, with flow rates of 28.3, 50, and 100 LPM, allowing for the collection of the same sample volume, in the same time period, as the LPCs.

EMTEK has also assured their devices offer plenty of flexibility in terms of programmed collection times, and onboard options. As with most popular LPCs, EMTEK’s V100 controller, along with the various sampling head options (the R2S, RAS, and RCG), allows for substantial programmability with user specified sample delay, sample run, and sample hold times, as well as control of total sample volume or time. Additionally, as is common with LPCs, an on-board thermal paper/label printer is included to output all the key sample parameters, that may be affixed to your test media, or attached to your sampling documents, for easier data transfer, and significantly better data traceability when compared to other microbial air samplers.

As required by most firms, and regulatory agencies, a complete air sampling program includes both viable (microbial) and non-viable (total particulate) test equipment to monitor and control your critical environments, or systems. Having compatible monitoring devices, which have similar programmable collection functions, flow rates, etc., substantially simplifies your sampling plan with great gains in efficiency, allows you to keep proper environmental control, and meet regulatory guidance.

For more information please visit www.emtekair.com.