Looking clean doesn’t mean that someone is cleanThe biggest source of cleanroom contamination is, of course, going to be the people working in it. While putting on a gown is a good first step, the process of changing clothes is going to disturb particles that have been brought into the clean room and you can’t expect the air filters to immediately catch all of it. In all likelihood, these contaminants are going to shake off of the clothes, spend a bit of time airborne, and something is going to end up on that cleanroom gown. This is where an air shower is the solution that you need.
So what exactly is an air shower?An air shower is an enclosed air recirculation system that uses high velocity jets of air in order to ensure that after an employee has put on their cleanroom clothing that they are further decontaminated before entering a production cleanroom. The jets of air catch particles that would have normally been missed and while an air shower costs you in the beginning it can save you money in the long run (which we will detail further later in this article).
How do they work?Think of it as rather like an airlock in a science fiction movie. An employee suits up, enters into the cleanroom air shower and then the doors magnetically seal. This is followed by a period of 4 to 8 seconds where this person is then inundated with filtered air as they raise and lower their arms in order to maximize the cleaning efficiency. An assortment of slits or nozzles within the air shower work their magic and then take a few seconds to wind down, at which point the employee exits through a different egress point leading straight into the clean room proper. The filtration within these units is HEPA grade, meaning that they are intended to remove 99.97% (.3 microns) worth of contaminants. This should ensure that they are coming into your clean room CLEAN.
What are the benefits of this process?The benefits of this process are exceptional. By ensuring that a second step beyond simply changing clothes is observed you achieve the following:
- Decrease cleanroom maintenance – While it may not seem much until you give it a little thought, contaminants are going to build up over time, even with the best of filtration systems. By introducing an air shower into the process you can dramatically decrease that process of buildup, leading to less maintenance being required overall. Air showers help to keep the cleanroom as pristine as possible.
- Reduce energy consumption – With less contaminants being introduced into your cleanroom, your filters are not going to be having to work as hard. This leads to savings and every penny counts. Air showers help to ensure that you are not wasting money.
- Increase the lifespan of your filters – Without an air shower those air filters are working hard and aside from the energy considerations we mentioned before, HEPA filters do get buildup during the process of trapping contaminants. Air showers can increase their lifespan and whether you are running a large or small array of HEPA filters you want them to last as long as possible.
- Improve overall production – Your products need to be as contaminant free as possible, during the fabricating, testing, and packaging process. By utilizing an air shower and dramatically reducing the contaminants then you are going to have an improvement in your product yield as less of it will be marked as contaminated.
Terra Universal Cleanroom Air ShowersClick this link to view Terra Universal Air Showers Here is a great example of an efficient air shower. Per Terra, the HEPA filter in this unit is rated at a staggering 99.99% efficiency. LED lighting within the unit makes sure that it is well lit at a fraction of the
“The HEPA filter in this unit is rated at a staggering 99.99% efficiency”cost of other lighting and once entered the unit beings the shower process through the medium of a motion sensor. The magnetic interlock system ensures that upon entry the subject will be not be leaving until the decontamination process has been completed, except in the case of a power outage where the entry door will automatically disengage and allow the exit of the air shower. There is also an emergency exit button that may be pressed at any time to terminate the shower process should an exit be required. Shower time within these units may be customized by the means of the control panel and the Photohelic gauge within these units detects when HEPA filtration is becoming clogged and inefficient, creating an alert that the filter needs to be changed. All an all, it’s quite efficient.
What is the Role of a Softwall Cleanroom in Maintaining Clean Air?
A complete softwall cleanroom guide outlines the vital role of a softwall cleanroom in maintaining clean air. These controlled environments create a barrier between the external surroundings and sensitive work areas, effectively preventing contaminants from entering. The soft, flexible walls of these cleanrooms enable easy installation, customization, and partitioning, providing a controlled environment for various industries, such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, and research labs. With the implementation of proper filtration and airflow systems, softwall cleanrooms ensure a contaminant-free working space for critical processes.