The difference between Glove boxes and an Isolators

June 25, 2010

A glove box (or glovebox), is a sealed container that allows for the handling of objects where a separate environment is desired. Special gloves are built into the glove box and placed so that that the user can insert his or her hands into the gloves and perform tasks inside the box without breaking containment. For the most part glove boxes have transparent parts (like clear acrylic) that allow the user to see what is being handled. They are simple structures with minimal filtration and only manual handling of the objects.

Similar to glove boxes, glove box isolators allow for easy manipulation and view of work in progress of a sealed, separate environment, and this explains why the two terms are often confused with each other.  But this is where the similarity ends and the difference begins. Several types of glove box isolators exist.

Glove Box and Isolator Examples

Shielded Glove Box Isolators

These isolators are designed to allow a person to work with hazardous or toxic substances, such as radioactive materials. They are used in nuclear medicine departments in hospitals and laboratories.

Sterile Glove Box Isolators

These isolators are designed for the manipulation of toxic substances, pharmaceuticals or infectious disease agents. They are used in hospitals and laboratories also for fractioning purposes.

Inert Atmosphere Glove Box Isolators

This type of isolator allows for the manipulation of substances that must be contained within a high purity inert atmosphere, such as argon or nitrogen. Many of today’s research disciplines are air sensitive and require this kind of isolator rather than a simple glove box to provide a maintainable inert atmosphere.

Isolators do much more than simple glove boxes.

Unlike simple glove boxes, glove box isolators are usually built with stainless steel, are welded using the TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) method, and in certain cases the transparent clear acrylic parts are substituted with tempered glass or other materials that provide a greater degree of operator safety. They can have comfortable access ports, environmental controls with precise oxygen and nitrogen mixtures, moisture control, and isolated environmental filtration . Glove box isolators can be outfitted with many of the components researchers require to perform their work successfully, including cold storage freezers, reaction cold wells, O2 and H2O Monitoring, balances, PLC control units, safe filter replacing methods such as bag-in/bag-out, vacuum pumps and much more.

Other terms commonly used for isolator glove boxes

Isolation glove box, containment chambers, cleanroom and glove box isolators, glove box isolation.

Why choose Comecer glove box isolators

Comecer has 40 years experience in glove box isolation technology. We have manufactured and installed more than 3000 isolators for various applications in more than 40 countries worldwide as proof to our ability to produce advanced tailor-made solutions that meet our customer’s containment needs. We have specialized department with high expertise and skill on Isolation Technology for both containment and sterile applications.

Our isolators are built of high quality materials like stainless steel AISI 316L (certified type 3.1 in compliance with standard EN 10204), and with mirror-brite finishing level that allow us to qualify our products among the highest standards in the sector. All boxes having a container function are welded using the TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) method. TIG weldings are carried out by operators using procedures certified by the RINA notification organ, in compliance with standards EN ISO 15614-1 (PQR), EN ISO 15609-1 (WPS), EN 287-1 (WPQ). Qualifications are also obtained in accordance with section IX of the ASME Code. All weldings inside the box are subject to “finishing treatments”: degreasing, pickling and passivation, required to return the material to its original specifications as regards hardness and resistance to corrosion.

Take a look at our isolators at www.comecer.com/isolation/isolator-glove-boxes/

In our products’ pages the brochure with the main features can be freely downloaded in pdf format.

Three of Comecer’s popular Shielded Glove Box Isolators

Comecer’s brand new Sterile Glove Box Isolator

Two examples of Comecer Inert Atmosphere Glove Box Isolators

For further information regarding our glove box isolators do not hesitate to contact us