Cleanroom selection is a critical decision for a company. The wrong design choice may result in procedural inefficiency, cross contamination, or certification failure. Let’s discuss common questions Terra customers have when specifying and purchasing a cleanroom.

When Choosing Between Stick-Built and Modular Cleanroom Designs, What Are The Advantages of Stick-Built Rooms?

Stick-built cleanrooms often carry lower up-front costs than modular rooms. As the wall material is readily available and easy to procure, production times may be shorter than modular projects. Stick-built designs are ideal for converting existing spaces into ISO-rated cleanrooms. Other benefits include walkable ceilings, coved flooring, central HVAC integration, and plumbing connections.

What Are The Advantages of Modular Cleanrooms?

Modular cleanroom systems provide the flexibility to reconfigure, expand, or even disassemble, transport and install at a new location. Each wall panel, like a digital picture frame, holds endless possibilities. The panel accommodates a solid wall partition, a door, a window, a pass through chamber, a curtain separator, a dual-access refrigerator and more. As each modular component is pre-engineered and pre-fabricated, the installation time is often much shorter than stick-built projects. Modular systems are ideal for extra-tall spaces, single-use applications (like contract manufacturing), and operations with multiple, isolated work zones.

What Is The Difference Between Positive Pressure And Negative Pressure Cleanrooms?

Positive pressure cleanroom rooms maintain a higher internal pressure than the surrounding environment, keeping products and samples safe from contamination. Filtered air flows into the cleanroom through ceiling-mounted fan filter units, washes across work zones, and exits through wall-mounted baffles. Uniform, laminar airflow is sustained to prevent contamination from turbulent air swirls. Negative pressure rooms maintain a lower internal pressure than the surrounding environment, protecting operators from exposure and isolating hazardous processes. Air flows into the room through wall-mounted entry baffles, washes across work zones and exits through filtered, reverse-flow, ceiling-mounted fans.

Does Terra Build Both Recirculating And Containment Cleanrooms?

Yes, Terra’s BioSafe cleanroom delivery system includes stainless steel double-wall air plenums. These plenums redirect air from wall-mounted exhaust slots back to the ceiling-mounted FFUs for reintroduction into the cleanroom. Recirculating rooms maintain a neutral pressure compared to the adjoining environment. For containment applications, such as BSL-rated spaces or USP <800> pharmacies, the BioSafe double wall air plenum connects with a filtered exhaust fan or fume scrubber to remove hazards from the air stream.

What Are The Benefits Of Hardwall And Softwall Cleanrooms?

If you’ve selected a modular cleanroom design, the first critical question is: do I choose hardwall or softwall panels?

Hardwall cleanrooms allow for complete zone isolation, with defined pressure differences and air change rates between segregated spaces. Unlike softwall rooms, hardwall systems include atmospheric controls (such as temperature and humidity). Terra’s hardwall rooms include a wide array of easy-to-clean plastic panels installed in a powder-coated steel frame.

Softwall cleanrooms feature the same powder-coated steel frame with rigid curtain panel walls and strip curtain entries. As compared with hardwall rooms, softwall systems are lower cost and more portable. However, several industry standards, such as cGMP, require defined, isolated spaces, which softwall rooms do not provide.

What Are the Benefits of Different Cleanroom Panels Offered by Terra Universal?

When selecting cleanroom wall panels, you must first choose between transparent and opaque panels. Transparent panels double as viewing windows and boost natural lighting, whereas opaque panels offer privacy for high security processes.

  • Transparent panel options include static-dissipating PVC, thermal resistant polycarbonate, rigid, high-clarity tempered glass, and economical acrylic.
  • Opaque panel choices include acid-resistant polypropylene, fire-rated FRP, and ISO 4-compliant C-PVC.
  • Modesty panels include an opaque lower panel with an upper panel made of transparent plastic or glass.
  • Softwall panel selections include anti-static PVC and non-outgassing polysim.

What if I Need a Cleanroom Installed on a Very Short Timeline? What Are My Options?

While Terra offers industry-leading build times for customized configurations, Terra also stocks turnkey, pre-configured ValuLine cleanrooms that are packaged for immediate shipment. Available in common sizes (up to 200 square feet), ValuLine rooms include pre-drilled, pre-kitted components for quick, easy installation with standard tools.

Are Terra’s Biosafe Rooms Appropriate For Other Applications?

Yes, Terra’s BioSafe clean rooms are designed to meet the most stringent cleanliness requirements of the semiconductor, aerospace, medical device, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries. These double wall cleanrooms, available in 304-grade stainless steel or powder-coated steel, meet cGMP, GLP, ASTM and IEST requirements. The BioSafe design eliminates cracks and crevices where microbes and particles collect, allowing the room to maintain ISO class 4 conditions.

Should I Choose Stainless Steel Or Powder-Coated Steel Wall Panels?

Both stainless steel and powder-coated steel resist corrosion, large temperature changes, and common disinfectants. However, powder-coated steel, while lower cost, is degraded by harsh solvents, bleach, and salt water. While powder-coated panels provide a clean, white aesthetic, the coating carries an average shelf life of 20 years.

Does Terra Build Explosion-Proof Cleanrooms?

Yes, Terra builds explosion-proof systems to meet NEC requirements for Class I Division I hazardous locations. Other special application designs include insulated cleanrooms for strict temperature control, USP 797 and 800 cleanrooms for sterile drug compounding, flame-retardant rooms, BSL-rated spaces, powder containment booths, and portable cleanrooms.

Does Terra Manufacture Fan Filter Units?

Yes, Terra manufactures and stocks a wide variety of fan filter units, including low-energy Smart models, HEPA- and ULPA-filtered systems, roomside-replaceable units, low-vibration fans, reverse-flow models, and explosion-proof systems.

All of Terra’s fan filter units are UL-listed, available in standard industry sizes, and compatible with each of Terra’s cleanroom designs.

What Are the Different Cleanroom Lighting Options for ISO Cleanrooms?

Of course! Terra offers flat panel LED troffer lights that install in standard cleanroom ceiling bays, bright LED strip lighting for ISO 5 and cleaner spaces, and germicidal UV lights to protect the room from microbial growth.

How Do I Connect My Cleanroom to My Building Power Supply? Do I Need An Electrician To Install Multiple Power Drops?

No, Terra’s UL-listed master PDM requires a single hard-wired connection to power up to 50 fan filter units and 50 lights. This plug-and-play system streamlines facility permitting, optimizes installation, and allows for easy maintenance.

Does Terra Manufacture Cleanroom Components And Accessories?

Yes, Terra manufactures a wide selection of components, including manual and automatic doors, frameless and framed windows, modular air conditioning systems, and advanced zone-by-zone control panels.

Terra Universal offers end-to-end construction, outfitting, certification, and testing for a wide variety of controlled environments including cleanrooms, laminar flow hoods, glove box isolators, biosafety cabinets, and lab equipment.

Shop Terra Universal Online to view a wide selection of medical and surgical doors, windows, pass throughs, filtration systems, and more.

Contact a Terra cleanroom specialist for assistance with product configuration or application compliance via web chat, email, or phone.

For additional information not covered in this video, view Terra’s cleanroom features comparison chart.