Automotive Cleanroom Design Tips: Cleanroom Doors and Pass-Throughs

Automotive Cleanroom Design Tips: Cleanroom Doors and Pass-Throughs

Your cleanroom doors are the most vulnerable part of the cleanroom. As the most likely place for particles and contamination to enter your controlled cleanroom environment, it’s important to choose cleanroom doors that are secure, reliable, and contaminant-free. There are many factors to consider when choosing cleanroom doors for your facility. The first consideration you’ll need to make is the type of cleanroom doors that will best serve your automotive cleanroom’s needs.


Types of Cleanroom Doors

Cleanroom doors typically come in two main varieties: swinging, sliding, and high-speed roll-up doors. Let’s take a look at the difference between them and the advantages they can offer your automotive cleanroom application.


Swinging Cleanroom Doors

Swinging cleanroom doors are attached to hinges on one side of the cleanroom door frame. They swing out of the cleanroom, or in, or both. These doors are designed to close flush with the rest of the wall panel with an airtight seal. They can be installed at different heights and widths as your application demands.

A disadvantage of swinging cleanroom doors is they take up space in your cleanroom, as there needs to be room for the door to swing. Also, the movement of the door can sometimes create turbulent air within the cleanroom. In some applications this could disrupt the airflow pattern and spell trouble for contamination-sensitive processes.


Sliding Cleanroom Doors

Sliding doors are attached on tracks at the top and bottom of the threshold. The tracks can be built seamlessly into the floor and ceiling panels so no particles can get inside. A major advantage of sliding cleanroom doors is that they don’t take up as much space as swinging doors. They slide into wall panels or fit along the wall with a slim profile, saving valuable floor space for your operations.

Sliding doors can also be programmed to open and close automatically, which improves efficiency in high traffic areas. The automatic option saves your employees from having to touch handles to operate the door, which works well in applications where employees need to carry materials or move between rooms hands-free. Be aware that sliding cleanroom doors usually require electronic access to open and close. If there’s a power failure, you’ll need to have a back up system in place to operate the door.


High-Speed Roll-Up Doors

High-speed roll-up doors are an increasingly popular option for cleanrooms in many industries. When in operation, the fabric “curtain” rolls up and is conveniently stored in a space-efficient head assembly at the ceiling, saving valuable wall space compared to other types of cleanroom doors. These doors are able to maintain a high-quality seal so as to retain clean air within the cleanroom and keep out contaminating particles. They can be made using non-porous, non-particle-shedding, and antimicrobial materials to withstand your cleanroom cleaning protocol and protect the controlled environment.

High-speed roll-up cleanroom doors can be built to a custom height and width to accommodate non-standard equipment and products. The new generation of roll-up doors can be operated at speeds as high as 100 in/s, so you can open and close the door with minimum disruption to cleanroom activities.


Cleanroom Pass-Throughs

Cleanroom pass-throughs are cabinets installed in the walls of your automotive cleanroom for the transfer of objects in and out of the cleanroom environment. Pass-throughs have swinging doors attached at both ends where items can be placed or removed.

When properly installed and sealed, cleanroom pass-throughs can improve productivity and safety, and reduce the need for traffic to enter and exit through cleanroom doors which preserves the cleanroom environment. This also lowers your operating costs, as you’re not wasting the energy to filter and regulate the air lost when opening and closing a door, versus the smaller volume of a cleanroom pass-through.


Choosing Cleanroom Doors Pass-Throughs

When designing your automotive cleanroom, it’s important to choose the right cleanroom doors and pass-throughs that will offer the best performance for your application.

Your automotive cleanroom doors and pass-throughs…

  • Must be airtight and flush with the walls. An airtight seal prevents particles from settling in the hinges, around the edges or any part of the door or pass-through itself. This helps to minimize the transference of unfiltered air and reduce the risk of contamination in your automotive cleanroom.
  • Must be easily integrated with your modular wall panels. Should also be able to accommodate the people, equipment, and products moving in and out of the cleanroom, but not too large that you waste extra energy by releasing filtered and regulated air out of the cleanroom unnecessarily.
  • Must be sturdy and impact-resistant. The ideal cleanroom doors will be strong enough to withstand consistent use, yet light enough to be easily operated. They should not be damaged easily if a piece of equipment or employee bumps into them.
  • Must be able to withstand cleaning. Your cleanroom doors should be made of a material that won’t corrode or shed particles into your controlled environment when cleaned.
  • Must be antistatic. Cleanroom doors should not allow the buildup of static electricity which could cause damage to your processes or people, or attract contaminating particles.
  • Must be able to lock. Having cleanroom doors with a secure locking mechanism is necessary to maintain a closed environment to protect interior operations, as well as to secure the room when it’s not in use. The locking mechanism must be able to function if electricity is interrupted — you don’t want to risk not being able to close the room, or worse, trapping personnel inside if there’s an unexpected outage.


