What is a Modular Cleanroom?

What is a Modular Cleanroom?

Modular design is becoming a buzzword in the construction industry, which means it’s also becoming a consideration for companies looking to build or expand, and this includes companies that are designing new cleanrooms. While modular homes might be on your radar (and blocking the right lane of the expressway), modular cleanrooms should be too. So, what is a modular cleanroom?

 

What is modular design?

First, let’s briefly cover modular design. Modular design is an approach to design that separates a system into smaller, self-contained units that can be created individually then combined in various ways to create a whole system. In terms of building and architecture, modular design incorporates universal components that are manufactured in a factory, then assembled on-site into the desired configuration.

 

What is a modular cleanroom?

A modular cleanroom is a cleanroom that is built of pre-fabricated, manufactured components that are assembled to your specifications on-site. These pre-fab components include wall and ceiling panels as well as special features like pass thru chamber panels and air locks.

There are various different design options for modular cleanrooms, depending on your cleanroom’s needs in terms of application and required classification. Modular cleanrooms can be free-standing structures or they can incorporate existing walls and structures within your factory or facility. They can also incorporate existing equipment and HVAC. Modular cleanrooms can have hard walls that resemble traditional construction or soft walls that are somewhat tent-like for greater flexibility and ease of transport.

 

What are the benefits of modular cleanroom design?

There are many benefits of modular cleanrooms, including how quickly they can be built, with minimal disruption in your facility. Modular cleanrooms can also be easily expanded or modified—they can even be taken apart and reconstructed in a new location. And even though the components of modular cleanrooms are somewhat universal, you can still customize a modular cleanroom with a variety of special features and equipment to ensure that it meets your application’s specific needs. These are all immense benefits, and save time and money over most traditionally constructed cleanrooms.  

If you’re interested in learning more about modular cleanroom design, check out our Cleanroom Design Guide or get in touch with one of our cleanroom design engineers.

How to Determine Your Cleanroom Design Budget

How to Determine Your Cleanroom Design Budget

Budget: the part of any major project that no one wants to talk about or deal with. Cleanroom design is no exception. Given the very specific and specialized nature of cleanroom design and the unique requirements of each type of cleanroom, it can be difficult to know at the outset of your cleanroom design project what your budget should be. Here are a few things to consider when determining your cleanroom design budget.

 

Type of construction

First of all, are there different types of construction? Yes, when it comes to cleanrooms, you can choose either traditional or modular cleanroom construction. (Read more on traditional vs. modular cleanroom construction here.) Depending on your cleanroom size and application, modular construction may be the more economical choice. If you go the route of traditional construction, you’ll need to include more room in the budget for that.

 

Wall type

For modular cleanrooms, there are a few different wall options, which come at different price points. Softwall cleanrooms are going to have a lower cost than Hardwall or Rigidwall cleanrooms, in most cases. They are a more curtain-like material as opposed to a more traditional wall, which is beneficial for impermanent, small, or lower-classification cleanrooms. However, if your cleanroom must meet a very stringent ISO classification, Hardwall or Rigidwall design may be necessary.

 

Equipment and special features

It comes as no surprise that special equipment and features cost money. If your cleanroom application requires a fume hood, hazardous materials storage cabinetry, a talk-thru panel, a pass-thru chamber, an airlock, an air shower, or any other feature that you wouldn’t find in a normal room, you’ll need to account for that additional cost in your budget.

 

Required classification

As a general rule, the higher the cleanroom class, the higher cost to build and maintain. A biotechnology cleanroom required to meet ISO Class 5 (Fed Std 209E Class 100) standards is going to cost more in terms of materials and equipment, to build and maintain than an ISO Class 8 (Fed Std 209E Class 100,000) storage cleanroom. The higher the classification, the more special features, like those mentioned previously, that the cleanroom will need, the more gowning and personal protective equipment that will be necessary for employees, and the more energy and filters that will be necessary to remove contaminants.

 

No matter your needs and budget, Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom that works for your application. Get in touch today.

Modular vs Traditional Construction for Cleanrooms

Modular vs Traditional Construction for Cleanrooms

When it comes to building a new cleanroom, the biggest, and possibly first decision you’ll have to make is whether your cleanroom will be modular or traditionally constructed. There are benefits and limitations to each of these options, and it can be difficult to determine the right choice for your cleanroom application. Here’s our take on modular cleanrooms vs traditional construction.

 

Flexibility

For applications requiring flexibility, modular construction is your best bet. Traditional construction can’t be packed up and moved to another location. Nor is it as easy to expand as modular construction where adjustments are minor, such as detaching a few panels and adding more to them. Instead, you have to totally renovate, knocking out walls, etc. Depending on your cleanroom use and classification, you could have a super-flexible Softwall cleanroom, which has impermanent curtain-like walls or a Rigidwall or Hardwall cleanroom, with thicker, more substantial wall panels.

