Allied Cleanrooms Blog

cleanroom modular, so young america

Application: Modular Cleanroom
Location: So Young America, San Dimas, CA

As part of the growing life sciences industry, California-based bioscience firm So Young America, Inc. was experiencing growth of its own. As an FDA-registered, GMP-ready/cGMP manufacturing facility for food, beverages and supplements, the organization looked to build out within its existing warehouse to accommodate its need for cleanroom space. The additions would provide much-needed room for R&D work, an organic chemistry lab and other labs devoted specifically to food production, according to Robert Tsai, President of So Young America. The project also would include additional warehouse storage as well as partitioning within So Young’s front office entryway.

There were three key criteria for the project: budget and timeline requirements as well as very specific standards for the cleanrooms. So Young determined it would seek a modular solution for the project – a decision that reinforces an emerging trend showing a surge in demand for modular hardwall cleanrooms largely due to flexibility in construction and low installation cost.

So Young contacted modular cleanroom experts at Allied Cleanrooms, who specialize in Class 10 to Class 100,000 (ISO 4 to ISO 8) pre-engineered and prefabricated cleanroom solutions. Meeting all key criteria, Allied Cleanrooms provided So Young with modular hardwall options that also offered quality, flexibility, and fast, efficient installation all within budget.

“Our sales rep played an important role,” Tsai added, emphasizing it was the upfront customer support and attention to detail from Allied Cleanrooms that really impressed him. “He was very professional, persistent and offered a lot of good advice.”

Allied Cleanrooms Solutions
So Young and Allied Cleanrooms collaborated on designs that would meet the firm’s numerous needs as well as special installation requirements and strict cleanroom standards.

The project included a 750 sq. ft., class 10,000, ISO 7 standalone cleanroom on the main floor of the warehouse with a second level mezzanine devoted to storage. Allied Cleanrooms also installed a 3,750 sq. ft., Class 100,000, ISO 8 modular cleanroom structure on the second floor of the facility on top of an existing wood mezzanine. Modular walls installed within the structure provided So Young with six separate work spaces that varied in size. The project included all necessary flooring, electrical, HEPA filters and fire suppression and HVAC systems to maintain the ISO requirements for these structures.

The result was two high-quality structures that not only met specific cleanroom standards, but also provided functional work and storage space and an impressive, pristine aesthetic.

Allied Cleanrooms also installed a modular wall and door with keypad lock in the lobby to separate the entry from the hallway leading to the work area. “We wanted that extra wall and door so there wasn’t access to walk directly into the work area,” Tsai explained, noting that the new look is not only functional and flexible but also attractive.

“I am very happy with the work,” he said. He also identified several standout aspects of the project:

Design Expertise. Tsai knew what the cleanroom structures would look like, but no formal designs had been produced. “The design work was already done in my mind,” he said. Tsai shared his vision with Allied Cleanrooms, who in turn provided him with the design and plans that reflected his vision precisely and satisfied all cleanroom requirements.

Superior Customer Support. The support of Allied Cleanrooms account and design managers early in the project was not only impressive but welcomed, Tsai noted, as he was provided with valuable advice and insights that helped bring definition to the So Young project.

Cost Effective, Flexible Solution. Falling within So Young’s budget requirements, the new cleanrooms became a cost-effective, high-quality solution which would also offer flexibility if needed down the road.

Professional, Seamless Installation. The pre-engineered and prefabricated modular panels made installation a seamless process despite special circumstances surrounding the installation. “This was a big job because it was done in an existing building where there were other floors that were already occupied,” he explained. Installation posed no disruption, which impressed him. “It all went very well. It was very professional.”

Cleanrooms have become vital workspaces over the years in numerous industries that require sealed and controlled work environments. The contaminant-free conditions in a cleanroom will significantly reduce the risk of a product being altered from outside particles through filtration systems that purify the environment. This gives greater product and quality control to various industry users that can span from electronic manufacturers to pharmaceutical drug companies. However, cleanrooms haven’t been around as long as you might think because the first modern cleanroom wasn’t developed until 1960.

