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Effective Cleanroom Building: A “Don’t-Do-It-Yourself” Project

February 7, 2012
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Cleanroom constructionThere are some projects that just about anyone can do, with a trip to Home Depot, a weekend in the garage, and a familiarity around a toolbox.  But some tasks require a level of expertise and specialized knowledge that the layperson just does not possess. Yet in recent times, the “DIY” approach to designing almost anything under the sun seems to have taken hold regarding any task, however complicated and out of the “backyard project” scope it may be.

Where did the rapid expansion of this mentality come from? The difficult economic times of the past few years play a role, to be sure, and so does the sheer volume of Complete Idiot’s Guide manuals in stock online and on bookshelves. And if those kinds of books don’t do the trick for you, you can watch a YouTube video or read an eHow article and have all your home improvement questions answered in a few minutes. While we at Liberty Industries have no problem in theory with this sort of problem-solving, we also know from years of personal experience that a DIY approach can’t come close to successfully building a facility as complex as a fully-functioning cleanroom.

Just as building a rocket that can make it into space requires an actual team of rocket scientists, building a cleanroom requires a qualified cleanroom design engineer. This engineer and anyone working under his or her supervision must be alert to any challenges and difficulties that lie between receiving a design and list of requirements, and successful completion of the cleanroom.

The design and construction team’s expertise also is not limited strictly to knowledge of contaminants – they wear many hats. They must be literate and experienced in the design of HVAC systems, and how those systems contribute to the successful Cleanroommaintenance of atmospheric conditions such as humidity, temperature, and pressure. They must act as architects, and be familiar with what sort of floor plan might best be employed at the particular facility in order to ensure adequate contamination protection (i.e. should, or could, the cleanroom have an antechamber or gowning room installed that allows workers to leave their “contaminated” day-clothes behind?) They must be well-versed in the properties of the materials used in building the facility, and whether these materials are appropriate to be used within such an environment. These are just a few examples of the questions that a qualified cleanroom engineer must ask him or herself before agreeing to build such a facility.

We certainly do not mean to discourage thoughtful “do-it-yourself” design in general. Out-of-the-box thinking certainly has useful and essential applications. That being said, the science of cleanroom design and fabrication is tried and true, but remains a challenge to many who would attempt it.  With many decades of experience in this field under our belt, we at Liberty Industries do feel entitled to say it: leave expertise to the experts. You’ll never regret the results.

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