Mist Collectors

Location of Mist Collectors

Location of Mist Collectors

The design, filtration size, and air handling capacity of industrial filtration systems like oil and coolant mist collectors are often discussed for their impacts on air quality. However, the location of the oil mist collector is an overlooked but critical aspect of your air filtration strategy. The location of the mist collector is a key consideration for any deployment made by Aeroex. By ensuring the proper placement and integration of the mist collector, the right capture strategy can be used that provides optimal efficiency. 

Types of Locations for Mist Collectors

There are two general ways of locating your coolant and mist collector. You directly integrate the filtration system with your machine to provide source control as a closed system, or you can install it nearby on the wall or ceiling (often paired with your existing ventilation) to provide ambient control. Each provides benefits and rationale, although for machining operations Aeroex recommends starting with source control first. 

Location of Mist Collectors for Source Control

Source control means capturing contaminant air particles directly at the source of release by maintaining close proximity and a direct feed between the source and the method of filtration. The advantage of this technique is that the duration between release and capture is limited, there are fewer opportunities to enter the atmosphere, and a higher concentration of particles can be captured before they begin to diffuse. A source control solution is highly efficient as a result – a higher concentration means less air is circulated through the filter for the same amount of particles captured. However, a source control solution can be more demanding for the air filtration system. If it cannot efficiently remove the large number of particles, you may get a buildup or disruptions like clogging. 

Aeroex systems are designed for source control locations first and foremost, with depth loading filters, screening methods to optimize filter efficiency, good drainage, and large volumes of filter media. This is the most efficient way to target oil and collant mists that come from a discrete source. In machine shops, oils and coolants are usually sprayed within an enclosure, making them opportune for a source control strategy. 

Location of Mist Collectors for Ambient Control

If an ambient control strategy is being used, typically the filtration system will be installed on the ceiling or with an existing ventilation system to oversee a broader area or a series of operations and sources. Normally, an ambient strategy is only recommended when a contaminant source is not discrete or there are too many sources for a source control strategy to be feasible. Some machine operations like grinding also pose source control challenges. Ambient control can also complement source control – for example, if you had several grinders equipped with source control measures you may also use ambient control as the finishing method to eliminate any remaining contaminants.  

An ambient control solution applies to the entire room of a facility, meaning it will need to circulate more air than a source control method to replace contaminants with clean air. This is due to the effects of dispersion. As well, the lower circulation frequency compared to source control (enclosures can often be cycled in seconds) mean that there is the potential for interim exposure in the atmosphere. 

While source control is most common for machine operations, ambient control is common in other applications like healthcare and institutional settings.

Mounting Oil Mist Collector for Source Control Strategy

Aeroex is committed to the source control strategy, so much so that we have created a wide range of mounting options to ensure that whatever the circumstance, models like our Mist Fit can integrate into your shop. Where other suppliers may opt for a less efficient strategy due to accessibility issues, we will go to extra lengths to ensure a source control strategy is feasible. We understand space is a scarce commodity in any machine shop, and mounting to a machine can therefore require some creativity. Our install kit provides mounting options by including custom and prefabricated base plates, flanges, base plates with side suction, side mounts, elevated base plates, side mount extensions, pillar stands, wall mounts, and more.

How to Choose the Location of Mist Collectors

When choosing the location of your mist collector, we will assess the footprint of your facility, the existing ventilation, the location of your machines, conflicts with other devices and utilities, routing, accessibility, and other factors. From there, we will assess the options for a source control strategy. Often this is straightforward but if not the Aeroex team will get creative in providing you with a safe and optimal location solution. In almost all cases, source control is achieved.

Learn More in This Case Study of Determining the Location of a Mist Collector 

For an example of the installation process, check out Aeroex’s video feature in popular Youtuber and custom knife fabricator Grimsmo Knives. 

Grimsmo Knives is a Canadian business making custom knives. The process includes operations like lathing with common machine brands like Nakamura. In this video, we visit John Grimsmo’s shop and learn about the buildup of oil and coolant mist experienced in the shop when machines are in operation. Grimsmo Knives has a small shop with limited ventilation and there were initially some questions about how best to locate the oil mist collector, but over the course of the video viewers get to see the process for a full installation. The hosing in our installation kit made the process go by quite smoothly. By the end of our site visit, the Mist-Fit 550 was fully installed and providing immediately noticeable clean air. 

