Where central lab vacuum systems fall short – Renovations

Traditional lab building vacuum systems – commonly called house vacuum or central vacuum systems – rely on one or more large pumps in the basement to send vacuum through a network of large diameter copper or stainless tubing throughout the building to the labs. Because house vacuum systems are built into the infrastructure of their building, replacing or repairing them during a renovation project may be impossible. In older buildings, where the piping system leaks because of many years of corrosion, the simple replacement of the central pump won’t be enough to restore the house vacuum to its original performance. The only option would be to gut the entire building to replace the tubing. Beyond the cost and inconvenience, such a course is impossible in staged renovation projects that proceed lab-by-lab.

One option is to purchase individual pumps for each vacuum user. But that means at least one vacuum pump for each lab, and numerous vacuum pumps in research or teaching labs with multiple workstations. But what if you have several applications in a lab that need vacuum – a rotary evaporator, filtration set-up and a drying oven? Or a couple dozen student workstations? All of those dedicated pumps consume, energy, precious bench space – and departmental budgets.

 The alternative: a VACUU•LAN® local vacuum network

With a VACUU•LAN network, a single, dry vacuum pump supports numerous vacuum ports within a lab. VACUU•LAN networks eliminate the large pumps and large-diameter copper tubing runs throughout the building; they are plumbed with small diameter, corrosion-resistant PTFE (fluoropolymer) tubing that can be wall-mounted or installed in lab casework with simple tools in a day or two per lab. Since the technology is modular, it can be scaled from a single lab bench to an entire building. You avoid the investment and disruption of a building-wide vacuum utility installation. And you also avoid the cost and bench-space consumption of dozens of individual pumps to provide vacuum in the absence of central supply.

Importantly, the vacuum itself will be deeper and more stable than that supplied by central systems. A controller at any port can provide programmable vacuum for applications that require it, without the purchase of dedicated pumps. One pump supporting multiple workstations in a lab will also reduce lab noise and simplify handling of waste vapors from vacuum applications. It is ideal for lab-by-lab renovation projects, and new buildings alike.

If you are planning a lab renovation or new construction, 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.