Half Suits for Isolators in the Pharmaceutical Industry
13 August 2020
Aseptic isolators offer maximum user protection whilst eliminating the need for clean rooms and additional PPE. Isolators can be designed to produce either positive or negative pressure environments and are commonly used within the pharmaceutical industry to provide a physical barrier between the operator and their workspace.
Isolators are routinely used during pharmaceutical manufacturing to protect either the operator from the substance they are working with, or to stop the contamination of a substance by the operator. They are usually accessed from the side via large gauntlets, or equipped with full sleeves with attached gloves. Their size and contents are usually limited to the area that is accessible whilst wearing the gauntlets.
Respirex were initially approached back in 2005 by a major pharmaceutical manufacturer that required access to a larger work surface within the isolator and were asked to design a half suit, where the operator can enter from underneath the isolator chamber and stand up into the positively pressurised suit. This design gives the operator far greater freedom of movement and allows them to handle greater loads without straining. Sometimes these half-suits are used in conjunction with a second operator, either wearing a half-suit themselves or accessing the sterile work area via attached gauntlets.
Recently we entered discussions with a UK isolator manufacturer to engineer a disposable half-suit in Chemprotex 300. These new limited-life suits could be used for a single project or a set period of time and then disposed of and replaced when required; this means there is less cleaning and maintenance compared to re-usable garments and eliminates the risk of cross contamination.
Respirex Isolator half-suits are designed for use within positive or negative pressure isolation chambers. They are manufactured from tough, lightweight materials which are resistant to most workplace chemicals and sterilising agents. The design incorporates features which allow the wearer to easily access or remove themselves from the garment such as hanging loops to help the wearer get in and out of the suit more easily and take the weight of the suit off the wearer when in use, whilst internal padding for the neck and shoulders support the suit making it more comfortable for extended use. Additional features such as sleeves and visors that can’t collapse and a smooth, low friction material aid entry and make the suit quick to don.
Multiple designs are now available from the traditional air feed through tubes inside the suit to the newer double skinned garments; this model circulates the air between the two layers of fabric providing ventilation to the wearer via holes under the chin and in the sleeves.
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