Displaying items by tag: material
A cleanroom is any given contained space where provisions are made to reduce particulate contamination and control other environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity and pressure. The key component is the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that is used to trap particles that are 0.3 micron and larger in size. All of the air delivered to a cleanroom passes through HEPA filters, and in some cases where stringent cleanliness performance is necessary, Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters are used.
The question of modular versus conventional clean room construction is increasingly common in high-tech industries, and one that may have a different answer depending on each individual project. Speed to market, however, is critical for almost all manufacturing companies, and it’s particularly important for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries, which need to maximize the patent protection period after what is usually a long and expensive product development cycle. It’s also crucial for the microelectronics industry where technology changes on a near-daily basis.
Concrete is an excellent construction material. Pourable and formable, concrete develops into a hard structural material capable of supporting heavy loads and is durable enough to last for many years. But concrete is porous and subject to wear and to attack from corrosive chemicals. Also, it tends to abrade and give off large amounts of dust, while spilled materials tend to seep into and through it. Even with additives to increase hardness and seal the surface, concrete cannot be exposed in cleanrooms. Still, it forms the base for almost all flooring materials that do provide the required characteristics. These materials must be compatible with the concrete substance and must adhere well for long-term durability.
While the cost of materials used in cleanroom construction is always a concern, the durability of those materials is far more of an issue because of the high cost of repairs once the cleanroom is in operation. For example, if the flooring cracks or loses its ability to contain spilled chemicals, it may be necessary to tear up the finish, repair the cracks, and install another floor.
For those of us in lab design, we know that cleanrooms can be one of the most complex spaces to design. Cleanrooms provide a space where the particulate count in the air is regulated. A wide variety of clients require clean spaces to conduct their business, whether it’s based on their own SOPs (standard operating procedures) or required by regulatory agencies. Cleanrooms offer an indoor environment unique to any other indoor environment—and with it, pose some unique design challenges.
Deciding whether your cleanroom should be modular instead of drywall is not the only decision a project team has to make when considering a cleanroom. In most cases, the choice of panels is not as clear cut as once was the norm.
What to decide? Say for instance, you have decided to go with a modular system. Now you have to deal with the wide selection of materials available with different suppliersor within the assortment of a single supplier.
The selection of one or another of the mentioned materials may lead to the need of using supporting or enclosing material. “Soft” or easy to disaggregate material, such as rockwool, may require an enclosing structure to provide the panel with the necessary mechanical stability or to prevent the gravity falling effect of the disaggregation over time. Clean area SOP requirements may require the enclosure of any insulating material within the panel. The choice of the material used for the supporting/ enclosing structure may be dictated by the consistency with the material used for skin support. It will not make sense to use a higher quality material, such as aluminum, if the supporting skin is galvanized steel.
Choosing which materials to use for a cleanroom construction is increasingly complex due to the wide variety of options now available. Jorge Nuero, Telstar, looks at key considerations for optimising cost and ensuring safety and quality