An essential for the pharmaceutical, aerospace, and food production industries, cleanrooms have been designed to provide facilities that can cater to the manufacturing of highly sensitive goods – which require an environment free of pollutants. Unlike regular production and storage facilities, cleanrooms require an extremely high level of cleanliness and specialist construction which is why it is a wise choice to leave their fabrication to experts like Ambrey Baker.
Cleanrooms are graded using particle size, with the International Organisation for Standardisation defining a cleanroom space as a room where the concentration of particles and airborne contaminants can be controlled and “is constructed and used in a manner to minimise the introduction, generation, and retention of particles inside the room and in which other relevant parameters, e.g. humidity, pressure, and temperature are controlled as necessary”.
Because of the incredibly controlled nature of a cleanroom environment, they must be carefully designed and fabricated to ensure that all of the necessary elements are included in the build. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) even goes so far as to specify a standard – ISO 14644-4 – for how facilities must be designed and constructed to meet the requirements for a cleanroom environment.
Clean Room Elements to Control Contaminants
So, what are the essential elements when it comes to creating a high-end cleanroom?
First of all, the most crucial element is the architecture itself. A cleanroom must be designed in a way that allows for airflow to be easily maintained within the confined area without mixing airborne particle flow lines. Achieving laminar flow, as this type of airflow is known, is key to minimising particle movement and reducing airborne contaminants that could taint whatever is stored inside the cleanroom.
Air filters are another essential requirement for a cleanroom environment. However, not just any air filtration system will do. To achieve proper control of particles and contaminants, a cleanroom must be fitted with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. These filters can effectively trap even the smallest of particles, filtering out up to 99.97% airborne contaminants even as small as 0.3 microns. There are several different types of HEPA filters available, so it is best to research which filtrations system will be the right choice for your cleanroom before investing in one.
The next element that you will have to consider when creating a cleanroom environment is air pressure. In cleanrooms designed to protect from outside contaminants, the pressure should be positive to prevent any contaminants from entering the environment. However, in cases where a clean facility contains hazardous materials, the pressure should be harmful to minimise contaminants escaping the space.
Temperature and humidity must be carefully controlled in cleanroom environments too, so it is crucial that the space is designed so that both of these can be accurately controlled and monitored at all times. Doing so helps to create a stable environment for even the most sensitive of materials and instruments, many of which are often very reactive to even the smallest change in humidity or temperature.