 

You can also learn more by reading our Grimsmo Knives case study.

 

Air Purification

Improving Air Quality for Schools

Fan Filter Units To Improve Indoor Air Quality of Schools and Other Public Buildings

 

Schools and other public institutions like hospitals are among the critical infrastructure that delivers services we all depend on. The ability to access and leverage these services depends on properly functioning infrastructure like structural, electrical, and mechanical building elements, all of which require funding and maintenance to operate. This includes the mechanical ventilation and heating/cooling systems in schools and other public buildings. Without proper ventilation, several undesirable air quality indicators can arise including stale air from low oxygen, the air being too hot or too damp, the accumulation of pollutants, and the presence of airborne bacteria and viruses including coronaviruses.

 

The State of School Ventilation Systems

A common trend among Canadian schools and other similar jurisdictions is a growing backlog of maintenance leading to poor performing infrastructure and ventilation. For example in Ontario, it was reported that 28% of schools and 45% of hospital assets are not in a state of good repair. The backlog of maintenance for schools alone would cost $3.7 billion in 2020 dollars. This figure includes a significant amount of mechanical ventilation systems.

 

If you think back to a Canadian school you attended as a child, this experience probably resonates with you. You likely attended a post-WW2 school with older infrastructure that is now aging and was always too hot and stuffy or too cold – many of these schools don’t even have air conditioning. With budget shortfalls every year and an aging portfolio, ventilation systems are getting worse all the time and reinvestment by the government is barely keeping up.

 

Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

There was a growing awareness of ventilation issues in schools and some incremental investments to mitigate the issue prior to the pandemic, but everything changed during the global pandemic of 2020. When it was discovered that COVID-19 was airborne and could be mitigated by proper ventilation and air purification, there was suddenly a great interest in improving the indoor air quality of schools.

 

Governments are now aggressively trying to tackle the ventilation problems in schools that have been growing for decades. Everyone wants to keep kids safe and schools open, meaning that if investments in ventilation can improve this outcome then there is a strong case to do so. But the scale of the problem, the urgency of the situation, and the competing interests for limited funds challenge this goal. Therefore, there is a clear need for affordable and scalable solutions that can immediately improve the air quality of schools.

 

Challenges with HVAC Retrofits

Given schools already have an HVAC system, retrofits to improve air exchanges and provide more filtration are a common approach. This is often borne out of a desire to avoid a full system replacement, which is costly and disruptive for schools with classes in session. However, retrofits have their own challenges and may not bring the desired outcomes.

 

First is the matter of filtration – HEPA filters are widely accepted as a gold standard for capturing particles transmitting coronaviruses, and there are already encouraging investments by governments in deploying them. However, HEPA filters are often being used to augment the retrofit or overhaul of existing ventilation systems. This is where problems can arise, as old ventilation systems typically were not designed to incorporate a HEPA filter. This leads to significantly higher costs for schools with limited funds.

 

Second is the matter of air handling capacity. To move the air through HEPA filters retrofitted to the existing ventilation system, air handling also needs to be increased. Blowers usually need to be replaced in order to generate enough cubic feet per minute and static pressure to move air through the HEPA filters. This then expands the scope of the ventilation upgrade and adds cost. Adding capacity can be a complicated process because of the integrated nature of mechanical ventilation – if done incorrectly, not all rooms get the needed airflow. Therefore, a more cost-effective and practical solution for schools is desired.

 

Portable Air Purifiers for Indoor Air Purification

Some may ask, why not just use the portable air purifiers commonly seen in school classrooms already? Portable air purifiers are an important part of the toolkit because they are easily deployed, are affordable, and can be moved between areas. They were popular early in the pandemic because of the need for a quick solution.

