Building in Purity
Laboratories rely on the constant provision of high quality water for a variety of purposes; from glass washing to reagent preparation and instrumental analysis. It is all too easy to take this valuable resource for granted yet, behind the scenes, a great deal of thought goes into designing a facility that reliably and cost-effectively provides water of the required quality on a round the clock basis.
Water is the most important solvent in the laboratory, and it is crucial to think carefully about the laboratory’s requirements and how best to meet them when designing or refurbishing a facility. Municipal water supplies have undergone extensive purification to ensure that they are safe to drink, but low level impurities remain, and so further processing is required to ensure high quality water suitable for laboratory applications, from glass washing to reagent preparation and instrumental analysis.
There are many things to consider when designing a water purification system. For example, it is important to characterise the feed water (as this helps to determine the pre-treatment required), and to establish which grades of water the laboratory needs, as this will determine the treatment technologies to be implemented. The average daily use, as well as the demand for direct feeds to equipment such as glasswashers and autoclaves, must also be identified. The size of the storage tank is another important consideration, and should be matched to the expected usage; ideally, water should be drawn and replaced several times a day to avoid becoming stagnant.
Centralised or modular?
Laboratories can choose between a centralised system (a single loop that distributes water throughout the whole facility), a modular system with a floor-by-floor configuration, or individual point-of-use systems spread throughout the building. Arguably, the most flexible option is to configure the system to supply water floor by floor and at individual points of use.
The complete package
The key to success is teamwork. End users, architects, engineers and consultants must work together to devise, install and validate a water purification system that meets a laboratory’s exact specifications, taking into consideration the various points mentioned above. When complemented by a support service offering including training, technical advice and tailored preventative maintenance programmes, a laboratory will benefit from the provision of high quality water suited to its specific applications for many years to come.
To find out how we can help with your individual laboratory needs, whether you are designing a new laboratory or refurbishing an existing one, please contact us for more information.