Unique Super-Unit APEX 2 Fume Cupboards for University’s Regius Chair

Clean Air has completed the installation of 22 advanced technology APEX 2 fume cupboards and a linked extract system in a prestigious project at the University of Liverpool. The unusual, custom-designed units form a major part of the state-of-the-art Regius Laboratory for Synthetic Chemistry.

As part of the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebrations, the University of Liverpool was awarded a rare and respected Regius Chair. Using these tough, bespoke APEX 2 fume cupboards the new Regius Chair, Professor John Bower, and the Bower Research Group will undertake pioneering work.

Only 26 Regius Chairs have been bestowed since the reign of Queen Victoria. This accolade recognises the university’s exceptionally high-quality teaching and research in Chemistry.

Bespoke APEX Fume Cupboards for the Regius Chair

To welcome the Regius Professor and his team, the university has commissioned a new laboratory and ancillary areas. The lab benefits from cutting-edge equipment, and the Clean Air fume cupboards are top-of-the-range safety apparatus. The units for the new laboratory have been designed to a very exacting and unusual specification.

At the university’s request, 21 of the fume cupboards are fitted together in groups of three to make super-units. The internal sidewalls of the banks of APEX 2 fume cupboards have been engineered out. As a result, the open internal chambers will measure up to ~6000 mm. Each super-unit will still have three individual sash openings.

Clean Air Delivered:

  • 21 APEX 2 fume cupboards in a unique configuration of banks of three
    • Designed with no internal sidewalls
  • Full type-testing to BS EN 14175 conducted in Clean Air’s test facility
    • All passed, at highest levels of containment
  • VAV energy saving technology
    • Energy cost savings of up to 70%
  • Fire suppression systems
    • Plus 90 minute Fire Rated safety storage cabinets
  • One Accessible DDA fume cupboard
    • Rising working level and services
  • Lab safety reminders in cupboards and on sashes
    • Close the sash, respect the safety line
  • Collaboration to fit the innovative VACUUBRAND vacuum supply system
    • Works with the fume cupboards
  • Full polypropylene/Celmar GRP extract system
    • Tough bespoke ductwork fabricated in-house

This project was delivered on time and to budget – of course. To find out more about what Clean Air fume cupboards can bring to your project, just give us a call.

Rigorous APEX Fume Cupboard Containment Testing

Clean Air is the only UK fume cupboard manufacturer with in-house type-testing rigs and operators. Our specialists followed the BS EN 14175-3:2019 and BS EN 14175-6:2006 test procedures to determine the fume cupboards’ containment.

Each APEX 2 fume cupboard super-unit is designed to operate at a face velocity of 0.4 m/s at a sash height of 400 mm.

Particular attention was paid to the sash opening combinations and their effects on air flow. The units have horizontal openings along with a vertical rising sash.

Tests were conducted with multiple sash opening configurations. This assessed how the manipulation of an opening affected the flow through the rest of the unit, and how open sashes contained fumes as other sashes were opened.

Technically, the units could not be deemed to have passed as their unique design does not meet the exact wording of the British Standard. However, the standard’s proven testing methods provided ‘as used’ assurance that this new design exceeded the university’s containment requirements. These distinctive APEX 2 fume cupboards ‘passed’ at the higher end for all the tests.

Energy-Efficient APEX 2 VAV Technology

The new fume cupboards incorporate Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems. This technology makes the fume cupboards more energy efficient – it reduces the volume of air extracted from the lab, significantly reducing energy costs.

The combination sash supports the VAV system by offering an alternative to fully raising the sash. In addition, it offers easy access to the operator and can protect the face while reaching into the chamber.

Lab Safety Reminders

Every unit has a red epoxy safety line in the chamber. Fume cupboards should never have equipment less than 100 mm from the sash as this can interfere with air flow.

‘Close the sash, respect the safety line’ is emblazoned on the sashes. It reminds staff to keep sashes closed, not only to ensure that the VAV system is saving energy, but to protect the operator.

There is also a red line across the sashes. This allows an at-a-glance assessment of which sashes are open, prompting staff to close them and save energy.

Accessible APEX Fume Cupboards

The 22nd fume cupboard in the laboratory is a 1500 mm wide APEX Accessible (DDA) model. This particular version features a rising working level and services.

These units are ideal for wheelchair access or for those with restricted mobility, offering access to all students and researchers.

Global Vacuum Technology Debut

In a worldwide first, VACUUBRAND GMBH + CO KG, in collaboration with Clean Air, designed and installed a novel vacuum supply concept.

This unique installation offers filtration, controlled evaporation, and high vacuum distillation, including secondary drying, all covered precisely by a lab-specific VACUUBRAND solution. Find out more here.

The Laboratory Extract System

Clean Air supplied and installed the linked fume cupboard extract system and the extract for the chemical store.

Bespoke thermoplastic ductwork was fabricated by Clean Air’s experienced in-house team as required. Some aspects of the original design were redrawn by Clean Air’s expert ductwork draughtsmen to resolve the unexpected issues that typically arise in refurbishment projects.

The APEX 2 fume cupboards operate on a branch duct system in each bay, with volume control dampers and VAV dampers for each cupboard.

The building’s roof offered access challenges for the ductwork design. The existing openings in the roof slab were the only route to the rooftop. Bespoke rectangular branch ductwork was fabricated for each of the branch header ducts and included 90° bends and flanged and socket joints.

On the roof, the system was manufactured to withstand extreme weather conditions. Each rectangular branch duct is connected into a 1100 mmØ common header, fabricated in flanged sections from 3 mm thick fabric-backed Celmar polypropylene. This was fully welded and externally reinforced with glass fibre matt impregnated with a polyester resin. It was finished with a resin rich pigmented tissue.

The four centrifugal extract fans are fitted to the common header duct. At either end of this duct are electrically actuated multi-leaf air bleed dampers, complete with manual multi-leaf dampers and bird mesh grilles. The six metre vertical discharge stacks have an efflux cone designed to give a discharge velocity of 15 m/s.

From design to installation, Clean Air has a wealth of experience with complex plastic ductwork systems. Speak to our friendly team to find out how we can help your project.

What our client has to say…

“When a technically complex, new style of fume cupboard was required, we turned to our trusted supplier.”

‘The University of Liverpool is honoured to have been awarded a Regius Chair professorship. It recognises the many years of hard work that have gone into delivering excellence in teaching and research.

‘Clean Air has a track record of successful fume cupboard innovation for the university. We worked with them to design the original APEX fume cupboard, and there are over 120 Clean Air units in the Materials Innovation Factory next door to our Regius Chair facility. Therefore, when a technically complex, new style of fume cupboard was required, we turned to our trusted supplier.

‘Safety is key in this laboratory. Clean Air was able to offer us the assurance we needed that the specialised fume cupboards they designed for us were not only fit for purpose but exceeded our safety specification. Their skilled design team brought to life our vision for the units’ internal chambers. They delivered precisely what we wanted.

‘We can also have confidence that the VAV technology will make our lab more sustainable and reduce energy costs.

‘While the project has been subject to delays due to the pandemic, the Clean Air team has gone out of its way to accommodate all the schedule changes.’

Sean Croft, Project Manager, University of Liverpool

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