 

Aeroex provides portable air purifiers and continues to advocate for their importance. But in a situation like schools where a permanent solution is desired and there is a backlog of ventilation repairs, portable air purifiers don’t address some of the root causes or provide the desired level of service. Portable units have more opportunity for human error, and they sometimes get turned off by the user because of the background noise they make when compared to traditional ventilation. Ambient control measures in the ventilation system are near the ceiling where they are less disruptive and become a permanent fixture providing constant air circulation and filtration.

 

Fan Filter Units – High Capacity and Cost Effective Air Filtration

To solve the problem of costly retrofits to a backlog of mechanical ventilation systems in schools with an immediate need for air filtration brought on by a public health challenge, Aeroex proposes the use of fan filter units.

Fan filter units equipped with HEPA filter units provide both additional air circulation and air filtration thanks to the high performance filters. Typically a fan filter unit is installed in the ceiling but it can act as a standalone unit, rather than completely retrofitting an existing system. A fan filter unit will easily integrate into the conduits of existing utilities in a school. The ease of installation and the comparable performance to upgraded ventilation with filter retrofits make fan filter units the clear choice. A fan filter unit will give the same result for less money! 

 

The AIR FIT Fan Filter Unit

Fan filter units like Aeroex’s Air Fit come equipped with HEPA units. Designed for a range of uses including clean rooms in healthcare or specialty manufacturing, the Air Fit is known to meet the requirements of critical industries. And what is more critical than keeping our kids safe? Money should be no object, but in a resource constrained school system fan filter units are the clear choice to meet the current shortfalls of our school ventilation systems when compared to more costly ventilation retrofits.

 

Contact Aeroex To Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about our advocacy for clean air, public education, and the proper use of air purification systems, check out our social media. To get in touch with the team or learn more about our fan filter units, visit our website to contact us today.

 

Mist Collectors

Mist Extraction for CNC Machining

Employing the use of an mist extraction system in tandem with regular CNC machining equipment operations can aid in preventing risks that you may not easily identify with the naked eye. Luckily, Aeroex Technologies engineered mist collection systems are built with the unique needs of CNC equipment processes in mind. Our mist collectors effectively remove mist from the workplace environment to ensure your machine operators and facility equipment are not exposed to health and operational risks down the line. 

 

In this blog we uncover the mist extraction needs unique to CNC machining and how Aeroex Technologies’ offers a reliable and efficient mist collection system tailor-made to meet these needs. 

The Important Role of CNC Machining Processes for Manufacturing 

 

CNC machining equipment plays a fundamental role in manufacturing for their ability to produce accurate and specific parts by turning raw materials into final products. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control, which represents two standard methods (3D printing technology and FDM) to build prototypes all from a computer software file. CNC machining has been used to manufacture a range of materials including wood, metals, and plastics.

 

Unfortunately, a common byproduct of CNC machining is chip formation. Chip formation occurs when the machine tool makes contact with the edge of the material that is being worked on. Common with CNC machining processes such as milling, grinding, honing, and turning – chip formation is imminent. Chip formation can detriment the production process leading to shortened tool life, stoppages, lack-luster surface finishes, and can increase the likelihood of safety hazards from occurring. 

 

Many CNC machine operations will employ the use of a high-pressure coolant to deal with chip formation control. High-pressure coolants offer a myriad of benefits when it comes to controlling chip formation, but an unfortunate byproduct is that it leads to the dispersion of coolant mist into the air which can lead to slick work environments, and post significant health risks to facility personnel as well as to other equipment in your facility. 

 

It is for this reason that effectively controlling the dispersion of coolant mist is regulated by OSHA, NIOSH, ACHGI, and Health Canada. All of these governing bodies dictate legislation to limit exposure to harmful workplace pollutants like oil and coolant mist. 

 

Health Risks Associated with Coolant Mist Exposure 

 

Exposure to coolant mist and toxic fumes include irritation of the eyes, skin, mouth, and throat, and can lead to other symptoms like headache, shortness of breath, fever, rapid heart rate and vomiting. Persistent and unchecked long-term exposure to oil and coolant mist can increase the likelihood of developing more serious respiratory and skin diseases including cancer.

 

Despite the growing trend toward the regular use of high-pressure coolant for CNC machining applications, there has been a gap for a solution that effectively filters through the airborne particulate that high-pressure coolants disperse into the working environment. 

