For designing such sensitive environments, “easy” might not be the first word that comes to mind. But you can still design a good cleanroom by tackling problems in the right order. Many manufacturing processes need the very strict conditions that a cleanroom can provide. Because cleanrooms have complicated mechanical systems and high costs to build, run, and power, they need to be designed methodically.
Industrial cleanrooms, which are built to meet international standards, are used by many industries to make products that are free of dirt and bacteria. Cleanrooms are especially helpful in industries that deal with food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, electronics, aircraft, and missile equipment.
They are also used in research labs, testing facilities, and other places that need to be clean and sterile. The standards for how cleanrooms are built are set by the kind and amount of work that goes on in them. The right industrial cleanroom design considers environmental factors like heat loads (the amount of energy needed to keep the room at a certain temperature), temperature, pressure, and humidity controls.
To keep contaminants and particles under control, industrial cleanrooms of today must follow strict rules. Choosing the ideal clean room for your application is more challenging than 1-2-3 due to the various designs and operating requirements.
However, just like other capital expenditures, a list of important questions can help ensure that your choice meets your expectations. When creating a regulated environment, ask yourself the following:
How Will I Use My Clean Room?
A cleanroom’s operational characteristics are determined by the procedures that take place there. For instance, construction materials must be specialized due to static sensitivity or chemical processing.
A softwall cleanroom with full-view plastic panels may accommodate your requirements, or perhaps an all-steel modular cleanroom is required for utmost cleanliness. The amount of staff, how frequently they have access, the allowed garbing protocol, and the required application equipment all greatly impact the cleanroom’s architecture.
How Much Room Is There?
While building your clean room, working space may prove to be a very restrictive element. For instance, the available ceiling height will affect ventilation, air conditioning costs, and how simple it is to replace air filters. Additionally, specific procedures call for personnel to put on gowns before entering the clean room; due to space restrictions, this may necessitate either an internal or external gowning room.
Engineering considerations become increasingly obvious for bigger projects. Huge modular rooms with spans longer than 20 feet usually need external bracing or internal support pillars, which necessitate hiring a contractor and going through a formal permitting process. Smaller rooms typically don’t need these features, making them easier to set up and more affordable.
Which Cleanliness Rating Is Necessary For My Cleanroom?
The International Standards Organization (ISO) has established global classifications as a standard baseline for cleanliness standards, even though each clean room operation normally entails its particular methodology.
The number of particles per cubic meter of air required by ISO is specified, and a specific airflow velocity and air changes every hour maintain it. These guidelines enable you to estimate the number and position of FFUs (fan/filter units) inside the clean room.
The number of fan/filter units needed and the initial and ongoing operational costs increase as the required cleanliness level increases.
After figuring out how many FFUs you’ll use, it’s crucial to equally distribute them around the ceiling without grouping them together. Unwanted turbulence will result from uneven airflow, ruining laminar airflow homogeneity.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters help to control pollution by filtering particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. Air should be continuously cycled through HEPA filters to eliminate impurities from the air and provide fresh air to those working in the cleanroom.
How Much Air Pressure Is Required?
Whether the sample needs to be isolated from the environment, necessitating positive pressure isolation, or whether people need to be protected from a hazardous sample, necessitating negative pressure containment, determines the type of cleanroom air pressure. A cleanroom with positive pressure maintains a consistent laminar flow in which air is driven through filters in the ceiling and exits vents at the base of the cleanroom walls.
Because they affect how much space and energy your cleanroom uses, airflow, humidity, and pressure are crucial factors to take into account. Controlling humidity reduces corrosion and condensation on interior surfaces, as well as static electricity. These two aspects are critical to the operation of a clean room as well as the comfort of those who work in it.
If your facility’s structure will be altered by the cleanroom design or there is a chance that toxic vapors may be released into the environment, you might need building permits or be subject to restrictions.
What Other Design Factors Are Essential To My Particular Application?
Cleanroom procedure will affect where doors, outlets, pass-throughs, and other utilities are placed, just as assembly lines have a specific order for tasks. Do you move the equipment or reposition the door, for example, if the equipment is blocking a swing door or passing through?
Consider a detachable wall if you want to move huge equipment in and out of the cleanroom. Roll-up or sliding doors and big cart pass-throughs are ideal for some applications.
Similar to light fixtures, various types of airflow can be disrupted. To ensure laminar air flow, think about putting LED strip lights or tear-drop fluorescent bulbs on the ceiling grid between FFUs. These design choices can reduce your facility’s overall energy expenses and usage.
It can be important to put together your modular room next to a working lab or specific locations for testing and manufacturing. The cleanroom requires a ceiling-drop electrical connection because it has its own power module; it is simple to run the cable from a central power system.
Plumbing is a factor, though, if the cleanroom has equipment like hand-washing stations that need a water source. However, drainage (perhaps to the existing plumbing system) should be considered before the room is built. PVC pipes can alternatively be run overhead and dumped down to the room location.
The cleanroom is like a race car. When designed and built correctly, they are very good performance machines. When they are improperly designed and built, they don’t work well and can’t be counted on. Cleanrooms can have a lot of problems, so for your first pair of cleanroom projects, it’s best to have an engineer with a lot of cleanroom experience oversee them.