Most Common Cleanroom Design Problems

Most Common Cleanroom Design Problems

Cleanrooms present a lot of unique challenges in terms of design because they have very specific requirements they have to meet. If you’re meeting your desired ISO standard, you might feel like your design is good enough, but the truth is that there are a lot of common issues that companies face when designing cleanrooms. Here are some of the most common cleanroom design problems we see:

Inefficient placement

One of the biggest issues with cleanroom design is inefficiency. If your design doesn’t support your processes, it’s going to cause problems. Consider the various tasks and processes that go on in your cleanroom. Is someone always getting in someone else’s way because of where there workstations or supplies are located? Are there too many processes sharing one sink, causing a bottleneck? Are there drawers or cabinets that you can’t fully open because they’re too close to a wall or door? All of those problems can cause major inefficiency and can be avoided with good design.

Maze-like walkways

The whole point of a maze is inefficiency, it takes a long time to get through a relatively short distance because you have to twist and turn and wind around obstacles. But your cleanroom shouldn’t be a labyrinth. If employees have to walk through narrow paths, wind around oddly placed workstations, or bump into each other constantly to get to the door, their workstations, the sink, or the fire extinguisher, you will have massive safety problems on your hands, not to mention a lot of wasted time and motion on the part of the cleanroom techs.

Poor ventilation

Good ventilation is necessary for any space to be comfortable, but it’s especially crucial in a cleanroom, where you’re trying to maintain a controlled environment with limited particles and contaminants. Additionally, in cleanrooms where hazardous materials are used, good ventilation is a necessary safety concern to ensure the well-being of workers.

Unable to maintain temperature

No one wants to work in a room that’s too hot and stuffy or freezing cold, so for the same of employees comfort and morale, a cleanroom that is a comfortable temperature matters. It’s vital too that your cleanroom can maintain its desired temperature to protect the products, materials, and chemicals stored in it, as they can be sensitive to temperature, and to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria that can compromise the cleanroom environment. This could be a problem with your HVAC, thermostat, or insulation, so be sure to select those things wisely and perform regular maintenance checks.

Good design is the first step to having a well-functioning cleanroom. If you recognize some of the issues we mentioned in your current cleanroom, it’s probably time for a redesign. There are a few things you can do in the meantime to work with the layout you have and increase efficiency, such as rearranging movable cleanroom furniture, moving processes that don’t require a controlled environment to a new area, or simply cleaning out any tools, materials, or storage that is no longer necessary.

Having issues with your cleanroom design? Call the experts at Angstrom Technology.

 

Choosing the Right Cleanroom Design and Installation Company

Choosing the Right Cleanroom Design and Installation Company

For facilities requiring a clean environment, the cleanroom itself is a crucial component. As a general contractor or builder, you know that finding the right company to design/build and service, your cleanroom is a critical part of your projects success. How do you choose the right cleanroom design company? Here are some qualities a good cleanroom design company should have:

Good communication—quick response times

Communication is essential in any construction project, and it’s vital for subcontracted work. The cleanroom design company that you chose should give respond quickly with a budgetary quote, and be able to answer any technical questions you may have in the design/build portion of your project. Once the project is underway supply you with weekly project updates, keeping your timeline in check.

Fast lead times and ability to meet deadlines

You don’t have months and months to get this cleanroom constructed—you need it done quickly and efficiently, within your timeframe. You have deadlines that you have to meet, and the cleanroom designer should understand and respect that. Given a reasonable amount of time and all the necessary information to complete the cleanroom project, a good cleanroom design firm should be able to make quick turnaround times and keep the cleanroom, and therefore the rest of your project, on schedule.

Customization capabilities

Good cleanroom designers will work with you to create the right cleanroom for the client, and this may include custom requests. Good designers aren’t inflexible—they won’t just provide a boilerplate, cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all cleanroom, because the needs of each client are unique, based upon cleanroom application and other circumstances. The cleanroom design firm you choose should be willing and able to design custom elements such as casework, cleanroom benches, and tables, to fit the client’s specific needs.

Ability to stay on budget   

Cleanrooms can be an enormous cost for your client, and as such, the budget must be respected. If a cleanroom designer can’t stick to the agreed-upon budget, the project can’t succeed, and problems will arise for all parties, the cleanroom design company, you, and the client. Good cleanroom designers will be able to provide a workable cleanroom design within budget constraints.

Selecting the best company for your cleanroom design and installation project is the first and most essential step in providing your client with the cleanroom their company needs. Finding a cleanroom design company with good communication practices, quick turnaround times, the ability to customize, and budget-consciousness will ensure that your cleanroom design is a success.

