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Glove Box Installation

We designed the Ossila Glove Box to be easy to install and maintain. Its benchtop design, small footprint, and quick set up means that it is suitable for laboratories. It also means that the glove box is portable, so you can transfer it between labs if needed.

The Ossila Glove Box installed in our lab
Initial requirements

To successfully install the Ossila Glove Box in your lab, you will need:

  • Access to a nitrogen or argon source regulated to at least 2 bar.
  • Access to a fume hood or ventilated area to vent outlet gas.
  • Access to a plug socket.
  • 12 mm piping for inlet and outlet tubes (we recommend metal or PTFE pipes to reduce moisture ingress/waste outgassing).
  • Larger diameter pipe with converter for outlet hose (again, we recommend metal or PTFE).
  • KF vacuum feedthroughs for electrical supply (if necessary).

Atmospheric Moisture and Oxygen Sensors

The Ossila Glove Box comes with two sensor boards, one for the main chamber and one for the antechamber. These sensor boards each house an oxygen sensor and a H20 sensor that constantly monitor oxygen and moisture levels. They will also measure the pressure and temperature of the internal chamber. The glove box records this information. If you wish, you can copy the saved data to a computer via the USB connection on the back of the glove box control box.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box sensor board
The sensor board which measures O2 and H2O sensors and temperature sensors.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box connector board
The associated connector board in the main glove box chamber.

To fit the two sensors, simply align the legs on the sensor board with the holes on the connector board and push into place. Then, fix the sensor board to the connector board using the screws provided.

The main chamber of our glove box and the antechamber each have their own sensors. These are found on the right wall of the main glove box chamber and on the back wall of the antechamber.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box sensor board in the main chamber
Sensor board placement in the main chamber.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box sensor board in the glove box antechamber
Sensor board placement in the antechamber.

Glove Box Gloves

Our glove box comes with two glove box gloves, and 4 O-rings. The gloves are made of butyl rubber which has low moisture and O2 ingression. Use two O-rings per glove to fix them securely in place.

To attach the gloves, pull them over the two glove box ports and secure them in place with two of the O-rings provided. These should be tight enough to hold the glove in place, ensuring a tight seal.

Fitting glove box gloves to the Ossila Laboratory Glove Box: pull the gloves over the glove port
Pull the gloves round the glove box ports
Glove box gloves secured with O-rings
Secure the gloves using the O-rings provided

Make sure that you check the gloves regularly for wear and tear and replace them as soon as possible if you find any holes. While you can temporality seal small holes with black electrical tape, this is not a permanent solution, and you should replace the gloves as soon as possible.

Glove box glove hole
Small holes in the gloves can be temporarily sealed with black tape.

Glove Box Window Assembly

Glove box screens consist of multiple layers and seals to ensure that minimal leaks occur around the window edge. There are many different types of seal, but the Ossila Glove Box uses rubber gaskets to reduce leaks around the screen. These layers are secured into place using a metal frame.

To install the glove box screen, first position the rubber gasket on the glove box front by aligning the holes with the screws as below.

Glove box rubber gasket layer
Align the window layers with screws on the Glove Box front.
Glove box rubber gasket layer fitted
First gasket layer placed on the lab glove box.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - use l-spacers to fit the glove box window
Place the L spacers on the bottom corners of the frame (see inset), then position the glass screen on top.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - fit the final rubber gasket layer
Place the final rubber gasket layer on top of the glass screen.

Once the rubber interlayer is in position, use the L spacers to align the glass window onto the front of the glove box. Next, place the final rubber gasket on top, slightly overlapping with the window edge. This provides cushioning between the screen and the metal frame.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box- place the metal frame on the screen
Align the metal frame in the same way as the other layers.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - fix the metal frame
Secure using bolts to create a tight seal.

Once you have positioned all the gasket layers, place the metal frame on the front of the glove box and fix it into place using the domed nuts. First, tighten the domed nuts by hand, then secure with a wrench. Do not overtighten the nuts as this could cause damage to the glove box and compromise the seal.

Glove Box Feedthrough Ports

The two ports on the left of the glove box chamber can allow electrical cable or vacuum feedthroughs into the glove box. There are various KF-flange feedthrough adaptors which you can use to allow power supply or vacuum lines into the glove box. You can also assemble glove box feedthroughs for power, gas lines, or optical fibers using these ports. Alternatively, you can also seal these ports using the blank KF-flange provided.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - KF flange components
The individual components for a KF-flange blank seal.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - KF flange nipple
Feedthrough ports on left wall of the Ossila Laboratory Glove Box.

