In future lab environments, lab vacuum will continue to be an essential utility in wet labs, even as dry
labs that rely on computers
for simulations or data
analysis develop increasing importance. “Limited
research budgets and cost
pressures in academia will
toward the process optimizing advantages of automation and to careful attention
to the most appropriate
vacuum technology for a
scientific operation,” says
The trend away from
central vacuum supplies in
new and renovated science
buildings will place a premium on space-efficient,
adaptable options for in-lab
supply of vacuum, as well as systems that operate quietly enough
to be a good neighbor in the lab.
Many lab environments are also seeking to incorporate vacuum
pumps into other pieces of equipment to provide a more complete lab instrument and offer control over the entire process. As
researchers move away from house vacuum systems and try to
select pumps that fit their specific needs, Anderson sees a growing
trend to incorporate vacuum pumps into other devices to create a
complete free-standing system.
Like vacuum technology, lab water is also indispensable to
a lab environment and can help further science. In lab water,
there’s a current trend within applications to use less volume, but
more ultrapure water. The purity of ultrapure water is now at a
level where there is little more “purity” to be found, according to
Woodridge, Ill.-based ELGA Lab Water.
Most lab facilities are looking for sources of ultrapure ( 18. 2 Megohm) water systems. These facilities want their ultrapure water system to be fed tap water instead of pre-treated water, which, according
to Julie Foster, global product manager, Water Purification, Thermo
Fisher Scientific, is the traditional type of water the water system
would require. As lab buildings move away from building-central systems to produce pre-treated water for the building, labs look for water
systems that directly convert tap water to Type 1 ultrapure water.
“Customers were always able to build a system configuration of
a pre-treatment system, plus tank, plus ultrapure water system; but
now, they are able to buy smaller compact systems to perform this
conversation of tap to Type 1 water,” says Foster.
Currently, there’s also a movement in certain applications,
such as chromatography or spectroscopy, towards automation to
increase throughput. This
means lab water technol-
ogy can be used in the
According to ELGA
Lab Water, customers
increasingly want to use
raw potable as their feed
source for their water
so there’s a growth in
demand for tap to Type
1 units. Systems are also
becoming more modular,
so users can upscale or
expand their water systems like they do with
As systems are becom-
ing more modular and
dispensing is also much
more in demand. And,
now, according to
ELGA Lab Water, multiple dispensing points in the lab are often
required, especially in new labs.
“Flexibility of water dispensing has also been improved so a user
can easily dispense from the system or from a remote dispenser,”
Most of the enhancements with water purification systems have
occurred to make the water system more user-friendly and adaptable to a user’s work environment. “Updated displays make water
systems easier to use and make monitoring the system’s performance simple,” says Foster.
There are also more mounting options for water systems in the
lab. Water systems can now be mounted on a bench, under the
bench, on the wall or can sit as a stacked configuration on the floor.
Other enhancements include monitoring at the point-of-use/
dispense, inline microbial and biofiltration and real-time TOC
While lab water technology has gone through multiple enhancements, some still need to be made to better advance science. From
ELGA Lab Water’s customers’ perspective, enhancements are more
about simplicity, ease-of-use and lower consumable running costs.
This can be achieved through ergonomic and robust design combined with optimizing technologies within the water purification
The lab water technologies used today have largely been used for
decades, but, according to Foster, there are a few technologies that
could be improved. Electrodeionization (EDI) technology deionizes water in place of a traditional deionization cartridge. “The benefit of the EDI technology is the module can be recharged over and
over again for an average three to five years, whereas a traditional
deionization cartridge can’t be recharged and is often replaced
every six to 12 months,” says Foster.
As safety is one of the greatest emphases in a lab environment, it’s driving more gas detection
and monitoring requirements, as well as the need for better calibration gases. Image: Airgas