Negative or Positive Pressure?!

Is there really a difference?

Yes, there is a difference. A massive difference. And let us explain why.


When you boil it down, containment is about protection. Protecting the product from cross-contamination during the manufacturing process and protecting operators from exposure to hazardous substances.

It’s often this motivation that brings people to Solo. Maybe you’re the EHS rep for a pharmaceutical CMO and you need to improve the operator safety of a process you’ve handled for years. Or maybe you’re the Production Manager of a CDMO and you’re upscaling a product to manufacture in larger batches.

Whatever your case may be, protection of the product and operator are of parallel importance and should not be compromised.

Solo Containment design all isolators with safety as a fundamental principle. We love to push the possibilities of flexible containment through engineering design and research. Many design elements and tweaks go into our research to continually drive standards.
One of the features we’ve honed over the years is the Automatic Pressure Decay test.


Most of our isolators operate at negative pressure. There are times when negative pressure isn’t needed for many reasons, but most of our day-to-day work involves negative pressure. Occasionally ambient pressure, but more often negative pressure. Never positive pressure. Ever.

Admittedly we aren’t unique in using a pressure decay test to make sure welded joints are held tight during the manufacture of the enclosures. This is an important stage of any quality assurance process. We inflate the enclosure using positive pressure, which quite honestly, looks pretty funny.

But once the enclosure is with the customer and being used? How do we ensure there are no further breaks in containment? That’s where the APD comes in. We run an automatic pressure decay test on our high containment isolators after installation and during operation. We only ever do this at negative pressure.

Never at positive pressure. 


We run an automatic pressure decay test on our high containment isolators after installation and during operation. We only ever do this at negative pressure.
Never at positive pressure.

Positive pressure is fine when there are no materials inside. But what would happen if there was product inside the isolator and there was a break in containment? Positive pressure would blast that product out of the isolator and all over your lab.

So negative pressure does the opposite. It holds all the contaminated product inside the isolator and away from the operator. It’s very simple when you think about it. And yet, not everyone does this. Crazy. You can be confident that if the worst were to happen, you would know about it before you even use the isolator.
The Solo APD test works by starting a 90-second countdown with a clear pass or fail indicated on the unit at the end. The test takes minutes to complete but gives invaluable peace of mind that the containment level has not been compromised.

Are your operators handling potent materials in a positive pressure enclosure? Solo’s flexible containment with negative pressure environment and automatic pressure decay testing keeps your operators safe and dramatically increases your safety procedures. Switch to a Solo system today.

Trust Solo. The future of flexible containment.

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