What is a cleanroom glove box and when is it necessary? A cleanroom, also known as a sterile cleanroom, is used to confine processes that are sensitive to atmospheric components and particulate contamination. Its particle concentration can be controlled. Cleanrooms are often used in medical, pharmaceutical, industrial, chemical and physical research laboratories. However, when a process requires a higher level of containment, purity and safety, the use of a glove box is recommended.

How a Glove Box Works

In the pharmaceutical-medical, aeronautical, industrial and other fields, a cleanroom serves to protect laboratory personnel and operations. At the same time, it optimizes product yield and guarantees product quality.  The risks of introduction, production, accumulation and retention of particles are minimized with a cleanroom.The cleanroom also makes it possible to control airborne particles while the climate, lighting, humidity and temperature of the room can all be adjusted.

A glove box is a closed, hermetically sealed container that complies with the ISO 14 644 standard and other regulations, depending on its applications. It is based on the principle of a clean room, but with a reduced working volume. It is also used for process containment or for personnel and environmental protection. Different kinds of products can be handled in it such as objects, chemical compounds, sensitive or dangerous materials.

How Do You Operate a Glove Box?

  • The walls of the glove box are the workstations for the operators.
  • Handling gloves are securely attached to the walls so that the staff can operate the machine from the outside.
  • A transfer chamber is used for the transit of instruments, elements and any products which need to be protected, thus avoiding the rupture of the containment.
  • The glove box uses ventilation systems with integrated filters that fully protect the product, the operator and the environment.
  • The glove box is bio-decontaminated with sterilizing gas.
  • The temperature, humidity, protective gas, pressure, particle cleanliness and climatic conditions of a glove box are controlled by means of regulators.

Advantages of a Glove Box Compared to a Clean Room

A glove box is a device that guarantees a very high level of containment, purity and safety compared to a clean room. Gas sterilization allows for the elimination of all contaminants, whether they come from the environment, the operators or the equipment.

As a result, the applications of a glove box are multiple, ranging from traditional processes to high-tech industry processes. It is suitable for operations in a controlled atmosphere as well as for handling hazardous products and other laboratory experiments. There is a distinct difference between glove boxes designed for delivering product protection and process safety and glove boxes  which ensure operator and environmental protection. The former works in overpressure, under inert atmosphere. The second operates under a vacuum to contain hazardous substances. Versatile models can also be found, ensuring the protection of the product, the operator and the environment at the same time.

Examples of applications for glove boxes in clean rooms:

  • Drug manufacturing
  • Aseptic manufacturing
  • Microbial culture
  • Welding and aeronautical manufacturing
  • Optical manufacturing…

The cleanroom glove box is used primarily in medical and pharmaceutical laboratories, biotechnology and nanotechnology, electronics, aerospace…