The blank KF-flange provided consists of a centring ring, a blank flange, and a hinge clamp.

To seal the KF-flange, line up the KF-flange blanking plate in combination with the centring ring. Then place these on the flange nipple.

Diagram demonstrating how to assemble to KF port seals.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - fitting blanking plate
The centring ring and blanking plate can be fitted into the port.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - fitting hinge clamp
Fix into place using the hinge clamp.

Finally, secure the seal into place using the hinge clamp and tighten until a tight seal is formed around the port.

Inlet and Outlet Tubes

To insert the 12 mm inlet and outlet tubes, gently push the tubes into the correct feedthroughs into until they feel secure. We recommend using PTFE or metal pipes to decrease the ingression of moisture or oxygen into the glove box. This will also prevent the ingression of waste gas into the lab environment from the outlet tube.

If the outlet tube needs to be more than 1 m long to reach the ventilated area, we recommend converting to a tube diameter of 16 mm. For lengths longer than 3 m, you will need a wider diameter tube (>25 mm). You can use a conversion pipe to adapt the 12 mm outlet pipe, as shown below.

To insert the outlet tube, connect the 12 mm pipe to the outlet feedthrough. The other end of this line should vent into a fume hood or ventilated area.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - outlet bulkhead feedthrough
The lower feedthrough port.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - outlet pipe fitting
Converter feedthroughs can be used to connect to a larger diameter outlet tube if necessary.

Similarly, to install the inlet tube, push it into the upper bulkhead feedthrough. Next, connect this tube to a nitrogen supply which has been regulated to roughly 2 bar.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - inlet bulkhead feedthrough
Push an inlet tube into the upper feedthrough.
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - inlet pipe fitting
It is important to ensure the gas inlet is regulated to 2 bar.

Pressure Relief Valve Assembly

Place the washer over the threaded end of the pressure relief valve and insert this end into the top corner of the glove box.

Pressure relief valve installation for the Ossila Laboratory Glove Box
Installation Steps for the Pressure Relief Valve

Tighten the valve using a wrench. The bottom nut can be used to tighten the relief valve.

Starting the Glove Box

Once the glove box is completely sealed, simply plug into a wall socket, and turn on via the power switch on the back of the glove box.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box power source
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box power source.

The initial display is the Main Chamber Glove Box display page. This displays the oxygen and moisture levels and internal pressure within the main chamber of the glove box.

Laboratory Glove Box Main Chamber Status Display
Laboratory Glove Box Main Chamber Status Display

The first thing you need to do is set the time and date in the "Menu" section. This enables the glove box to accurately track the O2 and H2O levels, temperature, and pressure. This can be useful for identifying problems within the glove box.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box Menu Display
Glove Box Menu Display

Next, you need to set the overpressure, O2, and H2O levels. You can do this within the "Settings" section. We recommend that these are set at 1.5 mBar for the pressure, 0.5% for the O2 level and 1% for the H2O level. Once defined, press "Start Purge" to start the initial purge.

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - setting page with inactive purge settings
Glove Box Settings Page: before automated purge has started
Ossila Laboratory Glove Box - setting page with active purge settings
Glove Box Settings Page: after automated purge has started

You will know the purge has begun when the button changes from "Inactive" (red) to "Active" (green). Additionally, the gloves will begin to inflate as the glove box aims to achieve the set overpressure.

Over the next few hours, the glove box will circulate nitrogen to reduce oxygen and moisture levels to below the desired levels. We recommend leaving the glove box for at least 12 hours to achieve a stable, inert environment.

You may find gas usage might be slightly higher for the first few days after first setting up the glove box if you have placed equipment with plastic casings in the main chamber, e.g. a spin coater or a hotplate. This is because this equipment will slowly degas into the main chamber over time. If you want to place equipment into the glove box, it may be a good idea to hold it under vacuum or dry it in a low temperature drying oven for a significant period of time before moving them inside the glove box. This will help degas the equipment before it is in an inert environment.

Once this is achieved the glove box is ready to use, and with regular maintenance, this environment can be sustained for an extended period. 

Glove Box

Ossila Laboratory Glove Box
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Contributing Authors

Written by

Dr. Mary O'Kane

Application Scientist

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