Connect 2 Cleanrooms is an award winning industry leader, creating modular cleanroom solutions for critical environments, both in the UK and internationally. The company designs and manufactures panel, hard and soft wall cleanrooms in-house and delivers quality cleanroom solutions to meet the ISO 14644-1 standard required. Its consumables division, Cleanroomshop.com, supplies a full range of consumables, equipment and furniture to the cleanroom industry worldwide.
The continuous improvement strategy towards cost-effective, lean production comes with an explicit requirement for innovation and scalability for today’s manufacturing facilities.
In looking to increase their offering into clean production, Tex Plastics’ Technical & Quality Director, Andy Clarke & Manufacturing Director Dave Kearney, found both with Lancaster-based cleanroom solutions provider, Connect 2 Cleanrooms.
Tex Plastics’ mission to develop higher performing, lower cost solutions for its clients, is complimented by a class 7/8 cleanroom system that includes automated clean-air HEPA-lite™ canopies, controllable by a user-friendly touch screen interface.
The tooling challenge
Improving on today’s current available Clean Room facilities in the UK it was recognised in cleanroom production for an injection moulding process, the tool face is the most exposed area of the production line, so this is the area which requires the clean supply of air. The most effective way to provide this is to enclose the machine in a cleanroom, however this brings inevitable challenges when the tool needs changing.
The most common solution is to build a large cleanroom that fully encloses the machine, mould and crane, which requires a large environment, in floor space and height as well as a negative impact on reducing carbon emission targets. This approach also cause’s increased opportunity of the risk of contamination and safety issues as the overhead crane inevitably retains particles and cleaning it is a cumbersome and difficult task - not to mention the hopper creating a mass of contamination within the cleanroom.
Whilst a modular cleanroom on castors is a low cost entry into Clean Rooms and is a practical solution for many, TEX Plastics consider it creates unacceptable downtime as machinery requires an extensive full clean down following exposure to the external manufacturing environment. Increasing the risk of contamination and reducing the ability to offer a timely response to customer schedule changes.
The ultimate tooling solution: HEPA-lite™ automated canopies
Connect 2 Cleanrooms R&D team has now developed its HEPA-lite™ canopy within its cleanrooms, to address these issues, that many manufacturing and production staff have been working around for years.
Through a user-friendly touch screen interface, Tex Plastics are able to activate actuators that slide sealed HEPA-lite™ canopies back to allow overhead crane access to tooling.
This customer driven requirement ensures that clean air is supplied at the critical point of production and reduces contamination by significantly limiting the areas of machinery that are exposed to the external environment during tooling changes. This limits downtime for cleaning, reduces risk of contamination and increases productivity.
The canopy is a custom manufactured unit, containing a MAC10XL HEPA filter and is fully sealed to facilitate the re-circulation of the cleanroom’s air conditioning.
An LED warning beacon above the control panel visually indicates when the canopy is open, reminding operators to close the canopy, prior to new batch production.
This leading cleanroom, features LED strip lighting around the underside of the canopy for extra lux levels, illuminating the tool face for operators.
The touch screen interface also acts as a control system, allowing full control of HEPA filtration and lighting levels, as well as monitoring pressure levels and alerting staff if the cleanroom is operating out of specification.
All of the data is logged, exportable and auditable, to demonstrate performance and analyse production processes.
Effective cleanroom design
There are 4 zones inside Tex Plastics’ cleanroom separated by partitions; two for Arburg injection moulding machines, a packing area and a goods transfer area. If one machine needs decommissioning or servicing, this can safely be done without affecting any of the other processes.
The modular design means that additional space can be added on to accommodate more machinery or create a larger packing area. This gives clients the peace of mind that scalability is achievable when required.
Tex Plastics supplied 3D models of their machines allowing Connect 2 Cleanrooms to maximise on floor space when designing its cleanroom.
The cleanroom is now fully operational, complimenting an already comprehensive “concept to completion” project solution for all conventional, white room and Clean Room Thermoplastic requirements. Meticulous project management of comprehensive tooling validation protocols including Scientific Moulding disciplines ensures our customers know Tex Plastics assures technical capability and a competitive edge with a cleanroom production facility operating at maximum efficiency.
Web site and contact details of both companies
• Open, Close, Kill control
• Sealed HEPA-lite™ unit can be opened for pre-filter access during validation
• Benches for the packing area supplied by Cleanroomshop.com
• Transfer area features a bench with goods in going over the bench and goods out under, plus a waste hatch to dispose of waste without leaving the classified clean area
• Injection moulding machines are part enclosed so the hopper is kept external to the clean environment as it is a high contamination producing component
We are pleased to announce our UD Flow Bench has won the Controlled Environment Publication's Reader's Choice Awards for Best Benches and Enclosures Product.
In its second year, the Reader's Choice Awards highlight the cleanroom equipment and supplies that readers judge most effective and trusted in their work. Cleanroom equipment and product suppliers were invited to submit their products for this prestigious award. Winners in seven different categories were chosen based on a voting survey sent to a select group of Controlled Environments readers.
The UD flow bench from Connect 2 Cleanrooms is suitable for use in laboratories, manufacturing and pharmaceutical areas, and cleanrooms. The unidirectional down flow of filtered air ensures that only extremely clean air passes over the critical work plane, protecting sensitive products and processes from airborne particulate.
An advanced design, featuring a 45-degree chamfer (which also houses service connections for electricity, air, or gas), is designed to optimize unidirectional airflow over the critical plane.
"In its second year, the Controlled Environments Readers’ Choice Awards competition highlights the cleanroom equipment and supplies that readers judge most effective and trusted in their work. We are pleased to recognize the UD flow bench from Connect 2 Cleanrooms, which was voted by Controlled Environments readers as the best Benches and Enclosures product of 2016.” –MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor, Controlled Environments.
"We are delighted to hear that our product has been voted best in the category Best Benches and Enclosures Product in Controlled Environments’ 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. We are especially pleased to be winners for a second year running, following last year’s double win for Hepa-lite and our ECO control system." -Sean Fryers, Marketing Manager, Connect 2 Cleanrooms.
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