Clean Room Equipment
Clean room equipment includes all movable items that are not part of the walls or panels, though most parts of modular and portable clean rooms can be considered clean room equipment. As a result of the broad description, clean room equipment can encompass a wide range of parts and products. Since keeping a sterile and sanitary environment is essential to many clean room applications, clean room equipment must be manufactured from easy-to-clean materials such as stainless steel, polycarbonate or plastic laminates. Clean room equipment manufacturers serve a broad spectrum of industries, the most common of which includes the pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, microelectric and nanotechnology industries as well as many hospitals and research laboratories.
Clean rooms often incorporate parts and components such as storage cabinets, ergonomic work stations, carts, ducting, benches and shelving and trolleys, which are all considered clean room equipment. Isolation systems and industry or application-specific machines and equipment also fall under this category, as well as many other items such as clean room gloves, fume hoods, garment cabinets, garbing stations and more. In addition to the previously mentioned equipment, every clean room has hand held or built-in sensors that monitor the room's particle density, making sure it is at the appropriate level. The class of clean room that it is will determine what the appropriate level or particle density will be; these classes range from Class 100 to Class 10,000 and even higher. Some examples of clean room equipment are air shower systems, which are located at the entrance and remove particles and dirt as people enter or move around the clean room, and sticky mats, which use adhesive film to clean shoes before they enter. Additionally, individuals working in clean rooms also have special outfits called bunny suits, shoes and mouth coverings that are worn in the rooms at all times.
Clean Room Equipment – Clean Rooms International, Inc.
Clean Room Equipment – Clean Rooms International, Inc.
Fan-filter Units—a Guide to Design Approach
Many factors are taken into account in design of clean room, such as maintenance, limited space, strict cleanliness guidelines, safety, reliability and temperature and humidity control bands, these factors make it challenging. However, to simplify the process there are various design approaches, which helps to design a facility that meets all the requirements. In ideal clean rooms, there are many kinds of clean room equipment, including:
- Demand controlled filtration
- Dual temperature chilled water loops
- Fan-filter units (FFU)
- Low Pressure Drop Air Systems
- HVAC Air Systems
- Vacuum Pump Optimization
- Water-Side Free Cooling
All these systems are necessary to achieve and comply with ISO clean room standards.
Here, we will discuss the design approach of FFU, as it plays an important part.
A FFU commonly has a controller, a HEPA or ULPA filter set in a box, and small fan. FFU fits into ceiling grids, usually in two by two or four by four configuration.
Mode of Work
In FFUs, for air re-circulation, small fans push air through various air filters, in the process, they consume significant amount of energy.
Under some conditions, certain type of the FFUs might not perform efficiently, therefore, it is important to select a functional unit based on the designing conditions. A standard approach may not perform well; therefore, a dynamic approach might be required.
The concern to design approach is minimum efficiency criteria. The criteria must be the benchmark that should be followed during the construction. Another concern is energy performance data; it should be based on testing method developed by concerned authorities, in this case, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
These two considerations help to select the units that will perform efficiently.
The Modern Alternatives
Newer FFUs come with Electronically Commutated (EC) motors—a brushless direct current motor but use AC power as input. They are proving to be significantly more efficient than AC induction motors.
EC motors can be as efficient as 80%, almost double than those of AC motors. Application of these motors can cut operational cost and endow longer service life, and easy controllability.
New Codes Involving Energy Efficiency
Clean room equipment is any tools, furniture, storage systems and work surfaces that are specifically manufactured for use in clean rooms. A clean room is an area in which the air is filtered in order to minimize the introduction, generation and the retention of airborne particles inside the room. As a result, clean rooms are incredibly clean environments.
The clean room industry is constantly receiving new innovations to improve and perfect the cleanliness levels within a clean room. In March of 2013 there has been a new publication regarding British standards for clean rooms. This code titled BS 8568:2013 was released by the British Standards Institution. The purpose of this new 36 page code is to boost energy efficiency by optimizing energy consumption. One component is to improve the specifications for sheet metal ductwork regarding low, medium and high pressure air systems. This code also raises the standard in which the operators of a
clean room are trained. The higher level of training is meant to hopefully generate less contaminants simply because the users are more knowledgeable and efficient.
Although BS 8568:2013 is a British standard it still works in support with the ISO 14001:2004. The new code is beneficial because it can save users in operation costs due to energy efficient applications. Also, these procedures aim to improve sustainability conservation measures by reducing
negative environmental issues. The code also invokes more automatic features such as an energy control system that will adjust the amount of air flow based on the operation of the clean room. If the clean room is not in use then the HVAC units will run at a decreased rate. The new ductwork requirements save significant amounts of energy by utilizing a pre-filter on the FFUs (Filter Fan Units) which will help eliminate possible blockages of the high efficiency particular air filters. It seems that the more filters the better because the incoming air is one of the main factors that can lead to unwanted particle levels.