By Gary Partington
While price is certainly an important reason for buying any piece of capital equipment, it is not always the top reason. There are important considerations to examine when selecting an isolator supplier to be certain that you are getting what you are paying for, before the purchase order is written.
Some suppliers Sales team have an engineering background which provides the benefit of understanding the working and manufacture of an isolator and knowing what questions to ask the customer of their process so the right isolator solution can be developed. This also includes experience in integration of isolators and other process equipment. Dialog between the customer and a technical sales person often results in a better understanding by both parties and a better design.
Not all isolators are created equal. Some are made from flexible materials, other from rigid plastic material and still others from stainless steel. Stainless steel has a distinct advantage over plastics as it is more resistant to process chemicals, cleaning agents and decontamination agents. However not all stainless steel isolators are alike. Some use polycarbonate window while others use laminated safety glass. Some use PVC piping and valves while others use stainless steel. Some of the stainless steel enclosures are made of heavier 7 gauge materials while others are of a thinner gauge. Thin gauge may result in warping when being welded. This of course assumes the isolator is fully welded and not simply bolted together. There are many other differences in materials of construction that will not be discussed at this time.