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Customized, portable cleanrooms

June 1st, 2019 / By: / Swatches

The CAPE cleanroom complies with the ISO class 1 air cleanliness standard, which dictates that in each cubic meter of air there must be no more than 10 particles more than 0.1 micrometers in size. That’s some billion times cleaner than the air we breathe. Photos: ©Fraunhofer IPA/Rainer Bez.

In certain manufacturing situations, the strictest level of cleanliness is necessary. During production, automation components, tools, microchips, space probes or medical devices can be affected by even the slightest contamination. Companies often employ cleanroom environments during the manufacturing and assembly process for contamination-sensitive parts. However, these environments come with their own challenges: they’re expensive, not always available, require a high level of upkeep and don’t always protect against cross-contamination. 

The CAPE® cleanroom, developed by Munich-based Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, offers an alternative that can be set up when needed, is transportable and contaminant-free, and can be used to achieve air cleanliness standards in compliance with ISO classes 1 through 9. 

The walls of the tentlike structure are made of special permeable low-outgassing and electrostatically conductive fabric that can be sterilized. The structure comes with its own ventilation system, ensuring an even radial flow of air from the inside to the outside. It can be customized to fit individual needs and comes in a range of designs, shapes and sizes. The smallest version available is 30 x 30 centimeters (approximately 11.8 x 11.8 in.); the tent-style version measures 3 x 3 x 4 meters (approximately 9.8 x 9.8 x 13.1 ft.). 

The structure sets up quickly and easily with a double frame made of CFRP tubular segments and aluminum connectors that lock into place without tools. CAPE can be easily integrated into an existing production zone, whether set up indoors or outdoors. For more information, visit www.fraunhofer.de.

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