Aeroex Technologies’ Mist Extraction for CNC Machining Solution

 

Because CNC machining utilizes 3D printing technology, the team of experts at Aeroex Technologies have conducted extensive research to inform engineering efforts when it comes to addressing the types of mist and fumes emitted by 3D printing. Paying special attention to factors like composition and quantity, the Aeroex team understood the importance that source capture extraction systems play in the more modular processes in which 3D printing emits mist and fumes. 

 

Source capture filtration effectively and efficiently mitigates dispersion of harmful mists and fumes from being emitted into the working environment, as it is captured at the source. Ambient filtration in contrast, collects unwanted airborne particulates that have not been filtered immediately via source capture filtration. Depending on your facility needs, employing the use of both ambient and source capture filtration might be the best solution for you. We recommend reaching out to learn more about how Aeroex Technologies can propose a mist collection system that meets your unique facility needs. 

 

How the Mist-Fit Meets the Unique Filtration Needs for CNC Machining Processes

 

Aeroex’s line of Mist-Fit mist collection systems have been engineered to mitigate risk of oil and coolant mist exposure for CNC machining applications. Benefits of selecting the Mist-Fit for your facility include:

 

  • Multiple stage filtration to ensure high efficiency and avoid plugging from occurring 
  • Less maintenance and more cost effective due to longer filter life
  • Option to select a 4th-stage HEPA filter to capture extra fine mist particulates 
  • Compact, modular design and multiple direct mounting options make the Mist-Fit highly adaptive and easy to install
  • Canadian-based and engineered to yield high-quality results and service

 

Aeroex Technologies’ team of engineers are able to assess your shop’s needs to offer a high-quality mist collection solution that is economical, highly efficient, and made with CNC machining equipment in mind. Our dedication to offering high-quality mist collector products is matched by our commitment to customer service. 

 

If you’re looking for a mist extraction solution for your facility, consider the Mist-Fit line of mist collectors and request a quote today!

Mist Collectors

Mist Collector Based on Calculated Airflow

Mist Collector Based on Calculated Airflow

Oil and coolant mist collectors are often defined by the smallest particle size they can filter, but calculated airflow is just as important. In fact, focusing on filtration size or failing to consider other factors like airflow may be leading to less than optimal performance. Filtration size might be the right starting point, but we’ll go over some of the reasons why you need to consider airflow when using oil and coolant mist collectors for industrial air filtration. 

What Is Air Flow and Why Is It Important for Industrial Air Filtration

In the context of industrial air filtration, airflow describes the nature and rate at which air is circulated and discharged using a mechanical ventilation system. This could be across a facility, within a particular production room, or in a machine enclosure. Airflow is measured using units of volume (e.g. cubic feet or meters) and time (e.g. minutes or seconds). Aeroex uses cubic feet per minute (or “cfm”) as its standard unit of measurement. Airflow also has a direction or vector, such as from areas of high to low pressure or from a source of forced air to a source of air capture. The direction, volume, and velocity of airflow all play important factors in the performance and outcomes of your filtration scheme. 

Airflow is important for industrial air filtration because it is a key determinant of the ability to capture or mitigate the effects of airborne contamination caused by industrial processes like machining. This can be true both at the macro level for a large facility or at the source of a single machine. Consider the following examples.

Example #1 – Air Flow Considerations for Source Control Applications 

You are machining at high cycles and use coolants or lubricants to maintain the temperature of your tools, but need to maintain visibility or prevent the over-accumulation of oils and mists. Therefore, your ventilation and oil mist collection system will need to recycle the enclosure every few seconds. By extension, your oil mist collector needs to have the airflow capacity to do so. The “direction” of airflow is of less concern here because it is a closed system with source control. Aeroex often recommends source control solutions because contaminants are captured quickly before they are released into the shop atmosphere where they disperse – you can often capture at the source with less airflow than what is required under ambient conditions. 

