Portable Clean Rooms
The purpose of a clean room is to create a contaminant-free environment suitable for handling sensitive substances or protecting a larger space from possible contaminants contained inside the clean room itself. The clean room is kept clean by means of constantly pumping clean and filtered air into the space to minimize the concentration of contaminants and airborne particles within the space.
Quick links to Portable Clean Rooms Information
Advantages of Portable Cleanrooms
The whole purpose of a clean room is to maintain and control the levels of contaminants within strict limits and guidelines. Contaminants are generated constantly by people, equipment, processes, and sometimes even the facilities themselves. Clean rooms are just one step in ensuring contamination is kept within reasonable limits. There are federal standards that must be met in order for a clean room to be considered as operating within full compliance of these standards.
- Containing Contamination
- A portable clean room is just one of the methods that scientists and engineers can use to restrict the level of contamination within any given space. They also need to consider a wide variety of factors, like air flow and pressure, the direction of the air flow, and also proper filtration of the air as it flows in and out of the mobile clean room. However, a portable clean room is more than just a patched together series of filters. Portable clean rooms are movable atmospheric and climate-controlled enclosures used to conduct research, fabrication, and other sensitive operations. They are often modular, and some models can be assembled and disassembled without the assistance of service companies. Portable clean rooms are useful for operations that require a basic measure of control over the environments in which their operations are conducted.
- Portable Cleanroom Flexibility
- Flexibility is a major factor associated with portable clean rooms. For example, biopharmaceutical processing is a booming industry that has dramatically grown in the past few years. This increased demand for pharmaceuticals has created a need for more clean rooms. Portable clean rooms are an ideal choice to meet this growing demand because they are convenient to install and are easily upgraded. These clean rooms are essential for creating conditions that are suitable for applications that require high levels of cleanliness.
- Unique Design
- Manufacturers have been designing new portable clean rooms with very unique structures. These clean rooms are pre-assembled by the manufacturer and then transported by flatbed trucks to the work site. The rooms mimic similar durability features and processing capabilities of traditional clean room facilities. The simplified design also cuts costs due to less on-site construction. This allows businesses to utilize the clean room technology much quicker. These new clean rooms are also designed for versatility with newer innovations regarding computer systems. Portable clean rooms can be expanded with additional self-contained clean rooms if applications require more space.
Designing a Cleanroom
The material that was used to create your clean room is also something to keep in mind. Most clean rooms these days use materials that do not distribute particles on their own, such as PVC. However, just about everything and anything can contribute and help to create a contaminated clean room. Here are just a few examples of the things that can quickly turn your clean room into a dirty one:
- Saw Dust, Sheet Rock Dust, Drywall Dust
- Air Conditioner Particulate
- Liquid Leaks or Spills
- Saliva, Hair, and/or Perspiration
- Perfume & Cosmetics
- Brooms, Dusters, Mops, and Other Cleaning Implements
- Particles Resulting from Wear or Friction on Tools
There are many elements involved in creating a truly clean room, besides erecting the clean room unit itself. HEPA filters are especially effective in stopping particles in their tracks and offering an efficiency of almost 99.99%. Another factor to keep in mind is the flow of air inside the space. Whenever there is a restriction of the flow of air - whether by obstruction or poor construction - there is the possibility that there will be turbulence. The turbulence of the air inside a clean room can result in more particles being stirred up, especially from the people inside the room.
Components of a Portable Cleanroom
- Softwall vs. Hardwall Clean Rooms
- When it comes to portable clean room enclosures, you have a couple of options to choose from. It's possible to mount soft-walled clean rooms on casters to allow for greater mobility, but hard-walled enclosures are typically fixed in position, however, they can also be taken apart, repositioned, and then reassembled in the new location. Both of these types of clean rooms can be constructed to meet manufacturing standards, however, the hard-walled clean room will provide greater control over the temperature and humidity within the clean space compared to similar soft-walled spaces.