At Angstrom Technology, we design our cleanroom doors to protect you and your products, while allowing easy passage in and out of the cleanroom. To learn more about the best door options for your cleanroom, reach out to us.

Understanding Aerospace & Defense Cleanroom Classifications

Understanding Aerospace & Defense Cleanroom Classifications

Aerospace & Defense cleanroom classifications regulate a cleanroom’s degree of cleanliness and are defined by the allowed amount of contamination by particle count and size, as well as the necessary air change rates depending on the cleanroom’s classification level. Aerospace and defense cleanrooms are typically regulated by the classification standards of two major organizations: The International Standards Organization (ISO) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

ISO Cleanroom Classifications for Aerospace and Defense Cleanrooms

The International Standards Organization developed the set of standards by which all cleanroom industries and applications must follow. ISO 14644-1 outlines the requirements for all cleanroom environments.

ISO 14644-1

ISO 14644-1 describes cleanroom cleanliness levels in terms of Classes 1-9, where Class 9 is equivalent to the cleanliness of room air and Class 1 represents the cleanest possible cleanroom environment. As the classification number falls, cleanrooms must comply with stricter standards to reach a cleaner, more controlled environment. The majority of aerospace and defense cleanrooms fall within ISO Classes 7-8, although some sensitive applications, such as the development of microchips or sensors may be governed by stricter classifications.

Understanding ISO Aerospace Cleanroom Classifications

ISO 14644-1 outlines cleanliness standards for aerospace and defense cleanrooms by determining the allowed contamination levels in each ISO class in terms of air particle size and count, air change rates or airflow velocity, and percentage of ceiling coverage for filtration. 

  • Particle Count: Particle count refers to the number of particles of a certain size per cubic meter. Stricter ISO classes allow fewer particles, and also restrict the size of those particles. 
  • Air Change Rate: The air change rate at is how quickly air is removed, filtered, and replaced within your cleanroom. 
  • Ceiling Coverage: Ceiling coverage refers to the percentage of ceiling coverage for HEPA filter/fan units, or FFUs. 

Understanding the way these elements affect the cleanliness of your facility is the key to designing a successful cleanroom.

ASTM Standards for Aerospace & Defense Cleanrooms

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has also developed a set of International Standards, which test the cleanroom’s ability to limit contamination through the restriction of allowed particles in the cleanroom environment. They also deal with the more technical aspects of aerospace and defense applications, including the cleanroom’s ability to control mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrical properties within the controlled environment.

Aerospace cleanrooms must comply with ASTM relevant to their application and use of materials. This could include regulation for the handling and disposal of combustible fuels, static control systems, and even processes for parts manufacturing. More extreme standards apply for highly sensitive applications, where airborne particle concentrations must be strictly controlled such as in the development of spacecraft hardware, fine electronics, or optical devices.

Blending Aerospace Cleanroom Classification Standards

Some aerospace and defense cleanrooms must be able to comply with different classifications for the different tasks or projects, or different stages within the same project, such as from manufacturing to assembly to packaging. 

Aerospace and defense cleanrooms need to be able to adapt to the circumstances of your work, and have everything necessary to evolve with project requirements and keep products and workers safe. This includes highly specific control over environmental factors and filtration needs, monitoring equipment to maintain strict particle count and temperature ranges, and proper solutions for supporting or storing equipment to effectively utilize the facility’s space.

Aerospace and Defense Cleanroom Design

Aerospace and defense cleanrooms require active filtration and complete control over temperature and humidity, as well as other environmental factors. The cleanroom design should address the three main areas of concern to reach strict aerospace cleanroom classifications:

  • Particle count: Aerospace cleanroom design should include a special airflow pattern that makes use of filters in the most efficient and effective way possible to trap and remove particles, and replace the air in the room with air that is fresh and contaminant-free.
  • Air change rate: While less stringent aerospace and defense applications may only require an air change rate of 5-48, defense cleanrooms with strict air quality standards may require hundreds of air changes per hour. In these cases, it’s expressed as air velocity, because air is constantly moving as it’s filtered out and replaced.
  • Ceiling coverage: The more stringent your aerospace cleanroom classifications, the higher percentage of ceiling coverage required to filter air properly. Ceiling fan coverage is closely related to air change rate, as more FFUs are necessary to complete more air changes.

