Laboratory fume cupboards are checked in the KÖTTERMANN test laboratory under state-of-the-art conditions in compliance with the EN 14175 standard.
Laboratory fume cupboards are a key prerequisite for working safely in laboratories, because they can effectively extract harmful substances in a controlled manner to keep the air safe in the laboratory environment. A closed sash also keeps test substances inside the fume cupboard. Periodic tests and maintenance at least once a year are necessary to ensure fume cupboard safety. The applicable EN 14175 family of standards governs the requirements on fume cupboards throughout Europe. For precise examination of fume cupboards, the Hänigsen-based company has one of the few test facilities in Germany available for this purpose: the KÖTTERMANN test laboratory. In this in-house test environment the company can verify the premium quality of its EXPLORIS® laboratory fume cupboards directly on site. In addition, the test laboratory allows adaptations and refinements to be scrutinized and implemented immediately. In the framework of KÖTTERMANN’s EN ISO 9001 certified quality management system, the test laboratory is also subject to strict recurrent audits.
The KÖTTERMANN test laboratory was established in 1998 in a dedicated room, and this year the laboratory premises were totally updated. The technical facilities consist of state of the art test equipment, including a sampling grid for tracer gas, a device dubbed “Phantom 2002” for generating air vortices, a gas analyzer and a fog generator. Now the test environment is being upgraded with a new ceiling including a vapour barrier in the insulation layer, new flooring, and optimized control of the air conditioning system. Room temperature and air velocity play a major role in all measurements, and these quantities can now be kept constant more easily in the refurbished KÖTTERMANN test laboratory. Representative samples of all premium quality laboratory fume cupboards can be checked comprehensively under ideal conditions in the KÖTTERMANN laboratory during type testing sessions, which usually last one week.
The extract volume flow rate is the most important factor for fume cupboard inspections in the KÖTTERMANN test laboratory. Among other facts, the objective is to determine the lowest flow rate that allows safe use of the fume cupboard under test conditions. Conditioning laboratory air is costly, so the air flow rate is often reduced in practice. To ensure fume cupboard safety, it is necessary to determine the most economical volume flow rate for daily operation. Safety and cost effectiveness are combined in an exemplary manner by the KÖTTERMANN EXPLORIS EcoPlus® fume cupboard. Although the air volume flow is reduced to 250 cubic metres per hour for each metre of fume cupboard frontage, test gas escape is 70 percent under the limit specified by the German manufacturers’ liability insurance association for the raw materials and chemical industry (BG RCI). In summary, although different volume flow rates can be used with laboratory fume cupboards, it is important to comply with the maximum tracer gas levels specified by EN 14175.
When assessing the performance of laboratory fume cupboards, it is also necessary to take sash opening and closing into account. With KÖTTERMANN’s EXPLORIS AutoProtect® technology, a sensor monitors motion in front of the fume cupboard and automatically closes the sash when no motion is detected. EXPLORIS TouchTronic® monitors the air flow rate or the inlet air velocity of the fume cupboard. This enables prompt and unambiguous detection of performance deficiencies in the extraction system. KÖTTERMANN’s test environment and test methods facilitate optimal use of laboratory fume cupboards, thereby conserving valuable resources and reducing costs.