Designing a Cleanroom on a Budget

Designing a Cleanroom on a Budget

Designing a cleanroom is already a challenge. Add onto that the challenge of limited funds, and your cleanroom design project may seem almost impossible. But even with budget constraints or limitations, you can still design an efficient and effective cleanroom for your application. Here’s everything you need to know about designing a cleanroom on a budget:

 

How to Determine Your Cleanroom Design Budget

Before you can even begin designing, you need to determine your cleanroom design budget. This blog post breaks down how to do that and what factors you need to consider when making that budget, including cleanroom classification, construction type, and more.

 

Hidden Cost Benefits to Modular Construction

Anyone who’s pinching pennies on their cleanroom design should look into the possibility of a modular cleanroom. This post outlines the cost benefits to modular construction, from lower sticker price to tax benefits from quicker depreciation, that you may not have considered when writing your initial cleanroom design budget.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Cleanroom Design

This post has all the information you’ll need to begin your cleanroom design project, from understanding ISO classifications to that all-important consideration: budget.

 

Cutting Cleanroom Costs

A tight budget doesn’t just affect your cleanroom design project, it can affect the day-to-day operations of your cleanroom as well. And with expensive, state-of-the-art equipment, constant purification and filtration of the air, temperature and humidity controls, and necessary personal protective equipment and cleanroom apparel, operating a cleanroom isn’t cheap. This post outlines a few of the ways you can reduce cleanroom costs during the operation and design phases.

 

How Does Cleanroom Classification Affect Your Cleanroom Budget?

Your required cleanroom classification has a huge effect on the budget for your cleanroom, both in terms of design and operation of the cleanroom. For many reasons, the more stringent your classification, the more you’ll need to allocate to your cleanroom budget. This post outlines why that is and what it means for your cleanroom and budget.

 

Designing a cleanroom on a tight budget? A modular cleanroom may be the right solution! Contact Angstrom Technology to discuss how our cleanroom offerings can work for you.

Considerations for Open Cleanroom Design

Considerations for Open Cleanroom Design

Open concept offices are the new thing in corporate design, and the idea of the open workspace is expanding into cleanrooms and laboratories as well. There are many benefits to open concept workspaces, like increased transparency and cooperation, but also some downsides, like the noise level. Besides these factors, there are additional considerations for open cleanroom design, due to the nature of the processes and requirements of cleanrooms. If you’re interested in open cleanroom design, here’s what you should consider.

 

Benefits of Open Cleanroom Design

 

Transparency and Collaboration

In an open laboratory workspace, everyone can see what everyone else is doing. This can mean that chemists and product engineers are working together in the same space. These different groups can interact with each other in an open setting, offering each other ideas and solutions based on their unique insight and expertise. You’ll also get transparency across teams, so that everyone is aware of what’s going on and what other teams are working on or exploring.

Flexibility

An open floor plan allows for the layout of your cleanroom to change as your organization’s needs and applications change. New equipment can be added to accommodate a new process, additional workspaces can be added for new staff, and furniture and equipment can be rearranged to best serve the needs of the cleanroom at the time.

Cost Savings

Open concept cleanrooms can save money in three major ways: they can save space in your facilities, freeing it up for other needs; they allow teams to share equipment, resources, and support staff because they are co-located; and have lower construction costs than creating smaller, application-specific cleanroom spaces.

 

Disadvantages of Open Cleanroom Design

 

Ventilation and Filtration Challenges

With the larger space that open cleanrooms present, getting ventilation and filtration right so that the space is adequately ventilated and meets particulate contamination standards can be difficult. 

Loud Equipment

Noisy equipment can create a lot of noise pollution in an open cleanroom, and that noise may be disruptive to sensitive processes as well as disruptive to personnel.

Sensitive Work and Processes

Some processes and tasks are extremely sensitive or are at great risk for factors like cross-contamination. These processes need dedicated space, and likely have more stringent cleanroom standards and procedures that other cleanroom applications.

 

Solutions for Open Cleanroom Design

One way to solve some of the challenges of an open cleanroom is modular design. The flexibility of modular cleanrooms allow for changes to the layout of the space as needed. For applications that need dedicated space because of the delicate nature of the processes, a modular design allows you to create that necessary space within the open cleanroom. Soundproof modular rooms for noisy equipment can solve the noise issue in the otherwise open space.

