Norwood delivers world-class modular cleanroom system

Published: 26-Jul-2011

Modular partition design surpassed the expectations and ideas that were originally conceived

When provider of industrial inkjet printheads, Xaar, expanded its Huntingdon facilities, it turned to Norwood to develop its modular cleanroom partition system.

The challenge was to design and deliver a continuous working environment, where maintenance could be conducted without compromising the integrity of the controlled environment critical for precision printhead manufacturing. Prior to project commencement Xaar set out a clear vision of what it wanted to achieve and took the decision to actively engage with modular cleanroom system manufacturer Norwood from the beginning of the design phase. The resulting modular partition design soon surpassed the expectations and ideas that were originally conceived.

Norwood Partitions began the process of designing the new 1,000m2 modular cleanroom environment by analysing Xaar’s operational requirements, allowing it to inject expertise and innovation into developing the modular cleanroom system at an early stage. “By taking an active interest in Xaar’s business needs, we were able to add significant innovation throughout the build process and help the client develop its new controlled environment alongside an existing fully operational modular cleanroom system,” said Norwood’s co-owner Alex Bannister.

“Together with main contractor Holland Contracts, Norwood Partition Systems went to great lengths to detail our key strategic requirements,” added Xaar’s manufacturing group engineering manager Rob Welford. “As one of the UK’s leading partition design and manufacturing companies, Norwood integrated its fully modular and demountable wall partition systems, walk-on ceilings and door systems in the design and build of the modular cleanroom project.”

Working alongside Holland Contracts, Norwood used its expertise in integrating flush-mounted services within the walls and ceilings to ensure that future maintenance could be carried out without affecting the integrity of Xaar’s modular cleanroom system environment.

The modular nature of Norwood’s steel partition cleanroom systems, together with a unique way of integrating services, practically eliminates on site disruption because manufacturing and construction is carried out off site. The Norwood proprietary Enviro partition system allows electric, gas, water and data supplies to be incorporated within the walls of the modular cleanroom partition system. This provides an aesthetically pleasing finish to the room, while adding to the overall functionality through provision of flush-mounted sockets direct to the point of use.

A significant benefit of the Norwood Enviro system is the reduction in the need for on-site mechanical and electrical contractor work, a philosophy that Boydell fully supports. “Focusing on the development of new manufacturing methodologies and critical tolerances allows Norwood to introduce new ways of creating controlled environment solutions throughout the design, manufacturing and installation phases of project management,” he said. ‘With 80% of the Xaar cleanroom construction and finishing completed prior to delivery, on-site disruption was reduced by up to 60%.”

The new Xaar cleanroom features a technically sophisticated mechanical solution within the walk on ceiling system. The Norwood long plank walk-on ceiling was designed to bespoke specification and sealed under controlled conditions, with the mechanical and electrical equipment being supported on top of the modular cleanroom system. Each ceiling penetration was also designed and manufactured prior to delivery and sealed off site, removing the need for site cutting and reducing on-site time.

The significant investment Norwood Partition Systems has made at its Manchester plant enables all manufacturing, plus much of the construction and finishing to be completed at the point of production. Specialist modular cleanroom glazing products have been developed through the collaboration of Norwood and 3M’s research and development engineers.

The new flush glazed panels, which integrate precisely into the Enviro demountable cleanroom partition systems, are manufactured under laboratory conditions at Norwood’s production plant. Incorporation of precoated antimicrobial surface finishes, together with a recessed base detail which is adapted to the differing cleanroom types, are just two examples of the level of expertise that Norwood Partitions has introduced into its approach to developing modern controlled environment solutions.

Another interesting feature of Norwood’s offer is the company’s ability to provide manufactured fully relocatable steel partition cleanroom interlocking door sets, complete with flush double-glazed units that further minimise the need for surface mounted fittings. Manufactured off site, the doors and single piece fully welded door frame assemblies are constructed prior to delivery direct to site.

“Norwood has a complete understanding of the technical and material challenges required to design and build modular cleanrooms,” said Holland Contracts managing director Martyn Smith. “Norwood is an ideal partner as the staff make sure that they fully understand the client needs prior to embarking upon a project. The Norwood approach is to deliver excellence and expertise from initial design through to aftersales. And, from our experience of working with Norwood, they also deliver strong value.”

Xaar’s rate of expansion meant that flexibility for future change also needed to be considered. Norwood’s long standing expertise in the design of modular demountable partition solutions, and its ability to design and construct every detail to exact specification, means that the client has the option to add on future developments in line with developing operational needs. The end result of Norwood’s approach was to successfully deliver an innovative fully functional modular cleanroom solution for Xaar, built alongside its existing cleanroom facility.

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