Modular Cleanroom Design for Aerospace and Defense Cleanrooms

Modular cleanrooms are ideal for the aerospace and defense industries — particularly applications with changing requirements as they can meet the needs of customized spaces, including those with oversized equipment and products. The two main types of cleanrooms used for aerospace and defense applications are HardWall cleanrooms and RigidWall cleanrooms.

  • HardWall cleanrooms are the most common type of cleanroom used in aerospace and defense applications, as they offer a high level of control over environmental factors, so they can easily reach with the strictest aerospace cleanroom classifications. 
  • RigidWall cleanrooms can also provide a suitable environment for aerospace and defense applications and can reach a variety of aerospace cleanroom classifications. They consist of clear panels that can easily be reconfigured as you need to make changes to the layout of your cleanroom, and offer many customization options.

Aerospace and defense cleanroom design should also include a powerful HVAC system as well as cleanroom lighting that integrates seamlessly with modular panels and facilitates proper airflow velocity. Additional features and cleanroom supplies can be added to customize the cleanroom to specific applications. Some of these additions might include air showers, a fire suppression system, laminar flow systems, and industry-specific equipment and furniture.

Aerospace cleanroom classification requirements can be complicated and difficult to reach without the right cleanroom design. When it comes to aerospace cleanroom design, you can trust Angstrom Technology to design, build, and install the best cleanroom for your unique application and classification. To get started, reach out to our professional design team today.

5 Advantages of Softwall Cleanrooms in the Plastic Industry

5 Advantages of Softwall Cleanrooms in the Plastic Industry

Examples of applications that can use SoftWall cleanrooms and benefits they provide in plastics industry cleanrooms, having project versatility is priceless. Modular SoftWall cleanrooms give you the ability to adapt to changes to create better products more efficiently — to help you reach your business goals and grow your profits. Here are five advantages SoftWall cleanrooms can offer the plastics industry:

#1 SoftWall Cleanrooms are Reconfigurable

In the plastics industry, demand can change quickly whether it’s producing poly bags through extrusion molding or manufacturing medical devices with injection molding machines. Having a SoftWall cleanroom enables your operations to shift into a higher gear quickly and adapt to changes seamlessly. 

SoftWall vinyl curtains allow your cleanroom to be easily expanded, condensed, or reconfigured as your project needs evolve. If you need more equipment or personnel to increase production, you can easily grow the SoftWall cleanroom by adding more panels. Or, if you’re working with a small space, SoftWall cleanrooms are much more compact than other cleanroom types, and can be streamlined to work in virtually any size space.

#2 SoftWall Cleanrooms are Easy to Install

If you need to set up a controlled environment quickly, SoftWall cleanrooms offer the advantage of an easy installation. New SoftWall cleanrooms can be set up in just a few hours. Compared to other cleanroom types that can take days to weeks to be fully installed, SoftWall cleanrooms are ideal for applications that need to get off the ground quickly. 

Despite their quick lead time, SoftWall cleanrooms don’t sacrifice quality. SoftWall cleanrooms are designed to meet your exact specifications. Their modular design and straightforward assembly means they can be put together by your team following the included instructions, or set up efficiently by a professional team of cleanroom experts.

#3 SoftWall Cleanrooms are Easy to Maintain

The simple, minimalist construction of SoftWall cleanrooms not only looks good in any space, but is also easy to maintain — so it always looks new and clean. Each panel consists of a sturdy and attractive aluminum alloy frame with a fresh powder coat enamel.  The curtain can be made of your choice of material — antistatic PVC, conductive PVC, polyethylene, vinyl, and more. The smooth design makes the panels extremely easy to clean and maintain, as there’s nowhere for tricky particles to shed or adhere where they could threaten your project.

SoftWall cleanroom panels can be suspended from a ceiling grid or freestanding in your space. The panels’ lightweight construction means your cleanroom can be easily moved around just about anywhere and reconfigured as you see fit. 

#4 SoftWall Cleanrooms are Customized to Your Application

SoftWall Cleanrooms can meet cleanroom standards ISO 14644-1 Classes 4-8, which means they are capable of reaching some of the most stringent requirements and cleanroom classifications. SoftWall cleanrooms can be outfitted with the essential systems and special features you need to make your project a success. 

From a custom lighting plan to cleanroom furniture and storage systems, SoftWall cleanrooms are designed to work perfectly for your application and industry-specific requirements. They may even be able to be integrated with your existing HVAC system, as long as it’s powerful enough to support the demands of your project.

