Transferring items into and out-out rooms is something we all take for granted. It’s easy to pick up a folder and deliver it to an office down the hall, or load up a cart with paperclips and staples destined for the supply cabinet. Once you work in a cleanroom, however, this simple task turns into a “process.” Strict requirements govern the steps that personnel take for otherwise simple actions.

ValuLine Pass-Through Chamber in white polypropylene

ValuLine Pass-Through Chamber in white polypropylene. Technician is opening door using expansion latch

Think about moving a cryobox or tube rack into an ISO-rated cleanroom from an “unclassified” space that only requires you to wear a lab coat. You read the SOP, and know that you need to get to the gowning room and follow the time-consuming steps of removing jewelry, cleaning shoes, washing hands, garbing up, applying a face mask, covering your hair and walking through an air shower.  How much time did that take, and what work would you have been doing otherwise?

Pass-through chambers offer labs immeasurable convenience by cutting out the time-consuming (yes, time is money) steps of donning, and doffing, cleanroom garments. Additional cost comes from the garments themselves, as well as their laundering or disposal. You’d be crazy not to invest in a pass-through! As with any capital investment, there is a cost, but it’s not recurring and will eventually pay for itself in what you save over consumables and man-hours.

Terra Universal designs and manufactures a large variety of pass-through chambers. Their ValuLine™ brand of products offers additional savings for labs on a stricter budget, or who aren’t working with biologicals. ValuLine pass-throughs come in 304 stainless steel, polypropylene or acrylic, in standard or custom sizes to fit your space. Your building contractor can help with installation.

ValuLine Pass-Through Materials
ValuLine stainless steel pass-through with door interlock installed

ValuLine stainless steel pass-through with door interlock installed

Stainless steel is an ideal material for clean environments, and it stands up to repetitive punishment. Steel is non-porous and doesn’t generate particles. Wipe downs are easily done with strong disinfecting chemicals; the steel resists damage from these agents. Doors are made of transparent static-dissipative polyvinyl chloride (SDPVC) to help reduce electro-static discharge (ESD).

White polypropylene is a strong plastic that is also chemical-resistant, but less expensive than steel. The white interior and frame have a nice appearance. Polypropylene is not easily damaged from physical stress or heat. Doors for this pass-through are also made of SDPVC, which is used for materials sensitive to ESD.

Acrylic is a very strong and clear plastic, doors of which provide the most transparent view into the chamber. The body and frame of the chamber are made of black acrylic, giving this chamber a striking look. Words of caution: wiping acrylic can lead to a build-up of ESD that attracts particles. Acrylic may also be damaged by chemicals including alcohol, so milder cleaning agents are recommended. This material is the least expensive of the three.

ValuLine Pass-Through Design
Black Acrylic ValuLine passthrough_no model

ValuLine Pass-Through Chamber made of black acrylic. Door reinforcements are visible, as in the stainless steel door guard

Each of the ValuLine pass-throughs has a stainless steel “floor” that adds structural durability to the interior, as well as protects the surface from damage sustained from sliding heavy objects or accidental spills. Plastic materials are more susceptible to scratching and other wear-and-tear from these circumstances.

These pass-through chambers also feature dual expansion latches that tightly close the doors. The closures double as handles for opening doors to access the interior. Gaskets along the doors’ inside edges ensure a snug fit that keeps ambient air out of the chamber when not in use. Expansion latches are designed for cleanliness as they are isolated from the main chamber.

The Bottom Line

Save money short- and long-term by choosing ValuLine products. Pass-through chambers are easy on the budget, but have qualities that meet your facility’s cleanliness requirements. Click here for more information about Terra’s ValuLine Pass-Through Chambers.