A modular cleanroom construction is typically a freestanding, solid and robust structure that is suitable for use within an
existing cleanroom, laboratory, manufacturing area or warehouse. A modular cleanroom uses off-the-shelf proprietary components
that can be used to build a facility that meets the customer’s exact requirements, such as size, classification, lighting
and hard or soft wall.
The demand for modular cleanrooms is increasing and more processes are benefiting from a cleanroom environment. However, cleanrooms
can be expensive. With the recent years of cutbacks that many industries have felt, organisations have had to rethink their
business strategies and become leaner in the way they manage processes. Modular cleanrooms are part of that leaner way of
thinking. With traditional cleanrooms, retrospective modifications can be difficult and costly so future demands must be accounted
for in the initial specification. Modular solutions are more flexible as expansions and relocations can be accommodated much
more easily. Dramatic design improvements have also led to an increased demand for modular cleanrooms; for instance, the use
solid, clear wall panels have improved perception. They are no longer seen as the temporary, low budget option and now offer
a reliable alternative to traditional cleanrooms.
The benefits and drawbacks
Modular cleanrooms are bespoke in nature. If you think back to the days when you may have played with Lego, you were building
with bricks what, in effect, could have been off the shelf. You could build any shape and size of building, space rocket,
car or whatever your imagination wanted whether large or small. Modular cleanrooms also use off-the-shelf proprietary components
and when combined they create a customised cleanroom. A traditional cleanroom will typically require some form of alteration
to a building, which in turn could involve planning permission (causing time delays and costs) whereas a modular cleanroom
can be built within an existing area and made to fit.
One of the other principal advantages of a modular cleanroom is that it means a first step into a cleanroom environment does
not necessarily have to be a costly exercise. You can buy a modular cleanroom to accommodate immediate needs and then expand
it (as long as you have the space) as contracts grow and production develops. In cases of relocation, modular cleanroom can
also easily be dismantled and then rebuilt and validated in new premises.
Small modular cleanrooms can be built and fully functional within 30 minutes (for example - 1.8 x 1.8 x 2.3m, 1 x fan filter
unit to ISO Class 7) and larger modular cleanroom (for example 14 x 14 x 2.55, 35m x fan filter unit to ISO Class7) take about
three days, which includes CAD drawing sign off, installation and validation.
Modular cleanrooms also offer benefits in airflow as they have a gap all the way around the bottom of the room, which ensures
even airflow right and minimal turbulence. It also means there are no corners or areas where particles can be retained. The
positive airflow prevents airborne particles from re-entering the room through the gap. This simple design element means that
ventilation units are not necessary, which is a potential cost saving.