#5 SoftWall Cleanrooms Provide Ultimate Flexibility

The biggest advantage of SoftWall cleanrooms for the plastics industry is that they give your operations room to grow. Both your space and your budget are given breathing room when you choose SoftWall cleanrooms, as they can meet cleanroom standards easily, and be customized to fit your application, and are also an approachable investment. 

With a SoftWall cleanroom you can start small and expand your operations and budget over time. SoftWall cleanrooms can also be easily stored if you decide to design a new cleanroom down the road. Whether you’re starting out, or just prefer to have the increased flexibility SoftWall cleanrooms provide, this cleanroom type is ideal for plastics industry applications wanting to scale or streamline their operations. 

SoftWall cleanrooms have many advantages for the plastics industry, allowing your cleanroom to expand or condense as your project needs evolve, be reconfigured to meet new requirements and standards, be fully customized to meet your application’s needs and goals.

If you think a SoftWall modular cleanroom would be perfect for your application, get in touch with Angstrom Technology today. We have everything you need to set up a controlled cleanroom environment with SoftWalls. Give us a call or reach out online to get started.

Redesigning Your Aerospace Cleanroom

Redesigning Your Aerospace Cleanroom

A new project means new requirements, new equipment, and maybe even new staff and higher stakes. If you need to redesign your aerospace cleanroom to meet the needs of a new project, you want to make sure to make the necessary changes thoroughly and efficiently so you’ll be ready to start the next endeavor off on the right foot. Let’s go over what you need to know when redesigning your aerospace cleanroom.

Aerospace Cleanroom Redesign Process

Before you start tearing into your cleanroom redesign, it’s important to start the process on paper. This means you need to make a plan for how your new cleanroom will operate, and then lay out the steps to get there. To do this, you’ll start with your cleanroom classification to figure out what’s needed, adjust the space to fit your new requirements, and make sure your systems can support the changes.

Consult Your Cleanroom Classification

Looking at your cleanroom classification, see if your new project requires more control over the environment than it currently has. If your new project is more sensitive to risks of contamination, requires more space to fit larger equipment or products, or more control to protect the safety of your workers, a cleanroom redesign is necessary. 

When consulting your new cleanroom classification, specifically look at the areas of particle count, air changes, and ceiling coverage as it relates to your ISO class number. If you need to meet new classification requirements, these are the main areas you’ll need to address. Keep in mind that if your cleanroom is changing size or layout, your airflow pattern will need to be adjusted accordingly in order to make sure all of the air is being filtered and replaced efficiently in your redesigned cleanroom.

Plan Your Cleanroom Redesign Needs

Once you have a basic roadmap of the changes you need to make to your cleanroom, take a look at your current space. Do you have enough room for your new project materials, products, personnel, and equipment? Does the cleanroom need to be reconfigured for a more efficient layout, or do you need a new cleanroom entirely? These are great questions to answer in the planning stage of your cleanroom redesign, as you don’t want to get halfway through the process to realize your current setup isn’t working. 

When addressing your space requirements, remember that too much space could also be an issue. If your cleanroom is too large for your new project needs, you’ll still be using the same amount of energy to heat, filter, and light the space. Downsizing or condensing your cleanroom can help cut operational costs — impressing your investors — and reducing the space you’ll need to keep clean.

Upgrade Your Cleanroom Systems

To handle increased air changes or filtration demands, your systems may also need to change to reach new requirements. For example, if your cleanroom is increasing its air change rate, you may need to increase the percentage of ceiling coverage by adding more filter/fan units. If your new project will be more sensitive to temperature or humidity changes, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful HVAC system for greater environmental control. 

Keep in mind that, since all the systems within your cleanroom work together, a change to one system will likely mean an adjustment for another. For example, increasing your filter/fan units may take up space that your cleanroom lighting used to occupy, so you’ll need to look for a new lighting solution that works around your filtration system.

Cleanroom redesign is also a good time to check in on your equipment and systems for service and upgrades. Since the cleanroom won’t be in operation for a short time, it’s a good idea to get cleanroom maintenance tasks out of the way during this window.

