Enclosures with Big Benefits
Industry Insight Jan 27, 2015
Bigneat Ltd, a world-class manufacturer of clean air and hazard containment enclosures, recently opened their first US office.
We spoke to Robert Monks, Managing Director and CEO of Bigneat, to learn some more about the company, and find out about some of the benefits that Bigneat enclosures offer.
AM: Can you tell us a little about Bigneat?
RM: Bigneat Ltd was formed in 1972 and has grown considerably over the years. We are a family business and we now employ 50 people across the company. We are really proud to have a very reliable workforce who have been with us for years. In my view experience and knowledge really matters.
Our business strength is based on a capability and expertise in the design and manufacture of high performance air movement systems which use carbon and HEPA filters to capture and remove airborne hazards, which may be fumes, vapours or particles.
Our top-of-the range enclosure is a Class II type enclosure, I say ‘type’ because Class II Standard enclosures are essentially too small to contain a drug discovery laboratory robot and Standards for Class II technology specify a small width. Our enclosures are large stainless steel enclosures with a rear plenum and they perform exactly to Class II Standards, with the same air flows and levels of cleanliness and safety.
Our key breakthrough, which the pharmaceutical industry was asking for, was when we developed and proved a bio-safety enclosure design suitable for use with liquid handling robot equipment and with all-round, and essentially very easy, access to the enclosure interior. This technology is a really great alternative to Class II safety cabinets in many process situations. What I mean is that they can be used for most biological applications except the most hazardous pathogens, in these instances our Class II design would be used.
Bigneat’s successful design is a low cost way to achieve biohazard containment – the enclosure’s airflow system is 100% pass through unlike a Class 2 and does not have a rear plenum which allows for the all-round access.
Our most recent development has been to design a new range of controlled internal atmosphere enclosures, with precise management of nitrogen gas and temperature/ humidity content to provide the right conditions.
We can now offer stability in humidity <1%-85%RH (accuracy ± 1.5%), temperature 4°C - 40°C (accuracy ± 0.5°C) and Clean Air to EN14644 ISO Class 5. This is really quite something!
AM: How can Bigneat help provide user and process protection?
RM: It is all down to the airflow direction, if the air flows past the operator (over their arms and hands) from the laboratory the operator is protected, if sterile air flows over the process then the cells or chemistry going on are protected, and most importantly we can do both in the one enclosure when required for pathogenic or potentially hazardous procedures.
So our range includes:
Clean Air Enclosures for user protection
- By removal of chemical fumes using ducted or recirculatory filtration technology we provide user protection.
Clean Air Enclosures for process protection
- By removal of particulates we develop a Class 100 clean air environment to bathe the process in sterile air and protect it from contamination.
Biological and Bio-hazard Enclosures
- For protection of the process, keeping the environment stable and protecting the user from bio-hazards or both.
Controlled Environment Enclosures
- We provide precision stable conditions, temperature, humidity, hypoxic with clean air and storage systems for Compound Libraries.
AM: What makes Bigneat systems different, and what advantages does this offer researchers?
RM: The key difference of Bigneat systems is that unlike the competitors who modify a standard product, we will design an enclosure from the ground up, where all the needs of the laboratory robotic system and the contained process are taken into account. Yes we do have a range of off the shelf products however in the most part we design custom systems.
After we have built and installed a system the user discovers the benefits and convenience of our design! Our systems are in the most part completely open systems, the user can access the robotic equipment to load samples and consumables, productivity is not hindered in any way.
I think we can summarise the benefits and say that Bigneat enclosures are: 1) Compact, 2) Space Saving, 3) Have all-round visibility 4) Have easier access to the working platform than other companies for maintenance and loading 5) Are free standing and can be retrofitted into a laboratory or factory.
AM: You recently opened your first US office. What benefits will this bring to your customers?
RM: A key benefit for the user and for the OEM laboratory robotics system manufacturer is that they now have direct dialogue with us for establishing specifications. We are simplifying the supply chain, taking a link out. It is key for the user that we offer our expertise directly without going through third party which improves response times and reduces mistakes.
The user can be comfortable in the knowledge that we are directly responsible for the after sales support and ongoing servicing, we are the best people to be keeping our products working to their design specification.
Our customers can be confident that we are more committed than ever to serve the North America region and that we are dedicated to serving them now and into the future with our US based team.
Find out more at http://www.bigneat.com/
Robert Monks was speaking to Anna-Marie MacDonald, Editor for Technology Networks.