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Esco Pharma News

News RABS vs Isolators: Understanding the differences

RABS vs Isolators: Understanding the differences


RABS vs Isolators: Understanding the differences

During the last 2 decades, aseptic processing has advanced with the use of isolators and Restricted Access Barrier Systems (RABS) as a means of detaching the operator from “critical areas” thereby reducing potentials risks in products. These systems have been slowly replacing traditional cleanroom.

But what exactly are the differences between these two systems?

Restricted Access Barrier System (RABS)


  • Provides isolation from the surrounding area and maintains ISO Class 5 air quality
  • High-integrity transfer ports
  • Decontaminated using an automated system
  • Maintains constant overpressure of at least 0.05-inch water column
  • Can be located in an ISO Class 8 area when preparing Category 2 CSPs



Decontamination Manually disinfected

Quantifiable and high reproducible method by an automated system

Assurance of Separation No complete physical separation

Quantifiable hourly leak rate (closed) and continuously controlled differential pressure

Surrounding Environment

Passive: ISO 5

Active: ISO 7

Quantifiable leakage tightness

(ISO 10648-2)

Capital Costs

Higher than conventional cleanroom (CCR); reduced with renovation and retrofit application

HIgh equipment costs

Operating Costs

Higher than CCR

Cost saving in energy consumption (HVAC) and clothing
Toxic Containment

Low Capability

Good reliability

Source: Innovation in Aseptic Manufacturing RABS versus Isolators by Francesco Longanesi (Feb 2008)


Esco offers ISOLATORS apt for your compounding needs!