WHP builds flexible cleanrooms for Satellite Applications Catapult

The cleanrooms in the Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre are being built to offer inbuilt flexibility for later reconfigurations

The Disruptive Innovation for Space Centre (DISC)

Satellite Applications Catapult has entrusted the construction of cleanrooms in Oxfordshire (UK) to WHP Engineering.

The contract will see WHP work on the extension of a world-class satellite manufacturing centre that supports the UK space industry.

The Catapult, a UK independent innovation and technology company, drives economic growth through the exploitation of space. This new addition to the existing DISC facility will be completed in 2019 as part of an investment programme supported by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP).

The move will improve the scope of the R&D, manufacturing and testing services available in the UK to support the supply chain involved in the innovation, prototyping and small-scale manufacture of space technologies, including spacecraft and launch vehicles.

The specs

The contract will see WHP design and build a 440 sqm cleanroom facility at the DISC facility on the Harwell Campus in Didcot, Oxfordshire, where it will accommodate seven satellite production and assembly areas.

DISC houses a range of facilities to support the design, manufacture and testing of products for deployment into complex environments. The facility provides access to equipment and expertise to help people innovate and accelerate the development of new products and services.

WHP’s solution, which will see the provision of an ISO Class 7 compliant cleanroom developed using 3D BIM modelling techniques to finalise the architecture, M&E components, and process and critical utilities systems, will meet DISC’s requirement for this range of state-of-the-art facilities.

The cleanrooms will also be intended to offer inbuilt flexibility to accommodate any future requirement for the reconfiguration of the assembly areas, including designing services to allow future movement and designing flexible material and personnel access to multiple cleanrooms.

New world

Project manager Richard Graham at WHP, which has delivered a number of advanced cleanroom facilities across the UK, said: “The DISC contract will see us working in a new industry sector, offering cleanroom expertise to customers who require the highest standards of quality and excellence.

“The satellite industry is a growth area for the UK and with our strong experience, we look forward to delivering a world-beating leading-edge cleanroom capability at the Harwell site, as well as developing our presence further in the wider space industry market,” Graham added.

WHP is a multi-disciplinary engineering company dedicated to providing both standalone and turnkey solutions for cleanroom and manufacturing processes across Europe. The company’s comprehensive services range from design, project management, engineering, validation and fabrication, to full commissioning of new installations.

The DISC facility will support industrial and academic teams in taking an innovative R&D project from proof of concept to a full-sized prototype, manufactured at quality levels and scales enough to undertake end-customer validation. Access to the centre will be available to all at competitive rates and teams will be able to base themselves at DISC throughout the project’s duration.

Other facilities

The WHP project will add to existing ISO Class 7 cleanroom that companies under the umbrella of the Satellite Applications Catapult have access to. This particular cleanroom, supplied by Westbury Cleanrooms, filters the air over 50 times per hour via HEPA filters that are capable of filtering out particles of >0.3um.

Exsisting ISO Class 7 cleanrooms built by Westbury Cleanrooms

The cleanroom itself is modular in style and is made, from fire retardant quad-core panels that also supply excellent insulation against temperature and noise and are easily washed down for effective decontamination. The floor is made from an epoxy resin which is also able to be washed and decontaminated regularly.

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