Air Support for Downflow Booths in Cleanrooms

Changes in working practices, increasing need for process isolation and improved personnel protection are driving a demand for the installation of Vitalair Downflow Booths within cleanroom environments.

Hosokawa Micron is able to meet this demand by offering design solutions using leading edge airflow dynamics modelling software that recognizes all airflow patterns within the installation. The software clearly identifies airflow interactions of both downflow booth and cleanroom and the potential conflicts that could disturb vital Operator Exposure Levels in a way that potentially increases risk to personnel through inhalation of dusts or vapors.

Typically cleanrooms maintain an environment with low levels of dust by supplying HEPA filtered air into the room. They are not particularly designed to remove higher levels of dust to maintain lower OELs.

‘The airflow simulation package allows Hosokawa Micron engineers to produce proven downflow booth designs that take account of conflicting ventilation systems and pressure differences between rooms, enabling a prompt and reliable response. Customers can also see for themselves how airflow in the booth can be effected by items such as protective screens, local extract ventilation, ancillary equipment and even people.’ Carl Emsley, Hosokawa Micron Ltd.

Carl explains how ordinarily the objective of the cleanroom is to maintain air quality but increasing demands to carry out powder sampling, sub-division, milling and filling and weighing within cleanrooms are creating the need to introduce a higher level of operator protection and containment as provided by a downflow booth that uses a higher volumetric airflow requirement that removes potentially airborne dusts or vapors away from the operator’s breathing zone.

‘We have also seen customers, keen to benefit from the new technologies incorporated within today’s downflow booths, upgrading their current operator protection facilities. While for some the benefits of process isolation and elimination of cross contamination within the cleanroom are a significant focus.’