Cleanrooms have been becoming more and more common for many years. What until recently seemed to be the domain only of large pharmaceutical or electronic corporations is now becoming an everyday standard even in medium and small manufacturing companies.
More and more industries require very high class air purity. It is often due to High Technology production, high quality standards or the sophistication of the products manufactured. These reasons are characteristic for technical industries – such as the previously mentioned electronic production and for the cosmetics industry. Cleanrooms are also of key importance wherever the highest standards of hygiene must be maintained – such as pharmaceutical production, laboratory operations and, to a growing extent, the food and related industries.
Cleanrooms are isolated spaces where, thanks to the use of appropriate filtration and ventilation systems and procedures of use, certain parameters of air purity are maintained.
These factors are causing a growing market demand for the construction of cleanrooms. Conventionally, they are created in zones specially designed and built for this purpose. Often they cover entire production halls, reaching hundreds of square meters.
It should be noted that constructions of this type involve the whole process of building a room or its full adaptation – and thus – construction projects, permits and the actual construction.
In addition – larger clean rooms require the inclusion and use of specialized air systems, allowing to achieve adequate air flow and filtration efficiency.
All this makes the construction of a cleanroom a very serious investment and, for obvious reasons, usually achievable for large companies and corporations. For these reasons, the so-called cleanboxes are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to this type of construction. These are modular, mobile systems allowing to create a clean zone on the area of from several to tens of square meters.
The use of such smaller solutions requires the user to analyze their production process and determine the stages – the ranges of the process, when the use of controlled conditions is actually necessary. An example from the electronics production industry can be the stage of touch screen assembly. Based on these assumptions, there is no need to build a conventional cleanroom with an area of 100, 200 or 1000 m2 – and a much smaller cleanbox is enough – a mobile room that can be placed anywhere in the production zone, which will have e.g. dimensions of 2x2m or 2.5×2.5m or 3x3m or 5x3m.
The obvious advantage of this type of solutions are financial issues. Smaller rooms mean lower maintenance costs, associated with specialized cleaning. There are also no costs associated with the maintenance of the air handling unit. In cleanboxes – as much smaller rooms – there are usually filter fans installed, which even in the case of continuous operation do not generate large electricity costs.
The advantage of a cleanbox is also its mobility. It is a lightweight construction that can be adapted to other work and moved to a different location in case of a change of production. If the cleanbox proves to be too small as the company grows, it can be extended without major financial costs. In the case of conventional cleanrooms – for example, when the scope of production is increased – extensions involve demolition of walls, construction projects, building permits; and of course this is a major financial, time and labour investment. In the case of cleanrooms, on the other hand, these are much smaller financial outlays, the process is not so time-consuming and does not require construction projects. A room of this type can also be enlarged without losing the class of cleanliness – by adding another cleanbox module the appropriate number of filter fans is also added.
Air purity is commonly expressed on the basis of a nine-stage scale resulting from the ISO 14644-1 standard defining the size and maximum allowable number of particles – pollutants – per cubic meter of air. This is a descending scale where ISO 9 is the least restrictive standard and ISO 1 is the most restrictive and thus the most difficult to obtain.
A good project manager is able to calculate with great accuracy the necessary number of air changes per hour and on this basis, knowing the customer’s expectations about the cleanliness class, select the appropriate number of filter fans.
Cleanboxes allow to obtain cleanliness class up to ISO 6, although in practice classes 8 and 7 are most commonly used – which is sufficient for most applications. A laminar chamber can also be placed in the cleanbox space, where even higher ISO classes can be achieved. In this setting, the air is filtered twice – creating zones of progressive levels of air purity.
It should be noted that a clean room alone – whether it is a cleanroom or a cleanbox – does not provide cleanliness inside. Maintaining the class of cleanliness adopted for such a room is tied to the implementation of procedures that strictly define how the work in the room should look like, how employees should behave in this room, and also how the cleaning of such rooms should look like.
The key here is the selection of an appropriate project manager and subsequent partner during the implementation and maintenance of clean room. The mission of RENEX Group is to provide comprehensive support to its partners. As part of its CLEANROOM brand, it designs and delivers clean rooms – both in the form of cleanrooms and cleanboxes.
The project involves the provision of appropriate training for users, support in the creation of instructions on how to behave and work in cleanrooms. Within this framework, RENEX specialists also perform purity measurements, assembly and cleaning services, and provide equipment made of materials that do not generate particles. The group is also a manufacturer of polyurethane antistatic clothing designed for cleanrooms.
All of this makes the offer provided comprehensive – covering the scope from design, through manufacturing and equipment, to subsequent service. To sum up – cleanboxes are an alternative to conventional cleanrooms, allowing to achieve similar results and quality with less money. They are easily expandable and mobile. If you are interested, please contact RENEX Technical and Commercial Advisors.