When first starting the cleanroom design process, a lot of people are confused or intimidated by the new vocabulary, which can be complicated. Suddenly you have to understand classifications and all sorts of design features and figure out which of these are right for your application. Here’s a breakdown of one of the common terms you’ll hear in cleanroom design: airlocks.
What are airlocks?
An airlock is a system of two doors that are electronically interlocked so that both cannot be open at the same time. This can prevent contamination and prevent particles from outside the cleanroom from entering the cleanroom when personnel enter or exit the cleanroom. An airlock system will also help maintain the controlled temperature of a cleanroom space. Airlocks can also be used as security features to prevent unauthorized access to a space.
What kinds of airlocks are there?
There are secure and non-secure airlocks. In a secure airlock system, all doors remain locked until a request to enter is granted. This generally occurs through some kind of request to enter device, like a button or keypad. A non-secure airlock means that the doors remain unlocked until the first door is opened; then, the other doors lock.
You also have the option of making your airlocks supervised or unsupervised. For high-security areas, you may choose to have a supervised airlock, where personnel must press a request to access button and that request must be approved via a CCTV or viewing panel verification system. An unsupervised cleanroom could control access through a biometric reader or keypad to gain access. Such systems are useful where only authorized personnel may enter the cleanroom environment.
Depending on the classification and application of your cleanroom, you might want additional security features in place on your airlock. Some of these include breach alarms, which alert you to when the airlock has been breached and contamination may have occurred, alarms for when a door has been open for too long, and door status indicators. These features can ensure that airlocks serve their purpose and limit outside contamination entering the controlled environment.
If your cleanroom requires an airlock, Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom that will fit the bill. Talk to one of our design engineers today.