What is Containment?

What does Containment mean?

Literally, it is about the encapsulation of hazardous materials. The escape of hazardous substances from the workplace (operator protection) or the contamination of a product by impurities in the environment (product protection) has to be avoided.

Most of us have probably asked themselves this question when they came into contact with this topic for the first time. On the following pages, a better understanding will be provided step by step.

Primary Containment: A Containment System that avoids the escape of critical dusts or substances into the immediate working environment or the production equipment. This includes endless-liner-systems, glove boxes or butterfly valves.

Secondary Containment: A Containment system that is deployed in order to reduce any kind of spreading of expansion subsequent to the Primary Containment. 
This includes for example clean rooms, locks or pressure stages.

Closed Systems

Containment applications are mainly performed within closed systems.

Closed systems are machinery and plants particularly used in connection with hazardous substances according to ยง 10 of the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances (GefStoffV).

As a basic prerequisite, there must not be any open connection between the environment and the inside of the system. Leakage of material must be avoided in any case. This also applies to cleaning or maintenance. Thus, integrated dedusting systems also belong to the basic equipment of containment systems. When using dust-free systems, the Ex-zone can additionally be downgraded or may be omitted completely.

Interfaces involved e.g. when sampling, filling, discharging or metering are particularly critical. With a view to the operator, the handling should be as easy as possible, and an operator error should not automatically result in contamination.

Learn more about the Classification of Containment-Systems.

Operator protection means the protection of the operator against hazardous products.
Product protection means the protection of the product against impurities and cross-contamination in particular. 

So it depends on the point of view whether product protection, operator protection or both of them are relevant. What they have in common is the approach to achieve them: the use of closed systems.

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