2-Feb-2004

How many cleanrooms?

As part of a multi-million pound refurbishment at BAe Systems' Crewe Toll Production Facility in Edinburgh, DAW Technologies (Europe) has just installed 21 Class 100,000 cleanrooms, together with associated processing and bonding suites. The new facility will form the centre of excellence for laser testing for the BAe Avionics Division. The laser testing facility is an integral part of BAe Systems' Production Hall Refurbishment programme, which has been project managed by property and construction consultants Thomas and Adamson. David Young, a partner at Thomas and Adamson and project manager for the refurbishment, explains: "Our client's brief at the outset was to construct a facility which gave maximum flexibility for future business expansion with minimal disruption to the existing services and occupants. "Budget was paramount, as was the aggressive programme required to meet our client's business needs. Health and Safety issues relating to laser firing requirements also had to be addressed, not only in relation to mechanical and electrical systems, but also to protect occupants of the area."

Safe and clean "We worked closely with Daw on the design of bespoke safety requirements that prevent unauthorised access and in the event of a door being opened, the laser shuts off immediately. The process of setting up a room for laser testing requires strict adherence to the requisite protocols and it was important that we appreciated the end-user's requirements in order that the cleanroom design met with our client's expectations," Young adds. This highly serviced project has taken five months to complete from the initial design to handover. The contract was negotiated on an open book basis with Balfour Beatty Construction, which has successfully worked within the Crewe Toll site. This ensured that BAe Systems' expectations of both quality and design were met. Throughout the construction phase, the adjoining facilities continued to be in use, requiring off-site fabrication to minimise disruption, as well as careful planning of on-site infrastructure. Daw used its modular CLEANseal wall and ceiling system to build the cleanrooms. This methodology ensured significant time savings when compared with more traditional systems and provides a flexible solution for any future alterations. Trevor Drummond, marketing manager at Daw Technologies (Europe), comments: "The next phase of this contract is already in the pipeline and this will consist of a programme to expand the number of cleanrooms to 48 over the next two years. It is therefore important that the current facility is both flexible and easily upgraded and, indeed, both these qualities are inherent to Daw's design philosophy. "During the design phase, we analysed both the process requirements and the environmental criteria carefully to ensure that the stringent temperature and humidity level requirements were achieved. "Each Class 100,000 cleanroom has been validated to Class 1,000, has individual temperature controls and is independently earthed." Integration of all the specialist electrical, control systems and process pipework was so critical, adds Drummond, that a complete mock-up of a typical room was constructed to verify the safety aspects, as well as to ensure operational success.

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