Example #2 – Air Flow Considerations for Ambient Control Solutions 

You may use an ambient control method for air filtration when source control is not feasible – for example, some grinding applications without enclosures may not achieve 100% success with source control. Ambient control is also used as a “finishing” method complementing source control to achieve the cleanest possible air. Here, you need to consider the entire volume of the room rather than just an enclosure, and you also need to consider the direction of airflow relative to your air filtration system. The placement of different sinks and sources of ventilation will determine the overall flow in a facility, and proper engineering is needed to ensure the entire room is circulated. If there are corners circulated less frequently or at limited capacity then there are areas of higher risk. Ambient control often requires high airflow because you will be recycling an entire room of air, usually several times per hour.

Engineering the airflow of a room or facility is a complex topic, and deploying an industrial air filtration system may mean consulting an engineer – Aeroex has experienced staff who can make sure any deployment is planned properly. The below figure depicts some examples of common airflow dynamics.

 

Figure – Types of Air Flow Dynamics for Planning Ambient Industrial Air Filtration (Source: Building Performance Institute

Risks of Inadequate or Mismatched Air Flow

Performance is often described in terms of the smallest size of particles captured by a filter, but if your oil mist collector cannot deliver the required airflow then the contaminants are not being removed at a rate that can ensure the quality or safety you expect. The filters selected can impinge on airflow, especially among cheaper membrane filters without the proper screening or depth loading to prevent clogging or deliver higher volumes of air. While filters may often guarantee using things like the HEPA standard, an improperly sized filter will negatively impact the air flow generated. Once airflow is restricted, contaminants will bypass the filter and carry into the airspace downstream of your filtration system – an outcome your filtration system was intended to prevent. For this reason, Aeroex uses depth-loading filters and provides a wide range of capacity options, ranging anywhere from hundreds of cubic feet per minute to thousands. 

While it’s common among other suppliers to be overpromised on a system with inadequate airflow, you also want to avoid overpaying for capacity you don’t need at additional cost. 

Why Is Filtration Size Mistakenly Emphasized Over Airflow?

Within the industrial air filtration space, we often speak in terms of particle size because it’s something all applications can relate to. Contaminant particle size, within a theoretical range, is common to all applications. While particle size can vary with temperature, dispersion method, etc, its chemical composition means that particle size will be within an accepted range. This means that the design and business case of a filtration system can relate to everyone via consideration of particle size. This commonality creates a shared language but can omit the factors that make each situation unique (notably your airflow requirements).

Airflow will depend on your enclosure size, amount of oils and coolants being applied, machine type and technique used, desired air exchange frequency, etc. At the ambient level, you will also need to consider the size and orientation of the facility, along with the other airflow contributors. 

Get The Right Airflow Advice

So, while filtration size can start the conversation, don’t make the mistake of not selecting your mist collector based on calculated airflow. At Aeroex, we will diligently and patiently understand all your needs including calculated airflow to recommend the right mist collector. If you want to learn more or get started, contact Aeroex today.

Air Purification

Air Filtration Explained

Important Facts About Air Filters and Filtration

Aeroex is continuing our campaign to arm you with facts about air purification! You can use the same information we use to design our purification systems to understand the types of filters companies offer and the underlying filtration technology used.

Filter Type and Filter Depth

In our last blog, we discussed what air purification is and the importance of not just looking at filter efficiency but also the capacity of filtering a sufficient volume of air to achieve your target number of air exchanges. Another important factor in air purification performance is the filter depth and material.

 

Previously, we explained the HEPA industry standard. HEPA certifies a filter as being capable of capturing 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles, usually achieved through a series of randomly aligned fibers. Unfortunately, the HEPA standard only certifies the ability of a filter to perform this filtration under ideal conditions and does not certify the long-term performance of the filter. This leads to filters that technically meet the HEPA standard but not your expectations for performance. The common distinction for systems are whether they use depth filters or membrane filters.

Comparing Depth Filters and Membrane Filters

While depth filters and membrane filters can both be HEPA certified, they do not operate the same. Membrane filters are thin but intricate, stopping nearly all particles above the uniform filter size. Unfortunately, they also clog easily because only a small amount of filter media is available. Conversely, a depth-loading filter has a much “thicker” interface for contaminant particles, creating more filtration opportunities. The nature of depth loading means this does not clog the filter and impede performance.

