Air showers are an essential part of any cleanroom operation, addressing the biggest potential containment breach at its source. These chambers or tunnels are a key preventative measure that any cleanroom manager should consider. In this blog, you’ll learn more about air showers and why they’re integral to critical cleanroom applications across many industries.
How Do Air Showers Work?
Air showers are tunnels or chambers containing air jets that blow off personnel entering or departing a cleanroom. The pressured jet nozzle air streams drive dirt and dust particles away from the people or objects in the chamber. It then filters out contaminants and redirects them out of the chamber.
Air showers are positioned at the entrances and exits to cleanrooms or other highly controlled environments. As entrances and exits can be the biggest source of containment breach or contamination, having air showers as an extra layer of security for products and workers is a worthy investment.
A one-person air shower has two doors that cannot open simultaneously. When the employee enters the air shower chamber from the outside, both doors lock, and then the air jets blow air in high-velocity streams for 4 to 8 seconds. This process blows potential contaminants to a low-pressure section of the chamber. After waiting another 2 to 4 seconds for the room to be cleared of contaminants, the second door leading to the cleanroom will be unlocked and allow the employee to enter.
Why Air Showers for Cleanrooms
Cleanroom entrances and the people entering through them pose the greatest risk of contamination and must be managed accordingly. Air showers reduce pollutants that stick onto personnel and equipment despite prior gowning or disinfection procedures. Entrances and pass-throughs with an air shower act as a barrier between critical and non-critical regions.
By dislodging particulates before they get into the cleanroom, air showers also minimize particle accumulation to reduce cleanroom maintenance needs. They help to decrease energy consumption because HEPA filters do not have to work so hard. In fact, the filters last considerably longer when personnel utilize air showers.
Applications of Air Showers
When utilized correctly, an air shower can eliminate the majority of harmful contaminants before they even enter your cleanroom, ensuring your product stays safe and uncontaminated. Here are examples of where air showers can be applied.
- Aerospace Cleanrooms: The aerospace industry consists of complex aircraft that require failproof components made to the highest standards. Excess particles may degrade an aerospace sensor or cause electrical equipment to malfunction. To guarantee worker safety and project success, all equipment must be made in optimal cleanroom conditions. Aerospace cleanrooms utilize large air showers at the entry and exit to remove particles from people and components, keeping the production area clean and free of contaminants.
- Pharmaceutical Cleanrooms: Pharmaceutical cleanrooms are essential for developing, testing, and manufacturing life-saving drugs. Contamination in pharmaceutical processes might influence test results or consumer health. Since these cleanrooms must meet stringent cleaning standards, they frequently rely on air showers. The extra degree of security guarantees that individuals passing from outside to inside the compounding room do not bring in potentially harmful contaminants.
- Medical Research Cleanrooms: Air showers are often found in medical research cleanroom applications involving sensitive equipment. In research studies involving toxic fumes or biohazards like infectious diseases, the inside of the cleanroom may pose more of a threat than the outside. In addition to negative pressurization, air showers are key to removing particles from workers as they exit the cleanroom.
- Precision Manufacturing Cleanrooms: Although not all production environments have strict particle control specifications, sensitive products like sensors, radar systems, and computer hardware must be produced in a controlled environment. For example, producing defense industry components like weapons, security devices, and other complex equipment requires a highly controlled cleanroom environment.
Air Showers From Liberty Industries
Air showers are worth the investment in safeguarding your cleanroom operation. The method is highly effective at addressing the source of the most major potential containment breach—the entrance to the cleanroom. Liberty Industries offers a comprehensive selection of air showers made of different materials and for various cleanroom applications. Our air showers are optimized for low traffic areas, high traffic areas, height restricted areas, and other operational conditions.