While it might seem like traditional construction is more impervious and more permanent that modular construction, Hardwall and Rigidwall cleanrooms are just as impermeable to contaminants as traditional walls, ceilings, and floors.

 

Cost

Depending on the size, budget, classification, and application of your cleanroom, modular construction may be less expensive than traditional construction. This is especially true of smaller cleanrooms or those that are impermanent. For applications like clean storage, which may require only a small space and adhere to the least stringent cleanroom classifications, a Softwall cleanroom may be the best option, as it typically falls at a lower price point than construction.

 

Installation

While traditional construction can take months from start to finish, modular construction is a much simpler process, as all the components are already manufactured. Instead of having to build walls from raw materials, with modular cleanrooms, the components simply need to be assembled to your specifications. Modular construction can take as little as a few days or weeks to complete, which is crucial to getting your operations up and running as soon as possible.

Additionally, while you’ll always need to hire pros for traditional construction, a modular cleanroom can often be assembled in-plant by your own staff, with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. The manufacturer may even offer installation services at a slight additional cost or as part of a modular cleanroom design package.

 

If you’re designing a cleanroom, get in touch with Angstrom Technology to see how our modular cleanroom designs are the right option for your cleanroom.

Why You Need a Cleanroom Design Company, Not Just a Contractor

Why You Need a Cleanroom Design Company, Not Just a Contractor

When beginning the cleanroom design process, it may seem like the simplest, easiest, most inexpensive route is to design the cleanroom yourself, then hire your general contractor to build it. After all, you’ve worked with your contractor before and trust them. But in reality, cleanrooms are complex, complicated, and delicate environments that require experience and specialized knowledge to design and build—knowledge and experience that cleanroom design companies have that contractors may not.

Cleanrooms have special design features

Cleanrooms are not regular rooms and have special design concerns. They need to be optimized for laminar air flow to control contamination, they need to be made of materials that are low particulate emitters, and they often have special features like air showers and pass thru chambers that must be specially designed to reduce the amount of contamination that enters a cleanroom. A poorly designed or integrated pass-thru chamber or other design feature will defeat your efforts to control your cleanroom environment and increase your energy cost and consumption, which is why you should leave those features to a specialist.

Cleanrooms require special equipment

Not only do cleanrooms have specialized features, they also require special equipment that must be seamlessly integrated with HVAC, filters, and other systems. Your general contractor might not have knowledge of fume hoods, hazardous material storage, or cleanroom HEPA or ULPA filtration systems, which, if those systems are not installed and integrated properly, could result in contamination or hazardous conditions in your cleanroom

Traditional construction isn’t always the best option

If you hire a contractor to build a room or suite of rooms for you, they’re going to build those rooms. But sometimes, you don’t need a room in the traditional sense—four permanent walls. With cleanrooms particularly, your company’s needs can change as you add or remove equipment, change your processes, or expand your operations.

Modular construction allows you to change your cleanroom when need be. Additionally, certain types of cleanrooms, like storage cleanrooms, may not require the space, control, or rigidity of a traditionally constructed cleanroom, and a softwall cleanroom may suffice. Modular construction can also be more cost-effective than traditional construction because it depreciates at a quicker rate.

We’re cleanroom design experts who design and build custom cleanrooms, not just general contractors. Angstrom Technology can design the perfect cleanroom for your application. Contact us today.

 

What Cleanroom Supplies Do You Need?

What Cleanroom Supplies Do You Need?

Designing and building a cleanroom is one thing, but knowing what you need to buy to keep that cleanroom clean and within the environmental controls for your desired cleanroom classification is another. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the supplies you might need for your cleanroom.

The cleanroom supplies that you need will generally depend on your classification. An ISO Class 1 cleanroom will have the strictest cleanliness and gowning procedures, because that is the most stringent classification, whereas an ISO Class 8 cleanroom may require fewer garments with a more infrequent replacement schedule.

Additionally, your industry and the specific tasks and processes performed in your cleanroom will affect the supplies you need. If your process includes the use of hazardous materials, you’ll need more PPE than a cleanroom of the same ISO or Federal Standard 209E classification. Check out our guide to cleanroom classifications for more information on cleanroom classifications and standards here.

General list of cleanroom garments:

  • Hoods
  • Hair Covers
  • Coveralls
  • Intersuits
  • Boots or Shoe Covers
  • Facial Covers
  • Gloves
  • Frocks

General list of cleanroom cleaning supplies:

  • Brushes & Brooms
  • Buckets
  • Mops & Mop Handles
  • Scrub Pads
  • Sponges
  • Squeegees
  • Wringers
  • Disinfectants
  • Detergents
  • Solvents

If you’re designing a cleanroom, get in touch with Angstrom Technology to see how our modular cleanroom designs can work for your application.