The Handbook of Facilities Planning (1990) describes cleanroom workstations and benches using modular laminar air flow.
Cleanroom devices are mostly thought of as modular laminar flow systems, also called benches. However, the definition can be extended to cover everything from glove boxes through mini-environment cleanrooms. In fact, the growing emphasis on mini-environments for the semiconductor industry is blurring the distinction between devices and rooms. There is a tremendous opportunity to marry the modular laminar flow station technology with the ballroom cleanroom technology to provide zones with various degrees of cleanliness throughout the room.
Cleanroom working areas of work stations are used in many places where air-transported particles, germs and other contaminating material are expected to affect products, working processes and analysis results. The pharmaceutical, microbiology and virology, electronics, space and aircraft, optical and precision mechanical industries all have a need for work stations in their cleanrooms.
Benches are referred to as devices in the trade and are used separately as well as inside cleanrooms. The laminar flow clean bench is generally described as a work bench or similar enclosure characterized by its own filtered air supply. In recent years, the use of clean benches has spread from research and manufacturing to other fields such as aerospace, bioscience, pharmaceutical, and food processing. The main air flow clean bench has been utilized in a variety of facilities, including medical research laboratories, manufacturing, hospitals, and other clinical and research settings. Applications have included syringe filling, sterile preparation, plant tissue culturing, and media preparation. In addition, the clean bench has been used extensively in the electronics industry for testing, assembly, and inspection of products. The clean bench was developed as an adjunct to cleanroom technology -- the need to protect the product or experiment from contamination. The clean bench provides product protection by ensuring that the product is exposed only to HEPA-filtered air. It does not provide protection to either personnel or the ambient environment. Since the clean bench is not designed to contain any aerosols generated by the procedure, the operator is constantly exposed to such aerosols. Thus, the clean bench is recommended for work with non-hazardous materials where clean, particle-free air conditions are required.