 

Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom to meet all your requirements and design considerations. Speak with one of our design engineers to get started.

How to Control Static in Your Cleanroom

How to Control Static in Your Cleanroom

Many applications require limited static:  electronics manufacturing, air traffic control, chemical labs, and semiconductor are just a few examples. If your cleanroom application involves sensitive, specialized electronics, hazardous chemicals, or other delicate equipment or processes that may be sensitive to static, you’re going to want to ensure that your cleanroom environment controls static. Here are things to consider when designing your cleanroom when you want to control static.

 

Anti-static flooring

There are several flooring options for static control. They work by grounding the static charge that naturally builds up in any environment, moving it through the floor to the ground and preventing it from building up and affecting your processes.

There are two main types of anti-static flooring, dissipative and conductive, and these are both available at varying levels of resistance (measured in ohms). The resistance and type of anti-static flooring you need will depend on the risk of electrostatic discharge as well how critical the effects of electrostatic discharge would be for your application.

 

Anti-static wall panels

Anti-static wall panels are also available for controlling static within a cleanroom. Cleanroom-specific anti-static wall materials are crucial, as cleanroom wall materials will also control particle shedding, preventing particulate contamination in the cleanroom environment. Additionally, wall panels with picking bins or storage for ESD components can protect static-sensitive items.

 

Clothing and gowning procedures 

In addition to the gowning procedures already in place for your cleanroom, if your aim is to control static, you may want to implement new clothing and gowning protocols. These may include anti-static garments or ESD cuffs, low-static shoes, or even equipment such as an air shower before entry to the cleanroom environment.

Even if anti-static garments aren’t necessary, you may want to prohibit wearing static-prone and high-static clothing articles, like those made of fleece and similar fabrics, in the cleanroom environment, or require basic gowning in a lab coat.

 

No matter the environmental factors you need to control, Angstrom Technology can design and install a cleanroom that works for your application.

 

Do You Need A Soundproof Cleanroom?

Do You Need A Soundproof Cleanroom?

A cleanroom can be designed to meet the needs of almost any application with any requirements, from controlling static and humidity to even controlling sound. You probably know whether your application requires control for things like humidity and static, but what about sound. Do you need a soundproof cleanroom? Here are some conditions where you might.

Loud Manufacturing Environments

If your facility is a manufacturing environment that requires protective hearing equipment like earplugs ear, soundproofing your cleanroom is a good idea, especially if hearing protection isn’t necessary for your cleanroom processes. Hearing protection might even hinder those processes, as foam from earplugs and earmuffs can hold and shed particles.

If your cleanroom contains the loud equipment and the rest of your processes outside the cleanroom don’t require hearing protection, it can be worthwhile to soundproof your cleanroom so that hearing protection is only required inside. This can greatly reduce hearing-related injuries to your personnel and reduce the cost of hearing protection for your company.

Loud Equipment Containment

If you have a piece of equipment or pieces of equipment that are particularly loud, rather than creating a soundproof cleanroom, a more efficient solution might be creating a soundproof containment room for that equipment. A modular soundproof room can be created around a loud piece of equipment. The benefit to this is reduced noise and need for ear protection in your facility. Additionally, modular containment rooms can be freestanding or can incorporate your existing structure, so no matter where a piece of equipment is housed, it can be soundproofed.

Sensitive Processes

If your cleanroom operation is a particularly sensitive process, a soundproof cleanroom may also be beneficial. Sound is vibration, and delicate operations may be affected by loud noises and strong vibrations, which a soundproof cleanroom can reduce.

Proprietary Information

If your cleanroom operations are top secret or deal with proprietary information which should not leave the walls of the cleanroom, a soundproof cleanroom can also prevent the unplanned and unwanted spread of information by containing sound within the cleanroom.

 

Angstrom Technology’s modular cleanrooms and in-plantinplant buildings can be customized to control sound, if your application requires. Get in touch with one of our design engineers to discuss your project.

 

Cleanroom Terminology: Pass-Through Chambers

Cleanroom Terminology: Pass-Through Chambers

When designing a new cleanroom or planning an upgrade of an existing cleanroom, it can be easy to get bogged down in the terminology. One such piece of cleanroom terminology is pass-through chamber. Here we explain what a pass-through chamber is and its important features and benefits for cleanroom design.

