A rapid-deploy, ultra-pure cleanroom manufacturing solution with potentially disruptive impact to the industry
A very informative article was recently published in Pharmaceutical Online comparing two of the most common air filters in use in pharmaceutical manufacturing and lab environments: HEPA and ULPA. The article, entitled “HEPA Versus ULPA: Which Filter Should Your Biosafety Cabinet Use?” goes into detail describing not only the airflow management in biosafety cabinets (BSC), but the air filtration used, the many standards applied to the industry guiding performance minimums for the filters, and the types of filters most commonly found.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) is quite prevalent in the industry. Depending on the type of HEPA filter used and standards supported by the type, HEPA filters are designed to remove 99.99% of hazardous particles ranging in size from 0.1 to 0.3 microns. ULPA (Ultra-Low Particulate Air), depending on the type used and standards involved, is designed to remove 99.995-99.999% of particles ranging in size from 0.1 to 0.3 microns.
There is some variation to these numbers (which you can read about in more detail in the article) but the specifications show ULPA having slightly higher performance and thus, more effective filtration, if at a certain cost. HEPA filters are more cost effective than ULPA filters, do not restrict airflow as much and have a longer lifespan than ULPA filters—but are not quite as effective.
For many applications, particularly in small, contained environments such as BSCs, this approach to filtration is the standard.