3 way cleanroom door

Cleanroom design – simple solutions to complex problems

I want an innovative cleanroom design, the use of the word “innovation” is perhaps the most overused ‘buzz’ word in the design and documentation of health sciences facilities, the intent is certainly not over-used, in the sense of the recognition of the increasingly evident acceptance and embrace of concepts driven as simple solutions to complex problems – being my understanding of what “innovation” represents.

And increasingly so in our manufacturing environments, those solutions can present as being somewhat smaller, being more ‘incremental’ and ‘additive’ – in discrete situations set within a holistic approach to facility design, rather than the disruptive facilitation of wholesale changes.

3 way cleanroom door closeup

Take for example this cleanroom, recently completed by Kingspan in a manufacturing facility in Kortrijk, Belgium – it may not be immediately apparent, but it shows a “3-way opening” door – the challenge here was to provide a singular point of access that required the unimpeded movement of personnel, as well as being (intermittently) the only opportunity in this case to move large machinery in and out of the cleanroom as required – with minimal interruption (and cost) to the operation of the facility. In lieu of (say) providing a large removable (wall) panel, which in this case even did not appear possible, by virtue of the relative ‘isolation’ of the area.

3 way cleanroom door top

The singular personnel door (with closer) is used most frequently, with the second ‘leaf’ of the door opening when required, to provide an obstructed opening width of around 1,670mm (with four hinges on each side of the frame). The equipment sizes (heights) however are significantly in excess of the (approximately) 2,185mm door height, and so a third ‘leaf’ hinges from the top, allowing a clear opening of around 1,670mm width x 2,850mm in height. Enough then for the (ease of) unimpeded passage of equipment when required.

With thanks to Kingspan, their attention to detail in this instance has resulted in what appears to be a relatively simple solution, though perhaps somewhat complex in its conception. It also demonstrates the (attention to the) high level of detail required in such solutions, driven by expert knowledge in the field – requiring for example the door frame to be almost integral with the coving to the ceiling and walls, and for the door seals and locking mechanisms to be coordinated with limited tolerance in the sequence of opening.