What is a pass-through chamber?

A cleanroom pass-through chamber has a seemingly self-evident name: it’s a chamber through which you can pass materials. More specifically, it is a chamber that allows you to pass materials into and out of your cleanroom without your employees having to exit and enter the cleanroom and gown. Pass-throughs allow materials to enter the cleanroom while reducing the contamination entering the cleanroom. 

Pass-through chambers come in many different sizes and can incorporate many different materials, depending on the needs of your cleanroom. Heavy duty sealing locks prevent contamination from passing through the pass-through chamber when it isn’t being used, and double door designs can prevent cross-contamination issues. There are also stainless steel corrosion-resistant designs, fire safe designs, and chemical resistant chamber designs, along with designs that can incorporate HEPA-filtered air blowers. 

What are the benefits of pass-through chambers?

Pass-through chambers, since they allow materials to enter and leave the cleanroom without requiring employees to gown up and enter and exit the cleanroom, have obvious benefits for maintaining a high level of contamination control in the cleanroom environment. Additionally, pass-through chambers increase productivity because they allow employees to work more efficiently—no need to go through the time-consuming gowning and air-showering process every time an item is needed in the cleanroom. 

A pass-through chamber also reduces the number of employees who need to be in the cleanroom environment, cutting down on the potential for contaminants entering the controlled environment. It also means that you’ll need less costly gowns and other PPE on hand. 

What kinds of cleanrooms need pass-through chambers?

Any cleanroom that requires the transfer of materials into and out of the cleanroom on a regular or frequent basis could benefit from a pass-through chamber in their cleanroom design. Pass-through chambers are a feature that can be easily integrated into a new cleanroom design or installed into an existing cleanroom. Research facilities dealing with new and volatile substances, medical cleanrooms dealing with dangerous and contagious substances, pharmaceutical cleanrooms requiring a high level of sterility, and electronic and technology cleanrooms often incorporate pass-throughs in their cleanroom designs to manage contamination and keep productivity high. 

Whether you need pass thru chambers, air showers, or any other specialized cleanroom features, Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom that incorporates those features.

Sustainable Design for Cleanrooms

Sustainable Design for Cleanrooms

Sustainability is more important than ever, especially when it comes to cleanrooms, which require a lot of energy. If you’re looking to design a cleanroom, sustainability should be one of your top priorities. The most obvious reason is that we all share a responsibility to use our limited resources efficiently and sparingly, but in addition to that, using sustainable practices can save you money on your energy costs and can be important to your customers and shareholders. Here are a few things to consider when designing a cleanroom with sustainability in mind.

Water Use

Pretty much every cleanroom is going to use water, so conserving water is a necessary factor in sustainable cleanroom practices. This means determining how water is used in your cleanroom, and how much is used, as well as reducing, recycling, and reusing water if possible. Some ways to reduce water use are through low-flow sinks and low flush toilets. Some cleanrooms and labs even incorporate systems that collect rainwater or reuse and filter gray water from sinks, which can definitely save water and save money on your water bill.

Fume Hoods

Fume hoods use a lot of energy, so automatic fume hood options are essential to saving energy. Select fume hoods with automatic shut-off or smart controls that ensure the sash is closed when the fume hood isn’t being used. Ductless fume hoods are also a more sustainable and energy efficient option and reduce the pull on your HVAC system.

HVAC Systems

One way to make your HVAC system more sustainable is to simply have one that is the right size. Sometimes, companies install HVAC systems that are bigger than needed in case of extreme or emergency situations or heavy overloads. But these extreme situations happen rarely, if ever. So, if your system is more powerful than your application requires, you’re spending extra money for all that extra power and energy that you’re using that you don’t really need.

Chilled Beams

If you really want to incorporate sustainable practices, consider using chilled beams instead of a forced air heating and cooling system. Though their initial cost is higher than traditional systems, the energy (and cost) savings, in the long run, can be immense. Rather than requiring reheat or fan energy to cool the air, they rely on a simple scientific principle: warm air rises. So, when warm air rises, it hits the chilled beams, is cooled and circulates back down to the floor.

 

Looking to design a cleanroom sustainably? Contact Angstrom Technology to speak with a cleanroom design engineer about your project.

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