If you’re tasked with a cleanroom design project and have questions about designing a new cleanroom, give the experts at Angstrom a call. We install all kinds cleanrooms and have a selection of necessary cleanroom equipment and supplies.

What to Think About When Choosing Cleanroom Furniture

What to Think About When Choosing Cleanroom Furniture

Designing a cleanroom comes with a huge set of unique challenges: controlling the temperature, air quality, static, water purity, etc. What can get overlooked during a cleanroom design is the fixtures and furniture, which are extremely important to the efficiency and ergonomics of your cleanroom space. Here are the questions you should ask when selecting casework and furniture for your cleanroom:

What types of chemicals and materials will be used?

Depending on the substances that you’ll be using in the cleanroom, you may need to ensure that you select work surfaces that are chemical resistant, heat resistant, stain resistant, or non-conductive. This will also inform whether you’ll need fume hoods or chemical or hazardous material storage.

What processes will be performed?

This determines the number and types of workstations you’ll need, as well as their layout. If your cleanroom is used for clean storage of sensitive materials, you’ll probably need cabinetry, shelving, and casework, but if your cleanroom is used for quality control testing, you’ll likely need workstations with storage, sinks, electricity and more.

How often will things change?

If you need flexibility for when processes change, or your cleanroom houses multiple different operations. You may need to consider the flexibility and changeability of the furniture you choose. This can be accomplished with adjustable height tables, workstations or casework on wheels, or adjustable cabinetry that allows you to reconfigure the drawer and cabinet locations.

How many chairs do you actually need?

This seems trivial, but can be a major issue for efficiency. Too many chairs mean there’s always one in the way, and that space is wasted. Too few seats leave your employees playing musical chairs all day. Consider ergonomics with chairs and ensure they are the right height and comfort level for their application. Stools may be the most appropriate choice for cleanrooms where technicians sit for short periods of time at counters; however, if your employees are sitting at workstations for long periods of time for certain operations, they’ll need more comfortable seating.

How much storage is needed?

No matter your cleanroom application, you’ll need storage of some kind, whether for materials, packaging, or the tools and equipment used in your processes. Ensuring that you have the right kind of storage for these items is also important. While shelving may work for bulk storage of boxed items, you’ll need cabinets for chemical storage or racks and drawers for tools.

How much space do I have?

If you’re working with limited space, it’s critical that you maximize that space. Too much furniture can impede movement and therefore,  the efficiency of your cleanroom operations. Consider how spaces can be made flexible for multiple operations or how the furniture can be best laid out for process flow, as well as the movement of people within that space.

 

When designing or upgrading a cleanroom, don’t forget the furniture. Using your cleanroom space inefficiently or having the wrong furniture or materials, or simply not having enough storage or seats can make a cleanroom into a chaotic mess. Ask yourself these questions when selecting cleanroom furniture to ensure a well-designed cleanroom for your application.

 

If you’re designing a new cleanroom, make sure you have the right space to meet your needs. Angstrom Technology can design, construct and install the perfect cleanroom

New Trends in Cleanroom Design

New Trends in Cleanroom Design

Now that the holidays are over and the new year has begun, you might finally be getting around to implementing a new cleanroom in your facility. If you’re designing a new cleanroom or updating your current one, here are the latest trends in cleanroom design that you should consider as you design your cleanroom space.

 

Sustainability

Sustainability is an important consideration for all of us, including corporations. Because cleanrooms use so much energy to maintain the desired environmental conditions, engaging in sustainable practices when possible is crucial. Not only do these sustainability efforts support the natural environment, they are also energy efficient, which can help you save on energy costs. Using energy efficient equipment and energy efficient LED lighting can aid in sustainability efforts, as can a modular cleanroom. Modular cleanrooms can be altered and right-sized as the needs of your company change, while reusing the modular components, and require less material than traditional construction. Additionally, modular cleanrooms can make use of the currently existing HVAC and ventilation systems in your space, rather than requiring separate systems.

 

Transparency

Now, more than ever, we’re aware of the value of transparency from leaders and companies. When it comes to your cleanroom, the primary concern will always be the integrity of the controlled environment within, and it may also be important to maintain privacy for the safety of intellectual property, but cleanrooms can benefit from some openness and visibility. Using transparent partitions in the place of opaque walls can provide some benefits, the biggest of which being that lab processes can be observed, whether by compliance regulators or supervisors within your organization, without disturbing cleanroom processes or the environment within.

 

Flexibility

Many organizations are resisting the use of specific dedicated spaces for certain tasks or operations, instead opting for more shared spaces and flexibility in order to reduce costs and under-utilized space. This means incorporating fixtures and furniture, such as lab benches and workstations, into your cleanroom that can accommodate a variety of tasks or processes, as well as modular cleanrooms that can be easily expanded, contracted, or reconfigured to maximize use of space.

