A proper door is one of the most essential parts of any cleanroom. A cleanroom door needs to be built properly to eliminate the risk of exposing the room to outside contaminants. In this article, we’re letting you know how to choose a proper cleanroom door. We’ll start with some general info on cleanrooms themselves.
What is a cleanroom?
Let’s start with the basics. Cleanrooms are rooms that are meant to house activities that require extremely low levels of particulates. It is important that these activities are not exposed to any sort of contamination, because it could compromise the intended purpose of the room itself. Examples of these activities include medical, pharmaceutical, or scientific research, and the manufacture of components that would be disrupted by even a microscopic level of contamination (computer chips, LED displays, circuits, etc.).
The door is a particularly challenging part of this room design because humans need to enter and exit without allowing outside contaminants to enter the room. Next, we’ll take a look at how these doors are designed to make this possible.
What is a cleanroom door?
A cleanroom door is a door that is built with exact specifications to allow the cleanrooms to fulfill their intended function. Much like the rooms themselves, the doors are built to keep out any particulates that might compromise the activities being done in the cleanroom. This means they need to be built with high-quality materials, must form an airtight seal, and must operate quickly to avoid exposure. For specific product information on Horton Automatics cleanroom doors, download this PDF.
What are cleanroom doors made of?
Cleanroom doors can be made from different materials, but most commonly are made from aluminum or stainless steel, with stainless steel being the more premium choice. It is important is that the door is built correctly. This means that it has a proper thickness, and forms an airtight seal when shut.
What are the criteria for selecting the appropriate doors for cleanrooms?
Not all cleanroom doors are created equal. Selecting a proper cleanroom door will depend on the particular activities being performed in your cleanroom, and the type/amount of contaminants you need to keep out. Keep these factors in mind, and consider the following variables for choosing the proper cleanroom doors:
- Door Thickness: Cleanroom doors need to be thick, and it’s generally recommended that they be at least 60mm thick. This is not only to keep out particulates but to withstand the rigors of an average industrial environment. It should resist and bends, cracks, or shocks that may occur during routine usage.
- Tight Seal: Perhaps the most important element of a cleanroom door. These doors need to form tight seals when closed. This is essential in order to keep out contaminants. Some cleanroom doors are equipped with double gaskets to ensure the door seals as tight as possible when closed.
- Method of Access: Cleanroom doors can come in all shapes and sizes. Cleanroom doors can be automatic, sliding doors, or just use basic door handles. The most effective option is typically a sliding door, because it can close very precisely to form a tight seal, and also tends to open and close faster than a traditional swinging door.
- Flat Surface/Easy to Clean: It’s generally recommended that cleanroom doors have a completely flat surface. This includes the area where the door integrates with the cleanroom walls. If there are windows, they should be smoothly embedded into the surface of the door. This is necessary because it makes the doors easy to wipe down to clean, and they have no areas where dust can build up over time. In other words, keeping the clean room free of contaminants. For the same reason, the door should be made with materials that are resistant to industrial-grade cleaning products.
- High-Speed: Cleanroom doors should have the ability to open and shut quickly. This is so that they are minimally exposed to the outside environment and any particulates from the outside air. Some cleanroom doors are automatic, quickly allowing humans to pass in and out. Of course, because of this, it’s also important that cleanrooms are not adjacent to a room with a high level of contaminants.
- Reliable Locking: Due to the confidential or valuable nature of activities/materials in a cleanroom, you’ll want a cleanroom door with an effective, reliable locking mechanism. The lock itself should be extremely strong, but the access methods are just as important. You’ll either want to install a physical or mechanical entrance mechanism, depending on how you want to monitor access to the room. For example, if you only want certain employees to access the room, you’ll likely want to consider a keypad/key-cards.
- Ease of Installation: A cleanroom door should be designed in accordance with your cleanroom itself. You should find a supplier who is willing to match the exact specifications needed by your cleanroom. Additionally, if you are trying to integrate your cleanroom door with your locking or security system, you should ensure that it can become compatible with existing systems.
- Shatter-Proof Glass: If your cleanroom door contains a glass window, this glass should be thick and durable to protect against accidental impact. This glass should always contain safety-glazing to prevent the risk of shattered glass. Safety glazing ensures that, even if the window cracks under extreme force, it still remains in place.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when properly choosing and installing a cleanroom door. What’s most important is that the door matches the requirements of your specific cleanroom. It needs to offer the appropriate level of durability, tightness, and security required by your facility. As with many industrial components, it needs to be built and installed with this specific purpose in mind. For more information on Horton Automatics cleanroom doors, download this PDF.