Customizing Your Aerospace Cleanroom Redesign

Once your cleanroom redesign addresses the essential functions of your new cleanroom, you can begin to customize it with other items. These are the things specific to your new project that will make it a success, which could include:

  • Cleanroom furniture including workstations, tables, and storage solutions
  • Pass through chambers and gowning rooms
  • Extra systems like fire suppression or static control
  • Additional environmental monitoring controls 

Your cleanroom redesign should cover the basic needs of your new project, such as meeting your new cleanroom classification, but also allow you to meet the new demands with a more efficient layout, upgraded systems and additional features. A successful aerospace cleanroom redesign will plan out all the changes first, and implement them efficiently so you can adapt to the changes seamlessly and hit the ground running with your new project.

Need to resize or reconfigure your aerospace cleanroom? Angstrom Technology has you covered. Our professional cleanroom designers can help assess your needs and space requirements to find the ideal layout and air flow pattern for your application. We also can help upgrade your HVAC and filtration systems to match your new cleanroom redesign. Get in touch with us today to get started.

4 Signs Your Automotive Cleanroom Isn’t Working the Way It Should

4 Signs Your Automotive Cleanroom Isn’t Working the Way It Should

It’s always best to address any cleanroom problems as soon as possible — better yet, to prevent them with regular cleanroom maintenance. If your automotive cleanroom isn’t working how it should, you may notice some of these signs: 

#1 Your Cleanroom is Extra Loud

If you hear loud noises, rattling, whining, clanking or just a general noise that can’t be attributed to your normal operations, it could indicate that something isn’t working properly.  Your equipment and systems need regular service to make sure they are functioning efficiently and working toward a cleaner environment. If you aren’t servicing your equipment regularly and making updates when needed, your systems may actually be working against you. If you’re hearing loud noises, it may be time to check your cleanroom HVAC system requirements and upgrade your cleanroom systems.

#2 You See Dust Particles In the Air

If you’re seeing dust particles flying around your automotive cleanroom, this is a clear sign that something’s been missed in your filtration protocols. Depending on your automotive cleanroom’s specific classification requirements for particulate matter, the consequences of poor filtration could range from being disruptive to your operations to being detrimental for project efficiency or employee safety.

Particles in the air indicate that your filters may be old, full, or ineffective, your cleanroom’s airflow pattern isn’t controlling the air flow direction to make use of filters, or your cleanroom HVAC system may not be powerful enough to replace air effectively and uniformly. Excessive stray particles could also result from something in the cleanroom that is shedding particles — whether that’s equipment, cleanroom furniture, or even you. This is a good time to give your cleanroom filtration and garments a close inspection to find the culprit.

#3 You’re Concerned About Product Quality or Test Results 

If your cleanroom isn’t working the way it should, it will likely affect your product quality, productivity and efficiency, and testing results within the cleanroom. If your cleanroom problems make it difficult for you to keep up with your classification standards, you can’t guarantee quality in your operations. With unreliable testing, manufacturing, or packaging, your products could fail and discredit your business. In the automotive industry, product failure could have disastrous consequences.

To avoid this, you need to catch up with cleanroom maintenance tasks and make sure your cleanroom is operating at peak efficiency. You can test your cleanroom’s level of cleanliness using a particle counter. 

How to Test Your Cleanroom Using a Particle Counter:

  • Choose sample locations, based on your cleanroom’s size and layout
  • Determine size and number of particles to test for
  • Measure particle count at each sample location
  • Average the measurements between samples
  • Determine if the measurement reaches your allowed particle levels

#4 You Can’t Remember When You Changed the Cleanroom Filters

If you can’t remember the last time you completed regular cleanroom maintenance tasks like changing the pre-filters in your return air grilles, servicing the HVAC system, or conducting a thorough deep clean of your facility, there’s a good chance your automotive cleanroom isn’t working the way it should.

Protocols for cleanroom cleaning and maintenance are vital to an effective cleanroom — regardless of your classification. Dangers of skipping maintenance tasks. Here are a few common cleanroom maintenance tasks you should be performing regularly:

  • Cleanroom cleaning: daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning tasks
  • Replace pre-filters: 6 times per year
  • Replace HEPA filters: every 3 years, but checked regularly
  • Inspect and service HVAC system: twice a year
  • Inspect and service cleanroom equipment: 6 times a year

The better you stick to a regular cleanroom maintenance schedule, the clearer understanding you’ll have of your cleanroom’s unique maintenance needs. You may find that your pre-filters don’t get as dirty certain times during the year, or find new tasks you can group for a more efficient schedule. Having control over cleanroom maintenance also gives you better control of your operations, reduces the chance of developing cleanroom problems, and ensures you’re always meeting your cleanroom classification standards.

Having trouble with your cleanroom? Call the experts at Angstrom Technology. Our technicians will come to you, diagnose the problem, and help you fix it as soon as possible.