- Portable Clean Room Cost
- It's possible to find a dependable portable clean room for sale online. Simply typing the words "clean room" into the IQS directory will provide a host of results for both hard- and soft-walled clean room manufacturers. The portable clean room price will range, depending on the type of room you're interested in, as well as the size of the enclosure. Often, these clean rooms will be available in modular styles, to allow for connection with other clean rooms, to make expansion of the work space quick and easy. A portable cleanroom set-up will often include key components like ceiling tiles, sealed clean room lighting, as well as HEPA filters so that the enclosure is entirely self-contained and contaminant free.
- The portable clean room cost can range from a little less than $10,000 to as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars for a freestanding portable room complete with a door, light fixtures, electrical outlets, and HEPA filters. To create clean work spaces, production managers might consider a portable clean room hood, a clean flow cabinet, or portable clean room tent to help keep costs down.
- Human Contaminants
- Portable clean room cost is only one part of the bigger picture, however. Other factors should be taken into consideration, including human contaminants. Protective garments such as face masks, head coverings, gloves, booties, and even overalls can help to limit the level of contamination that occurs when people are working inside of the clean space.
- Whether they're soft-walled or hard-walled, these clean rooms are often modular, to allow for the team to add on to existing clean rooms to expand their work space. If you're uncertain about the level of clean room you need, a bit of research in your given field should provide some guidelines for the appropriate levels to suit your purposes.
- For facilities where the staff is only required to wear, at most, a lab coat and a hairnet, a Class 10,000 or 100,000 clean room would be a good choice. However, for any labs or manufacturing environments that require staff to wear full protective suits, masks, booties and so forth, a room that's Class 1,000 or higher is a better choice. If you're working in a Class 10 or Class 100 clean environment, then you're probably already aware of that and should plan accordingly.
- Portable Cleanroom Hoods
- The portable clean room hood is a cost-effective way of creating an environment that's safe for handling sterile products. These hoods are often used in DNA labs as well as forensic laboratories where unknown substances or pathogens are present. Meanwhile, a portable clean room tent is ideal for situations where a temporary clean work space must be established. These clean room tents have a few things in common with the soft-walled enclosures, though these portable tents are inflatable, highly mobile, and much more cost effective for short-term clean room solutions.
Applications of Portable Clean Rooms
Clean rooms have a number of practical applications in a surprisingly wide array of industries, including automotive, semiconductor manufacturing, military, aircraft, aerospace, and pharmaceutical. However, clean rooms are also becoming popular in the agriculture industry. Researchers utilize clean rooms when experimenting on plant growth research as well as analyzing plant production. There are a plethora of benefits regarding the extreme level of environmental control that is associated with clean rooms. These innovations are great for any application, facility or consumer that requires particle control.
Contamination can cause all sorts of headaches for manufacturing teams, including defects that can destroy delicate micro circuitry, surface contamination that prevents proper adhesion on a wafer or chip. Defects like these can lead to malfunctioning products, recalls, and worse. It's up to production managers to decide whether a clean work space would be adequate for their purposes or if they should look into a separate portable clean room space for employees to complete their work. Because they are portable and because their materials are not intended to provide the same protection as those used in permanent clean rooms, portable clean rooms cannot offer particularly high levels of air-filtration and general decontamination. When combined with the use of personnel clean suits and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, they can provide levels of decontamination that are acceptable for some high-tech research and fabrication operations. Some models can be designed for the conducting of individual experiments; such models offer controlled enclosure volumes of no more than a few cubic feet. These can be ideal for use in biotech and medical testing applications. Other designs can be used to cover individual machines; this can often be the case in precision measuring operations. Operations that need access to clean rooms on a small scale will often find portable clean rooms to be an effective, economical choice.
Types of Contaminants
There are a couple of different types of contaminants, including viable and nonviable, or "inert," contaminants. Non-viable particles can include everything from flecks of plastic or metal from equipment, fibers from cloth, and also dead skin cells. In a clean room, just one adult can create up to 100,000 particles per minute while standing still. They can also create up to 1 million particles per minute in a clean room when they're moving around. It probably won't come as much of a surprise to find that people are the number one cause for most particle creation and contamination. Viable particles, on the other hand, often consist of fungal spores, viruses, bacteria, molds and also yeast. As much as 80% of the particles created in a clean room are from the people working inside the space itself. Which makes having a properly functioning clean room even more important.