 

Source: G.J. Curiel, H.L.M. Lelieveld, in Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology

Don’t Get Stuck With Cheap Pleated Filters!

Membrane filters in other industries have many essential uses but in air purification, membrane filters tend to be cheap pleated HEPA filters that clog easily. So, it is common to see claims about the performance of the HEPA standard that ignore how often these filters need to be replaced. It is for this reason that Aeroex instead uses a depth-loading filter along with multi-stage filtration – so that when you pay for a HEPA filter, you are using its true purpose of only removing the smallest particles. 

 

When you see a discussion of HEPA filters, remember the information shared by Aeroex and other trusted sources! If you ever have questions about the science of air purification, do not hesitate to contact Aeroex.

Air Purification

Air Filtration 101

Common Misconceptions about Air Quality

Indoor air quality is widely recognized as a key strategy for mitigating airborne viruses, but in the rush to learn about air purification there have been instances of disinformation or misleading claims about what works and what doesn’t. Aeroex has been in the business for over 20 years but we are seeing newcomers jump on the COVID opportunity, misleading their customers. We want to arm you with the facts so you can restore confidence in the promises of air purification. 

What is Air Purification?

Air purification is the process of filtering and removing suspended particles. So, air purification relies on ways of removing these particles, most commonly through filtration. While this seems simple, the range of pollutant types and particle sizes means air purification quickly gets challenging without the right tools.

So If Some Bad Particles Are Small, All You Need Is A Small Enough Filter Right?

Wrong! Understanding particle science is the first step but it misses something. Having a very fine filter is good, but if it can’t filter particles faster than they are spreading you’re not sufficiently purifying the space. This is why air exchanges are important, the frequency that a volume of filtered air is replaced – it must be higher than the source in order to maintain air purification (depicted below). Often, many times that frequency. Not to mention factors like the volume of the facility/room. Before doing a detailed analysis of airflow, it’s good to start with a simple calculation of air volume in a room.

 

Source: Hong Kong Training Portal on Infectious Control

 

Know Your Filters

Companies may try to confuse you with proprietary naming, but knowing the international standards for filtration will help you navigate their claims. The two main types you should know are MERV and HEPA. MERV is a standard certified by the EPA for 95% particles from 10 to 0.3 microns – for some applications, this is effective enough. HEPA goes further, capturing 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles. Start by learning the particle size of your contaminants and reference this against the filter rating. Consider this in the context of other filter characteristics like filtration type (pleated membrane vs depth filter, another Aeroex passion!) and air handling capacity (commonly measured in cubic feet per minute).

Don’t Be Fooled

Air exchanges are a critical factor many vendors conveniently ignore – you can have the best filter for small contaminant particles in the world and if it doesn’t have air exchange capacity your room could be full of impurities. And, this is before even considering how to handle a ranging mixture of particle sizes! At best this leads to the wrong purchase, but at worst many people are making decisions with false promises that risk health and safety. Make sure to consider both filter size and exchange rate, plus the many other tips Aeroex has. Stay tuned for more!

 

Air Purification

Microbial Limits for Clean Rooms in Canada

The use of clean rooms for sterilization and air purification is a global practice that has expanded with new technologies, increasing expectations for safety in traditional sectors like pharmaceuticals, and expanding applications in industries like nanotechnology. However, each sector and jurisdiction can have varying requirements. This is clearly demonstrated by ISO 14644 – Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments, which provides nine levels of classification for clean rooms (each with a magnitude difference in particle concentrations). What can be considered a “clean room” in one jurisdiction or sector may be considered vastly above or below a standard or regulation in another sector. So, it is important to understand what are the microbial limits for clean rooms in Canada or neighboring jurisdictions like the United States, and therefore what air purification you will need to meet the microbial limit.

