What is a CO2 Incubator

Introduction to CO2 incubators

Current processes as well as progress in life sciences rely on laboratory research with cell and tissue cultures. For accurate results, biological samples must be tested under extremely specific conditions that mimic the cell’s own live environment. Even slight deviations can catastrophically impact cell function, so precise maintenance of temperature, moisture, oxygen (O2), carbon dioxide (CO2), pH and humidity levels are essential.

Incubators are vital for successful cell culture under optimal, stable conditions. While some focus on temperature only, CO2 incubators especially provide control of all key parameters inside the incubator chamber with great precision and stability.

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How do they create ideal conditions for biological growth?

CO2 incubators utilize advanced technology for temperature, CO2, and O2 control. They combine specialist sensors, heating and insulation, to create a precise balance within the chamber that meets specific culture requirements. Used in a wide variety of applications across life sciences - each of which requires specific conditions for cell storage, culture and growth - the ideal CO2 incubator needs to provide controllability over a wide temperature range, as well as reliability and long-term performance.

PHCbi’s CO2 incubators feature our own advanced, patented technology, which delivers the performance needed for successful cell culture in a wide range of applications. Their scope is extensive, providing a perfect environment for any required incubation temperatures of between AT+5°C to 50°C. They are also available in a huge range of capacities from 50L to 851L.

The incubators have a single beam, dual detector infrared (IR) CO2 sensing system that offers unprecedented control accuracy and stability by simultaneously measuring sample and reference wavelengths for continuous calibration. The sensor is unaffected by changes in temperature and relative humidity and is linked to a sophisticated microprocessor controller. It measures the absorbance of light from an infrared lamp of a specific wavelength over a fixed distance. As only CO2 absorbs light at the selected wavelength, the sensor can function independently of both temperature and humidity.

Temperature reliability is ensured through PHCbi’s patented Direct Heat and Air Jacket – a high density foam insulation for the incubator chamber. This system prevents condensation and protects against ambient temperature fluctuations and cold spots. Gentle fan circulation maintains uniform heating, delivering regular temperatures to all cultures regardless of their placement. A direct heating system ensures highly reactive temperature control in response to door openings.

What else is key in designing the perfect CO2 incubator?

As incubators create ideal conditions for biological growth, they are also vulnerable to the development of unwanted bioorganisms, such fungi, viruses, and bacteria. Therefore, technology that prevents contamination, lowers the risk of contamination and/or prevents entry of these agents in the incubator is also a vital design element.

With pressures and challenges for laboratory technicians mounting in all life science laboratories, and especially in the healthcare environment, any equipment needs to be easy to use, safe, and efficient to clean and maintain.

PHCbi’s CO2 Incubators are well-established and well-respected products in the world of life sciences. They are renowned for their accuracy, reliability, stability, as well as their energy efficiency.

Continuous active background decontamination is a key feature of the entire range. The incubators are constructed with unique InCu saFe® copper-enriched stainless steel alloy interior surfaces, plenum, and shelving to eliminate contamination sources and mitigate the effect of airborne contaminates introduced during normal use. They also have a n optional patented UV lamp sterilization system and optional hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) decontamination or heat sterilization system.

All interior components of the incubator, including the air management plenum, humidity pan and fan assembly, are easily removed without tools if required. When all components are removed, all interior surfaces are exposed for conventional wipe down. Ergonomic design makes the Incubators easy to access, use and monitor. As well as support during selection and installation, service options from PHC are available with our CO2 Incubators.

The incubators are available in a wide range of sizes, ensuring just the right fit for every application. This means that their overall footprint can be minimalised.

What applications are the CO2 incubators most suited to?

Serving both biomedical/life sciences and diagnostics – PHCbi CO2 incubators can be found in a broad and growing spectrum of life science facilities. They are valued by researchers and other professionals in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare fields. As medical technology advances, the need for incubators is expected to grow further. PHC already provides a wide range of certified CO2 incubators but invests continually and significantly to stay ahead of market and customers’ needs.

What quality standards do CO2 incubators need to meet for these applications?

As CO2 incubators are used by a growing number of customers for the cultivation of human cells and tissues, and are classified as medical devices in this context, according to the European Union’s (EU) Medical Device Regulation (MDR).

PHC Europe was one of the first major international companies to be awarded certification in compliance with the MDD for selected products in 2011. Since then, it has continued with commitment to certification of key products and its quality systems to ensure that relevant products meet all current and future regulatory requirements..

To obtain medical device status, every step in the process of design, manufacture and testing is subject to a multitude of complex and specific rules and regulations. Declaring a relevant product as a medical device is a significant scientific, engineering and business undertaking..

MDR certification shows not only that PHC products are designed and manufactured to exceptionally high standards, but also that PHC is deeply committed to serving scientific professionals in the medical field and ultimately, helping patients in the healthcare industry..

Certification demonstrates compliance that extends way beyond product function. Achieving it demands a consistent and effective quality management system, technical documentation, essential product requirements, information about harmonised standards and medical device regulations, risk analysis, post-marketing surveillance, reporting under the vigilance system, and a retention system for certain critical documentation. A large cross-functional team at PHC Europe was involved, including development, engineering, regulatory and quality experts as well as upgraded compliance of its quality systems to the highest and latest global standards for medical devices according to ISO (the International Organisation for Standardization) - ISO13485.

What’s about future innovations?

PHC Europe continues to develop products together with its customers. Continuous progress in scientific research means that we constantly move forward.

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