As a lab planner, you have three essential questions to ask regarding lab vacuum as you plan lab utilities. First, is it needed at all in every lab? Second, what level of vacuum is required to support the science intended for the lab? And third, how do I plan for the inevitable changes in needs driven by advances in science, the arrival of a new P.I., or changes in budget priorities?
Modern science practice calls for interdisciplinary problem-solving – mixing scientific disciplines for the creative stimulus this can provide. But biologists typically need only modest vacuum, chemists need deeper, stable vacuum, physicists may need vacuum levels unreachable with conventional pump technology and computational scientists in dry labs need no vacuum at all? Your vacuum utility plan needs to accommodate all of these, without overbuilding, and with a solution that can respond as needs change over time.
Traditional practice has provided three choices: central vacuum supply, water aspirators and individual pumps. But central vacuum provides modest vacuum levels – suitable for a limited array of vacuum applications despite high energy and maintenance costs – and is inflexible to changes in needs. Water aspirators waste and pollute huge amounts of water (50,000 gpy per faucet, or more) and are not acceptable in LEED-certified buildings. Individual pumps provide the utmost in flexibility, but take up a lot of precious bench, cabinet or floor space, and replace a capital utility with an equipment budget expense.
VACUU⋅LAN® local vacuum networks offer a modular, adaptable, sustainable alternative. One quiet, in-lab pump supports as many as 16 users. The single pump saves bench and cabinets space, and the long service cycles of the oil-free pumps reduces maintenance. Vacuum is produced on demand, reducing energy demand by as much as 90 percent compared with central systems. Inter-lab cross-contamination risk through vacuum lines is eliminated. Vacuum deep enough for most chemistry lab applications is conveniently available at bench turrets, eliminating the need for supplemental pumps that provide vacuum beyond that available from a central vacuum system. If needs change, networks can be extended or modified, and pumps can be replaced in minutes with no lab disruption to tailor the vacuum quality to the needs of the lab.
Request our guide, “Laboratory Vacuum: Background for Lab Planners, Designers, Architects and Engineers,” to guide you through the issues. It provides a non-scientists’ introduction to the vacuum needs of the various scientific disciplines, an objective survey of technologies available, and a Lab Programming Checklist to aid in your discussions with scientists. Or give us a call and let our experts provide the support you need to outfit your labs with appropriate, sustainable, adaptable vacuum.