Cleanroom Standards and Specifications
Portable clean room enclosures are designed and built following rigid methods and adhering to the proper safety protocols. A standard office building will often have upwards of a million particles per cubic foot, while a Class A portable room like this might only have a maximum of 100 particles per cubic foot. Even a single particle 200 times smaller than a human hair is enough to wreak havoc within the confines of a mobile clean room.
The contaminant level standards for all clean room varieties are set by governmental regulatory authorities and international standards organizations. The United States government's US FED STD 209E standards are based on the number of 0.5 micrometer-sized particles present per cubic foot within a clean room. Clean rooms given a Class 1 rating are subject to the strictest standard; Class 1 clean rooms should contain no more than one 0.5 micrometer-sized particle per cubic foot of atmosphere. Each subsequent class number corresponds to its particulate quantity. For example, Class 100 clean rooms should feature no more than 100 0.5 micrometer-sized particles per cubic foot of atmosphere. Normal, unfiltered air, if it were to be subject to US FED STD 209E, would be given a Class 1,000,000 rating. Portable clean rooms are generally not capable of filtering air to Class 1 levels; they are more commonly assigned class numbers of 1,000 and higher. The main advantage of portable clean room systems is that they provide smaller operations with an alternative to large, expensive, permanent clean rooms.
Another important step is to establish procedures for cleaning and maintenance of the space, including schedules for cleaning as well as the frequency of when the room should be cleaned. Other considerations include the type of materials used inside the room (pencils, pens, etc.) and what items are and are not allowed inside the clean space. For certain clean rooms, a particular dress code might be in order, depending on the level of the room. This can range from basic face masks, hair nets, and shoes that won't track in dust or dirt, to full-body jumpsuits and face guards, depending on the type of work being done inside the space.
Clean rooms allow scientists, doctors, engineers, and researchers to have a pristine, self-contained environment where they can create the safest products possible. These products wind up on store shelves, in our shopping carts at the market, in our laptop at home, or even on the NASA launch pad at Cape Canaveral. Every aspect of these spaces is carefully monitored, maintained and controlled to ensure that there's as little contamination as possible. Once you've selected the proper clean room and figured out the appropriate procedures for your space, that still leaves you to establish proper protocols for things like cleaning, maintenance, and also emergencies.
In the realms of science and industry, the more delicate things are, the more they have to be protected. This is true of pharmaceutical products, computer chips, medicines, and basically everything else that's around us. This is where the clean room comes in. By creating a space that's self-contained and carefully controlled, manufacturers, scientists, and doctors can create cures for everything from the common cold to AIDS, solve problems like world hunger, and solve crimes that occurred decades ago. All with the help of a clean room.
Things to Consider When Selecting a Portable Cleanroom
When you're in the process of finding a portable clean room for sale, keep these points in mind:
- How many people will be working in the space?
- How many electrical outlets will your equipment require?
- What class/level of filtration is adequate for your needs?
- What size clean room will you need? This includes equipment as well as lab staff.
The portable cleanroom price can vary, depending on your needs and the level of filtration you require. If you're concerned that the clean room you choose might not be big enough for your needs in the future, you can always speak to manufacturers about options for future modification and modular add-ons for your clean work space. Some other things you should consider:
- The product you're creating: its characteristics and intended use.
- The equipment used to manufacture this product.
- The adverse effects a wide array of environmental conditions might have on your product.
- Will humidity and temperature affect your product?
- Could human contaminants negatively affect the end product?
- Various alternatives, including clean tents, clean hoods, and/or isolating equipment to help minimize noise and limit contamination.
- Budget and whether or not your department can afford the expenditure for a proper clean room setup.
The costs to transport, construct, and maintain a clean room - even portable ones - are often quite high, so it's best to do your research first before taking the leap and making a purchase.
If limiting the amount of contamination is essential for the creation of a product or processes that lead to the creation of a product, then a clean room would most likely be the best option. It's best to establish limits for levels of contaminants and have contingency plans and procedures in place in the event that those contamination levels are outstripped.