What is a desiccator?


A dry storage Cabinet would either contain a desiccant such as ‘silica gel’ or can be closed and purged with nitrogen. A desiccator Cabinet is usually an acrylic case with individual mini environments that are closed and purged with Nitrogen, therefore moisture control with the Cabinet is achieved preventing oxidization of moisture sensitive devices. (MSD).

A good example of this would be during the manufacture of silicon wafers where desiccators work exceptionally well for dry and dust free storage. Often the cost of the Cabinet and the cleanroom floor space is more than outweighed by the cost of improved wafer yield. This improvement in yield would mostly apply to any moisture sensitive devices that also require dust free controlled storage. Some prefer to purchase a low cost desiccator / dry storage Cabinet without a nitrogen purge system and use a desiccant tray.


If your application has extreme humidity or if nitrogen costs are high then perhaps a dry storage Cabinet using a desiccant would be preferable. Of course the performance of the Cabinet would greatly depend on the quality and quantity of the desiccant used.


Substances of a hygroscopic nature, capable of absorbing moisture and therefore used as drying agents. e.g.. Anhydrous sodium sulphate, anhydrous calcium chloride, phosphorous pentoxide, or the mostly popular


SILICA GEL was developed just prior to WWI and was used in Allied gas masks; then in WWII it was used extensively to keep penicillin dry. Not a “gel” as commonly thought of, and not to be confused with “silicon gel”, silica gel is a porous, granular form of silica, synthetically manufactured from sodium silicate.

The internal structure of each small silica gel granule is composed of a vast network of inter-connecting microscopic pores, which attract and hold moisture by a phenomena known as physical adsorption and capillary condensation. (It sounds ridiculous, but a single teaspoon of Hydrosorbent Silica Gel has an internal adsorptive area equivalent to a football field, including the two end zones.) Hydrosorbent Silica Gel is inert, non-toxic and safe to use to protect foods, medicines, sensitive materials, electronics, films, etc. Even when saturated with adsorbed moisture, silica gel looks and feels dry to the touch.

Once saturated with moisture, silica gel can be easily reactivated in a conventional oven for lifetime protection.

Since World War II, silica gel has been the desiccant of choice by government and industry. At 25°C , 5%RH silica gel can hold 5.5% of its weight in water. (Fer. And for more information see Hydrosorbent Dehumidifiers)


Zeolites are microporous crystalline solids with well-defined structures. Generally they contain silicon, aluminium and oxygen in their framework and cations, water and/or other molecules within their pores. Many occur naturally as minerals, and are extensively mined in many parts of the world. Others are synthetic, and are made commercially for specific uses, or produced by research scientists trying to understand more about their chemistry.

Cation-containing zeolites are extensively used as desiccants due to their high affinity for water and also find application in gas separation, where molecules are differentiated on the basis of their electrostatic interactions with the metal ions. Conversely, hydrophobic silica zeolites preferentially absorb organic solvents. Zeolites can thus separate molecules based on differences of size, shape and polarity. At 25°C , 5%RH zeolite can hold 20% of its weight in water. (Ref. And for more information British Zeolite Association)

The information on desiccants is provided for your information, we do not supply desiccants. The information here is only intended to provide an introduction to desiccants and their uses in a desiccator Cabinet. Further information and a supplier of desiccants can be obtained by contacting us or following one of the desiccant links above.


Nitrogen purge Cabinets use a plenum chamber design to provide a continuous laminar flow of nitrogen over the moisture senstive devices contained within the dry storage desiccator Cabinet. The volume of nitrogen used would depend on the volume of the Cabinet, the RH of the external environment, the moisture contained within the contents of the Cabinet and how often the Cabinet is opened.

In some areas of high humidity (e.g. Florida), nitrogen gas flow could be high to retain a desired set point of RH within the Cabinet, desiccator. To minimise the flow and therefore the volume of nitrogen used we recommend the use of a properly calibrated RH meter to monitor the RH so that the flow of nitrogen can optimised.

See INSTRUMENTATION for further details. Also some hygroscopic plastics such as plexiglass® will absorb moisture from a high humidity external environment and pass it through into the Cabinet. If your application does require a barrier from a very humid environment, then perhaps Stainless Steel should be considered for you desiccator Cabinet.

However we find that in most applications acrylic dry storage Cabinets and desiccators perform well and of course provide a ‘visual’ advantage over a metal walled Cabinet and thus are likely to be opened less for content inspection, compromising the environment within. The choice however is yours!


