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A cleanroom is a controlled environment used for highly sensitive manufacturing and production operations. The level of cleanliness in a cleanroom is defined by the allowable concentration of airborne particles, with other environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, air pressure, and humidity) controlled as necessary for any given process. Achieving and maintaining the level of cleanliness needed for these sensitive applications necessitates the use of innovative particulate filtration technology (HEPA and ULPA). In addition to airborne particles, airborne molecular contamination is an increasingly important driver of process performance, requiring molecular or gas phase filtration media.

For advanced materials, you can trust in your most critical filtration applications, turn to the experts at Hollingsworth & Vose (H&V). We manufacture highly engineered HEPA and ULPA particulate filter media as well as molecular filter media (MFM). H&V’s materials help control contamination, ensuring process integrity and optimizing process yields. H&V’s differentiated solutions reducing the energy consumption of cleanroom filtration systems, a significant portion of overall cleanroom costs. All of our filtration products are designed and constructed to meet the most stringent requirements of all relevant international standards.

The Role of Filtration Systems in Cleanrooms

The filtration system is the critical component in any cleanroom, as it keeps the cleanroom free of contaminants that threaten the quality, safety, and yield of the process being protected. A cleanroom filtration system uses multiple filters to remove and collect particles from incoming air. The flow of air in a cleanroom is carefully engineered to facilitate the control of airborne contamination by ensuring air moves in a single direction (laminar or unidirectional). This airflow design minimizes the risk of contaminants traveling through and landing inside of the cleanroom rather than getting processed by the filters.

HEPA Filters for Cleanrooms

HEPA filters are one of the most commonly used types of cleanroom filters. They can filter out 99.99% of all particles that are 0.3 µm or bigger, which enables them to capture and collect many of the contaminants from the air going into a cleanroom.

What Role Do HEPA and ULPA Filters Play in Cleanroom Settings?

In cleanrooms, an HVAC system first heats or cools and humidifies or dehumidifies the incoming air as needed. It then passes the air through a series of terminal HEPA or ULPA filters, which remove any microscopic particles that it might be carrying. This comprehensive process ensures the air is appropriate for the operations performed within the cleanroom, including temperature, moisture, and contaminant levels.

How Do HEPA Filters Work?

HEPA filters capture and collect airborne particulates through the use of a complex fiber web. The web traps contaminants by sieving, interception, diffusion, or inertial impaction, depending on the particulate’s size. Small-sized particles dissipate as they travel through the web until they collide with and become trapped by a fiber. Medium-sized particles are trapped through interception. Large-sized particles are trapped through inertial impaction and sieving.

Configuration of Cleanroom Filters

The filter product configurations used to depend on the requirements and restrictions of the particular application. They can include filter panels, compact filters, and deep-pleat filters. These products are processed using a variety of techniques, such as knife pleating, deep pleating using aluminum separators, and rotary mini-pleating. H&V has significant experience working with all major manufacturers of pleating equipment and can advise customers on best practices for any given application.

Types of Cleanroom HEPA Filters

Cleanroom HEPA filters come in many designs and configurations to suit different filtration applications. The most common include:

  • Fan-powered HEPA filters. These filters are highly flexible and easy to install. Standard ones offer variable speed control and feature power indicator lights.
  • Terminal diffusers. These filters are designed to be hung from tee-bar ceilings to encourage unidirectional airflow.
  • Low-profiled HEPA filters. These filters are ideal for applications where a standard-sized filter would be difficult or impossible to install.

HEPA Filters for Cleanrooms by H&V

At H&V, all of our high-efficiency cleanroom filters are constructed with low boron content and engineered for superior performance (high strength, low pressure drop). Our product selection includes:

  • Standard glass media: suitable for mini-pleat, deep-pleat, and compact filter processing
  • Perform glass media: offers superior processing characteristics and a 10% to 16% lower pressure drop compared to competitive media with the same efficiency
  • Molecular filtration media (MFM): addresses airborne molecular contamination, which can threaten process yields in many cleanroom applications

We’ve also created laminated structures that combine different technologies to enhance specific performance characteristics. To learn more about our filtration media products and how they can benefit your cleanroom application, contact us today.