One of the most important elements of a cleanroom environment is the flow and control of air. This is crucial to retain filter efficiency as well as keep humidity at a desired level. There are a few kinds of fan filter systems available for cleanrooms. Controlled environments that don’t have closed-loop systems can create challenges for cleanroom workers that drive costs and waste energy.
Many laminar flow stations use something like an AC Drive Manual Control with a flow monitor and an alarm that goes off when the air is not at an acceptable level. Cleanroom workers manually handle the fan speed in a couple of ways. If the system has a particle counter so that workers can monitor contaminate levels, they will manually adjust the fan speed throughout a shift as levels change. If workers over or under-adjust the fan, they can be fidgeting with it several times throughout a shift. This method takes a toll on productivity and is not energy-efficient.
If cleanroom workers can’t monitor particle counts, many will keep the fan filter units running on high day and night. This also is a drain on energy and can cause filters to become blocked.
What a closed-loop system does is both measure the environmental levels and control/adjust the fan speed accordingly. Workers can set the sensors to the levels that are required for their particular cleanroom. As the system detects changes in the levels, it automatically adjusts the fan speed. These systems:
• Ensure that the cleanroom airflow and particle count is always within required parameters, even when no one is around
• Uses only the amount of energy needed at any given time, reducing costs and energy consumption
• Improves productivity – no one needs to monitor the system or manually adjust the fan
• Prolongs the life of the filter
Additionally, some systems are also able to post reminders for validation scheduling, control lighting, and differentiate between day and night controls.
In the past, closed-loop systems were expensive and complicated to implement. Now, however, systems are available with a variety of features; choosing one without a lot of extras will bring costs down. Additionally, many are made so that setup is easy. In the long run, spared energy and productivity ensure a reasonable return on investment. Talk to a cleanroom expert like Gerbig Engineering Company to decide whether a closed-loop system is right for you.