Dry Storage Desiccator


Many modern companies need areas for safe, dust-free and dry storage. Waycon Cabinets can supply an easy solution for the safe dry storage of moisture sensitive products including:

Standard Applications For provision of a static dissipative, clean, dry storage, desiccating ‘mini environment’ where a cleanroom is not available
Cleanrooms For dry storage and desiccation of MSD’s within a cleanroom using facility nitrogen
Pharmaceutical & Medical Products Non cleanroom and cleanroom applications within the pharmaceutical industry that require humidity control
Electronics, including… Semiconductor
WafersIntegrated Circuits (IC’s)
Hybrid Circuits
Waffle Packs
Fibre Optics
Surface Mount Components & Assemblies
PCB manufacture
Component manufacture/ storage
Solar Cell (photovoltaic)


Drying / Warming Cabinets are suitable for drying a range of items such as glassware and instruments, mechanical components and any general purpose warming/drying applications.

These industrial grade units feature:

  • Easy clean powder coated or stainless steel body
  • Thermostat control for set temperature
  • Insulated for increased accuracy
  • Toughened glass doors
  • Fan circulation
  • C.E. compliant
  • Heated by Incoloy sheathed elements positioned in the base of the unit.


Constructed in either clear Perspex, Stainless Steel and Tempered Glass or PVC Static Dissipating Plastic Plate. Waycon dry storage Cabinets combine excellent all-round visibility, strength and a high quality finish with safe storage in dust free conditions.

Control is via a direct reading thermostat with calibrated scale and tamper proof lock. The units also have a mains switch with indicator and heat indicator.

The Cabinets feature single and multiple compartments with doors retained by quarter-turn chrome latches. Closed cell PVC gaskets ensure an airtight seal. Shelves, in acrylic or stainless steel, are equally spaced but can be supplied in alternate positions.

Dry storage Cabinets may be freestanding or an optional metal stand in a white epoxy finish can be supplied.

Non-slip rubber feet are a standard feature to prevent sideways movement. They also enable smaller Cabinets to be stacked to form storage banks.


Moisture Sensitive Devices (MSD’s) have become more widely used within industries that demand a higher level of sophistication. If these MSD’s are not stored to industry standards such as with standard IPC/JEDEC J-STD-033 then they are susceptible to damage during manufacturing. Improper storage of the MSD’s can lead to a costly reduction in yield and desiccators can offer a method of moisture removal/ control other than with baking. Alternatives for dry storage of MSD’s include;

  • Moisture Barrier Bags (MBB’s)
  • Dry Storage Boxes
  • Nitrogen Cabinets

Static Sensitive Devices can be safely stored in Stainless Steel or Static Dissipating PVC Cabinets. In these cases, or when Stainless Steel shelves are used, either conductive metal strips and/or a ground cord for connection to earth are provided.

Quarantine or security requirements are met by the availability of chrome door locks as options, fitted at the factory, to specific doors.



Our dry storage Cabinets are available in four standard sizes but the majority of our customers need Cabinets to suit their exact requirements and so special sizes and designs can be supplied to meet your needs.

Where a dry atmosphere is required, Flowmeters for N2 or Dry Air are fitted and connected by tubing to each compartment. Exhaust ports are supplied as standard or, if required, non-return valves are available.


Prices for standard desiccator Cabinets manufactured in 10mm and 6mm cast acrylic/perspex

Order Code Description Dimensions Price
3100-01 1 Door 1 Shelf 300h 300w 300d £416.59
3100-02 2 Door 2 Comp 1 Shelf each 600h 300w 300d £666.54
3100-03 2 Door 2 Comp 2 Shelves each 600h 400w 400d £800.09
3100-04 3 Door 3 Comp 1 Shelf each 700h 360w 360d £952.72




Specifications Clear Acrylic Static-Dissipative PVC
No of Nominal Dimensions Nominal Inside Dimensions
Chambers W x D x H (mm) W x D (mm) Cat. # Price Cat. # Price
1 (305 x 305 x 305) (248 x 235) 3949-00 £348.00 3949-10 £481.20
2 (432 x 457 x 610) (362 x 368) 3949-01 £828.00 3949-11 £1,347.00
3 (432 x 457 x 914) (362 x 368) 3949-02 £1,344.00 3949-12 £1,904.40
4 (432 x 457 x 1219) (362 x 368) 3949-03 £1,430.40 3949-13 £2,443.20
5 (432 x 457 x 1524) (362 x 368) 3949-04 £1,729.20 3949-14 £3,000.00
6 (864 x 457 x 914) (362 x 368) 3949-05 £2,313.60 3949-15 £2,499.60
8 (864 x 457 x 1219) (362 x 368) 3949-06 £2,461.20 3949-16 £4,531.20
10 (864 x 457 x 1524) (362 x 368) 3949-07 £2,964.00 3949-17 £8,260.80