Where central lab vacuum systems fall short: multidisciplinary science buildings

Teaching and research buildings increasingly combine scientific disciplines to encourage collaborative, problem-focused learning and discovery. While some labs in such buildings may benefit from a central vacuum system, others require more capable vacuum – or none at all.

For example, chemists often need relatively deep, stable or electronically controlled vacuum, which a central system cannot support. Physicists often need vacuum that is beyond the capability of any shared system, requiring dedicated, specialized pumps. House vacuum may be adequate for biological applications, but risks cross-contamination or even release of potentially infectious agents through vacuum lines. Dry labs (for molecular modelers and computational work) need no vacuum at all.

“Central vacuum systems send the same vacuum to each lab, regardless of its unique needs.”

With all of these groups operating under one roof, having a single, inflexible vacuum system supplied to every room no longer makes sense. Central systems send the same vacuum to each lab, regardless of its unique needs. To build in adaptability over time, the only option with central systems is to overbuild – incurring the costs of installing vacuum capacity in excess of known requirements just in case it’s ever needed. Worse, central systems provide vacuum that is not deep or stable enough for some applications, so some of the labs that need vacuum may not even be able to use the vacuum supplied by the central system. They need to buy dedicated pumps to compensate.

The alternative? A VACUU•LAN® local vacuum network.

With a VACUU•LAN® network, a single, dry vacuum pump supports several vacuum ports within a lab. Each vacuum network is isolated from others, so there is no risk of inter-lab cross-contamination through vacuum lines or physical instability in the vacuum supply. If science programming for a lab changes, a 15-minute pump change can re-purpose the network for the changing science. There is no need to overbuild for adaptability because a local vacuum network can be installed in the future in a day or two should the need arise. And local vacuum networks are suitable for new buildings or renovations – and even for leased space.

If you are building or renovating labs in a multidisciplinary science building, consider opting for a local vacuum network over a house system. To learn more about how local vacuum networks can make your lab more agile, sustainable and effective, contact us today.