Quick Tips – Isolator Training

At NKP Isotec we want you to get the most out of your equipment, so we have some quick tips to help you. These tips will help you maintain your equipment and keep it safe and germ-free.

Quick Tip 1

3 quick
easy steps to pressure test your isolator:

Before using your isolator, it’s important to pressure test the unit to ensure its integrity. By purposely over-inflating the canopy we can confidently assess if any air is escaping. Here’s how to fill it up.


1.. Using the silicone bung, plug the exhaust port. Be sure to apply a good amount of pressure while twisting to seal it up tight.

2.. Turn on the blower, allow the isolator to over-inflate then shut off the air supply using the ball valve. This will prevent pressure loss through the air supply port when you put your arm back in for step 3.

3.. Using the other bung, plug the air supply port again applying good pressure and twisting. Then turn off the blower to prevent overheating.

And remember when working with germ-free animals, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy. 

Quick Tip 2

3 most common sources for pressure test failure:


Prior to using your isolator, it’s important to pressure test the unit to ensure its integrity. Nothing can be more frustrating than a failed pressure test when researchers are eager to begin their projects. Here are the three places to check first.

1.. The Bungs. More often than not, reinserting the bungs with a twist and a little elbow grease is all that is needed.

2.. The Grommets. Often these only need to be hand tight, but on occasion to get a perfect seal the grommets may require some extra torque from a wrench.

3.. The Gloves. Best practice to check the gloves every time you use an isolator, this goes for pressure testing too. How long has the isolator been sitting idle, how old are the gloves? Always be sure to set up an isolator with a fresh, new pair.

And remember when working with germ-free animals, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.


Quick Tip 3

3 places to check the gloves, every time: 


Whenever we enter an isolator, we must doublecheck the integrity of the gloves before doing any work. Here are the three most common glove tears.  

1.. Between the thumb and pointer finger, and between the fingers. People have different-sized hands, and different grip widths, and these areas can be repeatedly stretched. While around the thumb is most vulnerable, the area between the fingers is less visible so it’s important to thoroughly

2.. Natural bend at the knuckles. These natural creases can wear over time. They can be particularly strained if users are inverting the gloves while removing their

3.. At the cuff. Although far less common, it’s important to check down around the cuff. If someone is reaching the back of the isolator, it’s possible to get a tear at the cuff that is hidden by the excess sleeve. These kinds of tears can go unnoticed for a long time if users aren’t actively checking.

And remember when working with germ-free animals, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.


Quick Tip 4

3 tips for quick, easy sleeve connections: 


Maintaining isolators means a lot of sleeve hookups. Whether you’re moving supplies in or animals out, here’s how you can make things a little easier.

1.. Labels and landmarks. Save yourself the headache of only realizing the gloves are upside down when you go import a drum. Label your sleeves ahead of time so you know which side for which connection type and which way is up.

2.. Pay attention to the seams. Take note of the seams of your sleeve, use them to line everything up, without a twist, pulled far enough onto the port. Note the same thing applies to replacing gloves. Use the seam as a guide to make sure they’re thumbs up.

3.. Bands and straps ready. Have your bands and straps laid out ready to go. If you’re connecting the sleeves solo best to have the strap on the port and the silicone/elastic band already on the sleeve.

And remember when working with germ-free animals, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.

Quick Tip 5

3 tips for stress-free supply imports: 


Gnotobiotic work is by its very nature especially demanding. Don’t make things harder than they need to be, here are some tips to ease imports.

1.. Straighten out the sleeve. Space is always in short supply, sometimes our rooms are a little more cramped than we’d like. Take the time to move things as necessary to get the sleeve connection straight and taut, making pulling out and unloading the trays far easier.

2.. Get comfortable. Use a stool, stepper, yoga mat, stairs, step ladder, or whatever works best for you so that you’re in a comfortable position while using the sleeve. If possible, bring a friend whom you can pass things to in the isolator.

3.. Let it vent. Some sterilants have quite unpleasant fumes, for example, Peracetic acid. Depending on what you’re using, it can sometimes be best to let the sleeve air out before importing. When safe to do so, open the isolator port, puncture the mylar or remove the drum cap and leave for 10 minutes. The positive pressure of the isolator will push the fumes out of the exhaust and through the drum filter material.

And remember when working with germ-free animals, redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.

Quick Tip 6

3-part daily check: 


There are 3 major considerations for the isolator’s daily check.

1.. Check the animals. Above all else, animal welfare is our top priority.

2.. Check the isolator. Check the integrity of the gloves, the ports are closed, and the isolator is positively pressured. Flexible film and semi-rigid isolators should be visibly inflated. If flat, start at the outlet where the blower is plugged in and trace your way down the line (outlet, power button, fuse, fan speed, ball valve, air supply port).

3.. Check the supplies. Because of the time that goes into preparing, sterilizing and importing materials into an isolator, we want to take note of our inventory daily and keep a well-stocked isolator.

And remember when working with germ-free animals; redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.