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Microbial Air Samplers: Understanding Sample Rates

Microbial Air samplers are used in a variety of environments, in a wide array of industries, ranging from food production lines, surgical amphitheaters, to pharmaceutical cleanrooms. Each application and environment may require differing sampling parameters (e.g., sampling periods, sampling rates, etc.), and understanding the difference between various sample rates, and associated particulate capture velocities, can help you better determine which type of air sampling you need and which devices will give you the best possible results.

Capture Velocity
Capture velocity is a deciding factor in your sample rate. The combination of a device’s flow rate and its inlet size, in conjunction with the distance of the inlet to the media surface, result in specific capture velocities, and capabilities, of particulates and microbial organisms. Air sampling devices offer capture velocities as low as 5 meters per second to over 135 meters per second; the ideal range is around 25-80 MPS.

The Importance of Capture Velocity
A microbial air sampler’s capture velocity is more than just a line item on a devices specifications — it is a critical component of the device’s functionality that has a big impact on its overall effectiveness. If the velocity is too low, smaller organisms and spores will not be retained. If it is too high, the force of hitting the media could render microbes non-viable.

Sampling Rates

High sample rates are best for short sampling periods and low sampling rates are best for long sampling periods. But, it is important to assure whether you have a high or low sampling rate, that your capture velocity remains consistent, for a consistent and comparable data set of your environments.  Your required sampling periods will be dictated by the work you do and the environment in which you do it.

There is much to learn when it comes to microbial air samplers. Each individual device provides a specific list of features that may or may not be appropriate for your requirements. Knowledge in the basic specifications that set these devices apart helps you make the right decisions for your work environment, and ensures you do not compromise samples with an inappropriate sampling device.

For more information about the technical details of our samplers or the best sampler for your needs please visit www.emtekair.com.

RCG Compressed Air & Gas Sampler: Perfect for Compressed Gas Monitoring

It is of critical importance that Pharmaceutical facility process air and gas lines are monitored for microbial contaminants. While air sampling and other quality procedures are obviously required, regulatory standards demand that process air/gas systems used for production activities (e.g., product pushes, overlays, material blow down, etc.) receive routine quality testing, with the same level of quality oversight. The best tool for microbial testing of a compressed air/gas system is a properly designed microbial air sampler.

The RCG Confined Space Sampler

At Emtek, we have a long history of designing easy-to-use, accurate, and reliable air sampling equipment. We know that air monitoring is a key and vital component of your Quality Systems, and that it can impact your production of quality product on a daily basis. Without the right equipment, your tests could be compromised or worse, your product could be at risk of contamination.

That’s why we’ve developed the RCG Compressed Air and Gas sampler. It’s a compressed air/gas monitoring system designed to recover microbial organisms from these critical production systems, and it provides results that you can count on. The RCG is a remote Slit-to-Agar Impaction device that is so compact it can also serve as an ambient air sampler (e.g., as the R2S, or RCG Confined Space Sampler) in areas where most air sampler can’t, or shouldn’t be placed.

A few of the RCG specs include:

• Solid construction: Aluminum/316 stainless steel materials
• Simple cleaning and durability: Clear polycarbonate dome with inlet assembly
• Portable and convenient: 4 lb. weight, 7.5” by 5” diameter
• Flexible sampling: 0-40 minutes of monitoring per cycle
• Quick sampling: Operates at at 50 and 100 LPM for compressed air/gas testing
• Works in conjunction with the EMTEK Microbial High Pressure Diffuser

Compressed Air monitoring is a delicate science that requires only the best equipment. Our air sampling equipment is the best in the industry, and is backed by our incredible support staff and our guarantee that every product we make will exceed your expectations. At EMTEK, we know that manufacturing great equipment is just one small part of keeping clients satisfied. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have to help you find the right microbial air sampler. For more information please visit www.emtekair.com.

Air Monitoring Equipment: Helpful Tips

Air 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.

Understand 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.

Picking a 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.

Presenting: The R2S Air Sampler

At Emtek, we know that the tools you use to do your job are as important as the expertise you bring to your field. Powerful, easy to use air monitoring equipment is critical if you want to accomplish your goals without worrying about sample corruption or contamination of the environment you are testing. That’s why we work hard to build only the finest in microbial air sampling technology.

The R2S air sampler: Remote-Slit-Sampler

About the R2S

The R2S air sampler is operated by EMTEK’s V100 Controller system. With this, it offers a host of convenient and effective advantages in microbial air sampling, designed to assist you in your daily work. It may be operated at three different sample rates, 28.3, 50, and 100 LPM, and provides for optimal organismal recovery to accommodate regulatory guidelines, simplifies the enumeration of organisms and quickly and easily allows you to calculate the number of organisms per volume of air tested. The goal of this air sampler is simple: Provide top-notch results with user friendly operation.

With the R2S, due to the known media stage rotation over the sampling period, the estimated time of recovery of viable bacterial organisms can be determined by you, and you can set it to provide up to 120 minutes of continuous active monitoring per sample cycle. Thanks to the design of the unit, loss of bacterial organisms due to desiccation is minimal — this provides a more accurate analysis of your air quality.

The R2S generates practically no particulate matter and provides sampling and bacterial recovery at the point of operation. It’s designed to give you the ability to completely sanitize all of its exposed surfaces, and has very minimal calibration and maintenance requirements. Additionally, the device is only 5.5 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter, and may be operated remotely from the V100 Controller unit by over 75 feet, making it a convenient monitoring tool to use when working within limited and critical space. Our R2S air sampler is designed for use within Class 100/ISO 5 LAF hoods, isolators, fill lines and BSC and employs standard 90mm Agar plates to reduce the overall cost of monitoring.

Overall, the R2S is an incredible piece of air monitoring equipment, and one we are extremely proud to offer. If you need a bacterial air sampler, there’s no better solution on the market at a more affordable value. www.emtekair.com

EMTEK’s V100 Controller & Air Samplers are Very Compatible with Laser Particle Counters

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
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
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.