Originally published on January, 7, 2020, this post has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.
Cleanrooms are controlled environments used in scientific, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries. Within these rooms, laminar airflow limits pollutants like dust, aerosol particles and airborne organisms that can compromise work and the health of your employees.
In addition to laminar airflow, another indispensable tool in cleanrooms are air showers. Air showers are critical to the safety of personnel and instruments in several facilities. In this post, we’ll present a thorough guide to cleanroom air showers. It may help you to determine if your lab needs one or not.
What is an Air Shower?
Basically, an air shower is a space that uses high-velocity jets, much like a fume hood, to eliminate contaminants from anyone entering or exiting a cleanroom. Usually, an air shower is within the cleanroom’s entrances and exits. In addition, they connect to a HEPA or ULPA filtration system for maximum efficiency.
More often than not, an air shower’s purpose is to prevent pollutants from infiltrating the cleanroom. However, in many cases they remove contaminants from people or items leaving a quarantined area. And in these scenarios, they’re critical to preventing cross-contamination. Air showers can create an impenetrable barrier between clean and contaminated areas.
Air showers are perfect for cleanrooms that require a high degree of pollutant control. Lab environments with higher biosafety levels usually have air showers. Additionally, industries like pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, hospitals and semiconductor manufacturing are most likely to employ air showers. Usually, a professional equipment installation service is the most reliable way to install an air shower.
Basically, when it comes to air showers, they all have the same purpose and function. Air showers blast a jet of high-velocity air onto the individual within the unit. As a result, loose contaminants on the body or clothing will be instantly removed.
Any differences you’re likely to find among air showers are variations in size, dimensions, material and the filtration system itself.
If you’re wondering about the optimal size of an air shower, it depends on a few different factors. First, if only people will be moving through the air shower, you most likely won’t need a very large one. However, if you have a significantly high number of employees, a larger air shower (or multiple air showers) is the best option with proper fan and filter units.
In manufacturing industries, larger air showers are often necessary for sanitizing high-traffic areas. Basically, if your work requires personnel to be moving carts full of product through the air shower, a small unit won’t suffice. Your air shower will need to accommodate both the employees as well as the items passing through at both times. Obviously, this will require a considerably large air shower.
Naturally, air showers are available from several manufacturers in several different models. The vast majority of air showers are constructed from steel, stainless steel, aluminum or plastic.
Of course, the costs of materials vary. And the air shower’s requirements can often dictate the materials used.
Air showers come with one of two filtration systems: HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) or ULPA (ultra-low particulate air). Usually, the selection of the air shower’s filtration system is based on each lab’s individual needs.
HEPA filter systems remove airborne particles greater than or equal to 0.3 µm with 99.99% efficiency. Additionally, most standards specify that HEPA filters must feature minimal pressure drop and maximum airflow when operating.
ULPA filter systems remove particles greater than or equal to 0.12 µm with 99.95% efficiency. Basically, ULPA filter systems are widely viewed as the more efficient system.
Cleanrooms and uniform airflow are essential to preserving the safety and efficiency of labs. At S.E.P.S., we are passionate about contributing to this with our decontamination and certification services.
At S.E.P.S., lab cleanliness and efficiency is our primary concern. Our certification and decontamination services are all geared toward upholding safety and productivity. And when it comes to lab safety, cleanrooms are indispensable to scientific industries.