Cleanroom HVAC Systems Explained

Cleanroom HVAC Systems Explained

In cleanrooms, air is crucial – how it’s filtered, how it’s heated and cooled, and how it’s circulated. Because of this, knowing how HVAC and filters work together is crucial to maintaining cleanroom air decontamination and meeting cleanroom standards.

Dedicated vs. Integrated HVAC

When it comes to cleanroom HVAC systems, the first decision is whether to have a dedicated HVAC system or to incorporate your building’s existing HVAC. This depends on the necessary level of environmental control, the size of your cleanroom, and the other energy requirements of your facilities. Using an existing HVAC system can help you save money at the outset, but for very large cleanrooms or factories, a dedicated system might be more efficient and keep a reasonable load on each system so that they can run efficiently. Additionally, while you can combine a filtration system with an existing HVAC system very efficiently, for extremely stringent cleanroom standards, dedicated HVAC may be your best bet.

Filtration systems

Filtration is also an important consideration here. There are three basic types of filters used in cleanrooms: prefilters, HEPA filters, and ULPA filters. Prefilters are used with both HEPA and ULPA filters as a first step in the filtration process, removing large particles.

HEPA filters are High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters, and they filter out 99.99 percent of particles 0.3µm or larger.

ULPA filters are Ultra Low Particulate Air filters, and filter out 99.999 percent of particles larger than 0.12µm.

Purity Testing

Once your HVAC and filtration systems are in place, you must regularly test the air purity of your system. Testing should occur initially in three phases: as-built testing (when all services are connected and working), at rest (when all equipment is installed and in place), and performance qualification (occurring regularly while the cleanroom is in operation).  

Are you designing a new cleanroom or updating an existing one? Angstrom Technology has the products and expertise you need.

Hardwall vs. Softwall Cleanrooms

Hardwall vs. Softwall Cleanrooms

If you’ve been looking into cleanroom options for your company, you may have come across the terminology “hardwall” and “softwall” in reference to different types of cleanrooms. But, what’s the difference? And how do you know which is right for your application? Let us break it down for you.

Hardwall Cleanrooms

Hardwall cleanrooms mimic traditional construction in that they have solid walls (hence the name) but retain greater flexibility. The benefits of hardwall cleanrooms are numerous:

  • Existing HVAC incorporation—hardwall cleanrooms can utilize your building’s existing HVAC while maintaining your cleanroom standards.
  • Mounted equipment—hardwall cleanrooms can be designed around already mounted equipment that is floor mounted or ceiling mounted.
  • Strong environmental control—hardwall cleanrooms allow you total control over your cleanroom environment from static and temperature to particle decontamination to meet even ISO Class 1 standards
  • Able to modify—hardwall cleanrooms have a modular design that makes it easy to expand or upgrade as your cleanroom needs change.     
  • Durable—hardwall cleanrooms have a durable frame and strong ceiling grid, so they last for a long time and never sag.

Hardwall cleanrooms are excellent for large cleanrooms and traditional cleanroom applications and can work well when strict environmental control is necessary.

Softwall Cleanrooms

Softwall cleanrooms function essentially like a tent, they are made of flexible material, unlike traditional walls, and can be freestanding or suspended from your existing structure. Some of the benefits of softwall cleanrooms include:

  • Affordability—softwall cleanrooms require minimal materials and are simple in design, making them a budget-friendly option.
  • Customizable—softwall cleanrooms are super flexible and can easily be customized to your application with the necessary HEPA or ULPA filters or required door type.
  • Flexible—softwall cleanrooms are light and can be easily moved, whether freestanding or attached to your existing structure.
  • Easy to install—softwall cleanrooms can be installed in just a few hours, with minimal tools
  • Space-saving—softwall cleanrooms tend to be compact and can fit nearly anywhere.  

These attributes make softwall cleanrooms great for temporary cleanrooms or cleanrooms requiring less stringent classifications, such as storage applications.

Angstrom Technology is a leader in the design, construction, and installation of both hardwall and softwall modular cleanrooms. Call us today for more information on which is right for your application!