The Beginning

ISOMain1-530x530Prior to the modern day cleanroom, controlled workspaces weren’t as efficient as they are today because they used to have problems with air filtration. When particles would infiltrate the sealed environment through the air filters, they would disrupt whatever product was being worked on at the time. This could be anything from a pharmaceutical drug to an electronic processor in which both would be ruined from the foreign exposure. On top of this, the airflow of old cleanrooms was unpredictable which would disrupt the entire environment as a whole.

It wasn’t until 1960 when the modern cleanroom was invented by an American physicist from New Mexico, Willis Whitfield. His development of the improved cleanroom gave manufacturers and researchers a better work environment that lessened the chances of product contamination. Since, cleanrooms have continued to improve with even better filtration technology, air flow and features!

With that said, there are plenty of cleanroom solutions that can give companies the ultimate flexibility when it comes to sealed work environments. For instance, cleanrooms can be manufactured with energy efficiency in mind to reduce energy costs by integrating them with special HVAC systems, eco-friendly lighting and more. On top of that, the construction of cleanrooms has dramatically improved because they can be built off-site, delivered to a facility and then installed without disrupting normal working operations. All in all, cleanrooms have transformed into extremely valuable work environments.

Depending on what industry you’re in, you may find yourself needing to purchase or make use of a cleanroom. A cleanroom is a sealed, controlled space where work can be carried out in controlled, contaminant-free conditions. But how do cleanrooms work? Let’s take a look.

Cleanrooms are used in two main applications:

Electronics manufacturing – Since silicon chips and other electronics components are extremely sensitive, and must conduct electricity perfectly through very small and elaborate systems, dust and other contaminants can ruin them. All computers contain parts made in cleanrooms.

Pharmaceuticals – The production of drugs, as well as other bio science research and manufacturing, must be done in totally contaminant-free environments. This ensures the purity of the substances, as well as patient safety.

Other forms of scientific research and engineering may also use cleanrooms, but these are the most common.

cleanrooms

In order to meet the strict requirements of these industries, cleanrooms make use of a variety of technologies:

Filters for outside air – All air coming into a cleanroom must be thoroughly filtered so that it does not pass contaminants into the protected space. “Contaminants” in this context include dust and tiny particles that are common and completely safe in normal air. At a minimum, HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are used; in some cases ULPA (ultra-low particulate air) filters are also used to attain the highest level of purity.

Internal recirculation filters – Air within a cleanroom can still pick up particles created by work processes, as well as from tools and furniture/fixtures. Thus, the filtered air within the room is continuously circulated through additional filters to scrub it of internal contaminants.

Climate control – Temperature and (especially) humidity can affect sensitive materials and must be controlled. Air within a cleanroom is kept at a constant temperature and normally at very low humidity levels. Ionic dehumidifiers can be used to avoid contamination from conventional dehumidifiers.

Air pressure – Some processes require positive or negative air pressure, so the pressure within the room can be controlled if needed. Additionally, positive air pressure means that particles in the entrances tend to blow away from the cleanroom and not come in with personnel.

Airlocks – All personnel enter through airlocks, multi-stage airtight sally ports. This allows unfiltered outside air to be drained from the airlock chamber and replaced with filtered “clean” air before they enter. Some airlocks use high-pressure air showers to blast particles off of personnel as they enter.

What does your company use cleanrooms for?

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In the controlled environment of a cleanroom, there is a constant battle against particulates. Specialized clothing and detailed cleaning procedures are put in place to help keep this environment in check. NASA cleanrooms are working on a unique way to keep things clean, and it involves snow.

Using liquid CO2 in a pressurized container, the liquid turns into snow as it is exposed to the air and is used to gently clean surfaces. This snow method is being used in conjunction with the James Webb Telescope to gently clean the delicate lens in the telescope. Want to learn more about this amazing snow? Check out the article over at Smithsonian Magazine.

Cleanrooms aren’t just for satellites, electronics, or medical devices; they are also being used by the E-Liquids industry. The “vaping” industry is growing in leaps and bounds, and it is suspected that FDA regulations regarding the production of e-liquids, or vape juice, are expected to go into effect soon.

In order to be ready for when these FDA regulations are in place, many e-liquids manufacturers are turning towards cleanrooms. This allows a superior product to be created and provide a means to batch and track the e-liquids. Check out this video regarding an Indiana legislative bill that is looking to make cleanrooms law for e-liquids:
WDRB 41 Louisville News

Visit our e-liquids page to learn more about our cleanrooms.