Equipment: The places it goes

For a full, updated list of equipment manufacturers and distributors, go to and search “equipment.”

by Mark A. DeSorbo

Equipment of the contamination-control nature continues to evolve inside and outside of the cleanroom.

On the far end of the spectrum is BioMail Solutions, a system designed by Lockheed Martin (Owego, NY) for keeping mail and documents free from biohazards.

“The BioMailSolutions system product suite is an early intervention system that helps detect airborne particulates in mail processing environments that could be potentially harmful,” says Judy Marks, president of Lockheed Martin Distribution Technologies.

An end-to-end design, the BioMailSolutions system includes a mail transporting, sorting ventilation and filtration subsystems; real-time detection and particulate analysis; lightweight personal sampling devices that mount near equipment and a ventilated workstation where mail that needs to be prescreened can be opened.

“If a problem is detected anywhere along multiple checkpoints, interventions steps, such as emergency procedures, can be initiated,” Marks adds. “Because BioMailSolutions systems are modular in design, it can be operated as standalone equipment or integrated as part of a company or government agencies enterprise network.

Lockheed Martin has developed a system to help detect biohazardous airborne material that could be harmful to personnel in mailrooms. Called BioMailSolutions, the system is designed to filter, test and analyze mail processing operations that handle incoming and outgoing mail.
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The BioMailSolutions system is really an amalgamation of cleanroom, or contamination-control equipment-ventilation, filtration and particle analysis infrastructures-combined to make a unit with a specific purpose.

On the cleanroom side of the spectrum, one might find similarities in a line of vacuums recently developed by Nilfisk Advance America (Malvern, PA).

According to the company, postmasters and postal workers can collect biohazard materials-including Anthrax spores and other bacteria-with its United States Postal Service-approved HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaners, which have traditionally been recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for cleaning mail-sorting machines and performing other housekeeping tasks in mail-processing centers.

“Each of our biohazard protection vacuums is equipped with a unique filtration system that captures even the finest powders and biomaterials, and prevents them from escaping back into the environment where employees are working,” says Nilfisk's Mike D'Agostino, product manager.

The biohazard protection vacuums are equipped with the company's multi-stage, graduated filtration system, which uses a series of progressively finer filters. The system captures increasingly smaller particles as they move through the vacuum, exhausting clean air into the environment. Additionally, when equipped with optional HEPA filters, the advanced vacuum systems retain up to 99.97% of all ultra-fine particles, down to and including 0.3 microns.

North Safety Products (Cranston, RI) has masks and canisters that protect early responders in non-immediately dangerous to life or health (non-IDLH) atmospheres containing chemical and biological agents and radioactive dust.

Some North Safety products are designed for firefighters, police officers, emergency medical service personnel, hazardous materials handlers and other emergency response teams.

Monitoring and analysis complete the overall package. The portable, hand-held sampling devices that Lockheed Martin touts are seemingly direct descendants of the particle counters and environmental monitors that are manufactured by companies like Pacific Scientific Instruments (Grants Pass, OR).

The company recently released an operating system upgrade that enables its PM-450 particle monitor to automatically refresh the real-time counts page and ensures that no other host on the network has its IP address, which fixes the problem of using custom alarm limits.



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