 

As you’re working on your cleanroom design or redesign, consider the needs of your company and your cleanroom, as well as how the cleanroom can continue to meet those needs over time, with organizational and regulatory changes. Incorporating sustainability, transparency, and flexibility into your cleanroom design can make your cleanroom efficient and future-proof, not matter the changes to come.

Looking to design a new cleanroom? Get in touch with the cleanroom experts at Angstrom Technology.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleanroom Classifications

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleanroom Classifications

Cleanroom classification is one of the most confusing – yet important – parts of designing and building your cleanroom. If you’re installing a cleanroom for the first time, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. Here are some answers to the most common cleanroom classification questions we receive.

 

1. What classification do I need?

It depends on your industry. The requirements will vary depending upon what size particles need to be filtered, the sources of contamination present, and recommended air change rate. If your industry is government regulated, you can check applicable regulation to see what classification is required. If there is no government-mandated or industry default classification, you’ll need to determine the appropriate classification, based on your application.

 

2. How are cleanrooms classified?

There are two different classification scales that are generally used, the U.S. General Service Administration standards (FS209E) and International Standards Organization (ISO) classifications. The classes are determined by the maximum acceptable numbers of particles (by size) in the air per cubic meter. See Cleanroom Classifications & Standards here.

 

3. How often do I need to test my cleanroom to see if it’s meeting classification requirements?

ISO requires that air pressure difference and air flow be tested every 12 months for all classifications. Particle count tests must be performed every 12 months ISO Class 6 and above, every six months for ISO Class 5 and below. There are also tests recommended for all classes, every 24 months: installed filter leakage, containment filter leakage, recovery, and airflow visualization. These tests are regulated by ISO document 14644-2 Cleanroom Testing and Compliance.

 

4. How often do I need to have my cleanroom inspected?

This depends on your classification. The more stringent classifications will require more regular inspection. Inspection may coincide with compliance testing, which, depending upon the cleanroom classification may occur every six or 12 months.

 

5. How does cleanroom classification affect my budget?

Essentially, the more stringent the classification, the greater the cost. Strict classifications will require more air, energy, advanced technology, and equipment. See How Does Cleanroom Classification Affect Your Cleanroom Budget? for a more detailed breakdown of the costs.

 

If you have more questions about your cleanroom classifications, check out our post What You Need to Know About Cleanroom Classifications, and make sure to give Angstrom a call! We’d love to help.

 

Benefits of Modular Cleanrooms

Benefits of Modular Cleanrooms

If you have a cleanroom, are installing a cleanroom, or are considering whether your company needs a cleanroom, you already know why cleanrooms are important and necessary for your operations. You may not have considered, however, the type of cleanroom: a traditionally constructed space or a modular cleanroom. Modular cleanrooms have numerous benefits when compared to traditional construction, here are just a few:

 

Modular cleanrooms are free-standing

A free-standing cleanroom can be placed nearly anywhere, without extensive construction or renovation (and the costs and disruption those processes entail). If you have a free-standing modular cleanroom, you’re able to place it in the optimum location–whether that is the middle of a large open production floor or tucked back in a corner. You don’t need to build walls or change existing ones. Additionally, electricity and plumbing are already engineered into the cleanroom as part of the modular design.

 

Modular cleanrooms are quickly built

Building something from a kit, with the building materials included and the design already completed is always a simpler, easier, and quicker process than starting from scratch. Installing a modular cleanroom streamlines the building process–the design is complete, the materials selected and included, and construction simple and straightforward.

Just as modular cleanrooms are easy to assemble, they can also be easily disassembled, when compared to permanent construction. If you decide to move your cleanroom’s location within your facility or move it to a new facility, it can be quickly taken down and rebuilt in the new space.

 

Modular cleanrooms are easily modified or expanded

Should your company’s cleanroom needs ever change, modifying a modular cleanroom is much easier than renovating or remodeling a traditionally constructed space. Modular cleanroom walls are easily moved to accommodate a new cleanroom layout, and they can be expanded by adding additional wall pieces. You don’t need to start fresh with all new materials every time your cleanroom needs change.

A modular cleanroom can be a benefit for your company when you consider their flexibility, portability, and ease of installation and modification. Modular cleanrooms allow you to customize your cleanroom space to the ever-changing and evolving needs and capabilities of your company, and they are an excellent cleanroom solution that can save time and money.

 

Angstrom is a leader of the modular cleanroom industry. Whatever the size and classification of your project, we can design a cleanroom that fits your specifications. Contact us for more information.