Air Monitoring Equipment

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. .

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.

Sieve Impaction Samplers

Sieve impaction samplersWhen it comes to active air sampling, you have a choice between a few common designs. Slit-to-Agar, Centrifugal, Liquid Impinger, and straight filter air samplers all have their uses and individual strengths. However, Sieve Impaction samplers, which also rely on active air sampling methodology, are very popular due in large part to some of the clear bonuses they offer over other technologies.

Sieve Impaction samplers are impaction devices, which use the acceleration of air though numerous small holes (inlet orifices) in a perforated plate, which in turn impacts suspended particles in the air onto the surface of the Agar. This is an aggressive and effective method of gathering air samples.

EMTEK’s Remote Autoclavable Sampler, or RAS for short, provides a few key benefits compared to traditional active sampling technology:

  • Multiple flow rates
  • Standard 90mm test plates
  • Small size allowing for easy placement
  • Virtually no particle generation
  • Comparable recover to traditional Slit-to-Agar designs (the Industry Standard for Recovery)

The RAS air sampler , as operated by the V100 Air Sampler Controller, even has an onboard thermal label/paper printer capable of capturing critical sampler parameters, making your job easier and your sampling more reliable and productive.

At the end of the day, the quality of your microbial air sampling devices is just as important as the quality of any other piece of test equipment. A faulty or poorly designed air sampler can dispel particulates into your environment, impact laminar airflow, miss your designated testing parameters, or corrupt your samples. EMTEK’s Sieve Impaction Samplers, the RAS, bring the same quality assurance and accuracy as our R2S Slit-to-Agar sampler, and are designed for use in clean rooms, protecting the existing work environment from additional contamination.

If you have any questions about the benefits of Sieve Impaction technology or which air sampler is best for you individual needs, please give us a call at 877.850.4244 or visit www.emtekair.com for more information. Air sampling is a highly technical process and every lab or environment will have a different approach based on their individual needs.

Considerations in Choosing an Active Microbial Air Sampler

There are two primary types of microbial air sampling: Active air sampling, and passive air sampling. In passive air sampling, a nutrient media test plate is placed in a desired location and allowed to collect particulates (both viable and non viable) for a desired amount of time. Active air sampling, on the other hand, requires air to be drawn into the device through a vacuum source and the particles within the sampled air volume are then captured on, or within the nutrient test media employed.

If you’re considering an active air sampling solution for your work environment, there are some things you need to take into account before deciding on a specific model:

Size
Because an active microbial air sampler requires equipment to generate air vacuum and gather samples, they’re much larger than a simple sample test plate. Still, active air monitoring equipment comes in a variety of sizes, giving you the ability to find a solution that fits both your budget and your physical workspace. Ideally, your air sampling equipment won’t be cumbersome, take up space, or impact your environment or operations in a negative way.

Advantages
Active air sampling equipment presents a variety of advantages, which includes the allowance to monitor smaller microbial particulates, less than 1 micron in size. Active air sampling can meet the requirements for capture of 1m3 of air in critical zones and the density of microorganisms per volume of air can be determined. You’ll need to regularly sterilize and sanitize the equipment to ensure the sampling process isn’t corrupted by previous collections.

Capital
A sample plate used for passive air sampling is generally less expensive than an active air sampler. Combined with the maintenance costs, an active sampler can represent quite an investment. Regardless, active air sampling can be a beneficial asset and is the best method of testing in certain environments and circumstances. At EMTEK, we provide our clients with several varieties of samplers available for varying types of labs as well as budgets.

The right air sampling solution is the one that gives you the results you need without negatively impacting your environment and workspace. For more information about which air sampler may work best for your facilities and process please visit www.emtekair.com or contact us at 877.850.4244.