Canadian Microbial Limits for Clean Rooms 

Canadian requirements for microbial limits and clean room conditions are determined by the Health Canada through the Food and Drug Act and the embedded regulations. Clean room requirements are described in Food and Drug Regulations (C.R.C., c. 870). Division 2 for Good Manufacturing Practices includes a definition of Sterile Products which requires manufacturing in separate and enclosed areas under the supervision of personnel trained in microbiology by a method scientifically proven to ensure sterility. Note this does not explicitly state the need for a clean room although a clean room is an obvious way to meet this definition.

 

It is not until a supporting document to the Canadian regulation that clean rooms are explained. The Good Manufacturing Practices Guide for Drug Products (GUI-0001) includes an annex specific to clean rooms and other sterile manufacturing requirements. Here, Health Canada defines four types of clean rooms (note this differs from the ISO standard which uses 9 definitions). However, Health Canada references the equivalent ISO standard and also requires the use of ISO methods for sampling and demonstrating clean room conditions. Health Canada also takes a nuanced approach by distinguishing clean room limits when the facility is “at rest” versus when operations are ongoing. The four levels of microbial limits for clean rooms in Canada are:

 

  • Grade A – Limits of 3,520 particles per cubic meter with a size of 0.5μm or greater.
  • Grade B – Has the same limits of 3,520 particles per cubic meter with a size of 0.5μm or greater as Grade A, but allows for a higher tabulated size (20 in Grade A vs 29 in Grade B). This is equivalent in concentration and size to the ISO-5 standard of ISO 14644.
  • Grade C – Limits of 352,000 particles per cubic meter with a size of 0.5μm or greater. This is equivalent to the ISO-7 standard.
  • Grade D – Limits of 3,520,000 particles per cubic meter with a size of 0.5μm or greater. This is equivalent to the ISO-8 standard. 

American Microbial Limits for Clean Rooms

Aeroex also supports American industries and suppliers subject to American regulations. Those familiar with the Canadian system of regulation will see similarities to the American counterpart. Per the Houston Chronicle’s small business guide, clean room requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration are provided through the Current Good Manufacturing Practices series of regulations. Specifically, Code of Regulation 210 and 211 provide requirements for the production of sterile products, notably for:

 

  • Equipment for control over air pressure, micro-organisms, dust, and humidity.
  • Air filtration systems, including prefilters and particulate matter air filters.

 

This set of regulations provides the “overhead” requirements. Additional requirements are typically attached to individual product approvals. 

 

Beyond these regulatory requirements, Aeroex understands that clean rooms can have varying requirements and challenges for different types of industry applications. Read more here to learn how we are considering and tackling these applications. 

How to meet the Canadian Microbial Limits for Clean Rooms

The Air-Fit by Aeroex is a ceiling-mounted fan filtration unit that delivers air circulation with a centrifugal fan and filtration using HEPA filters to meet all clean room standards. The use of HEPA filters guarantees an efficiency rating of 99.99% for particles as small as 0.3 μm, delivering high volumes of HEPA filtered air to your clean room! The Air-Fit should be incorporated into a clean room design for a given standard of air purification, depending on the desired or regulated microbial limits. It is notable from the above discussion that Canada uses a 0.5um particle size threshold, whereas some industries in the United States only go to a 1.0um particle size. The Air-Fit is equipped to exceed Canadian standards by filtering particles as small as 0.3 μm (there is evidence HEPA is effective for smaller particles than this too but this is not guaranteed). 

 

Given the efficiency and particle size threshold of the Air-Fit, Canadian standards for clean rooms can be achieved. The deployment method of the Air-Fit will depend on the size of the facility and required air handling. Aeroex offers different sizes of units ranging from 500 to 1000 cubic feet per minute of capacity and can incorporate multiple units in a series to fully augment your existing mechanical ventilation system. A central control panel is provided in these instances to allow you to monitor and configure multiple units simultaneously.

Ready to Help You Meet Microbial Limits for Clean Rooms in Canada

All our Aeroex units are designed and manufactured in Canada. We support a wide range of Canadian industries and value our local partners. Aeroex is committed to meeting your regulated requirements in a way that provides you the maximum value. If you are seeking a partner in clean room air purification, contact Aeroex today to help us understand your unique needs.

 

Mist Collectors

Mist Collection – Coolant vs. Oil Applications

Comparing Oil and Coolant Applications in Machining for Mist Collection

Cutting and shaping metal through machining is an intense process that generates significant amounts of heat, creating implications for shops to perform these operations at scale. This is a well understood constraint on modern machining and there are strategies in place to deal with this. Given the amount of heat generated during the machining process, it’s very common to use oil lubricants or water-soluble coolants in your machining process to either reduce the heat generated or mitigate the impact of heat generated. 

What Are The Benefits of Lubricants Versus Coolants?

For each operation, a shop will choose which fluids make the most sense given the type of machining, material type, past experience, etc. Each choice of coolant or lubricant will have different outcomes for your process, and for the safety and quality risks posed by mists in your shop when these fluids are used. Aeroex understands the range of fluids machining shops use and considers the properties of each when recommending a mist collector or industrial air purification solution. Here are a few things to consider:

Considerations for Oil Lubricants

Oils are relatively viscous fluids, meaning that the friction between their particles is greater than the surfaces they interact with. This is what makes oils “slippery”, making them an excellent lubricant for machining. By reducing friction between surfaces and workpieces, less heat is generated during machining. Note that if any heat is generated in spite of a lubricant, the oil will not reduce the heat. Lubricant can be applied during machining or with a coating layer on the tool itself. 

 

Oil lubricants come in a range of viscosities ranging from low viscosity to high viscosity. The goal of each is the same – to reduce friction and heat generation during machining. A fluid that is too thick can make your machines work harder, leading to wear and tear because of undue effort. However, if the oil is too thin, it may not be sufficient enough to prevent friction and create lubrication. In any machine operation, a balancing act is needed to select the right lubricant for the job.

 

Perhaps most importantly, oil is a combustible and volatile fluid. If for some reason too much heat is generated and the flashpoint is reached, lubricants can ignite. So, any machining operation and oil collection solution needs to account for these fire prevention and safety considerations. Oil lubricants can also lead to smoke along with volatilized mist, meaning that your air purification system will need to be able to capture these particles.

Considerations for Coolants

Coolants are the second major category of fluids to use in machining that will help you manage potential heat generation and can keep your machines operating. There are a number of differences when compared to lubricants that add considerations for selecting machining fluids.

 

Coolants differ from oil lubricants in that they take heat away only after it is generated, rather than preventing it in the first place like oils would. While heat generation occurs, the coolants continually keep the cutting zone at a lower temperature. The main benefit of a coolant is that it does not risk ignition, which allows more opportunities to scale up your machining operations without risk of fire hazards or added resources for monitoring.  

 

Some coolants are compromised of oil diluted with water, which can lead to corrosion depending on the material of your machine or the product. The diluted nature of these coolants means they have less lubricity than their synthetic counterparts, limiting their use to lighter applications. Water-based coolants also have odor problems caused by bacteria depending on how they are used and stored. There are also synthetic lubricants, which are popular for precision machining but risk generating smoke (another air quality concern). 

Managing your Lubricants and Coolants With A Mist Collector

Your choice of lubricant versus coolant is likely to depend on your shop, the materials you are using, what operations you are running (e.g. drilling, milling, tapping, etc.), and how much heat is being generated. With each choice, it’s important to be aware of the dynamics of the fluids you are working with and how best to manage risks to your shop. Aeroex has been in the business of mist collection for more than twenty years and has studied the market to provide you with customized solutions that meet your performance expectations. 

Aeroex Mist Collectors: Mist-Fit and ARO Series

The Mist-Fit is Aeroex’s most popular option for lubricants and coolants for a reason. Its compact and modular design means it’s ready for deployment in any shop, and it’s easily configurable – for example, if you are using lubricants or coolants at different phases of your operation. A three-stage progressive filtration system uses mechanical elements to catch most of the product before finishing with a depth-loading fiber bed filter with MERV 15 rating to capture the hard-to-get oil mists that can cause problems in your shop. Our Canadian engineers have included a number of design features that promote drainage, limit filter changes, and prevent clogging. Mist-Fit is a great value choice for day-to-day machining with coolants and light oil lubricants. If you are using synthetic oils, we may recommend an optional four-stage HEPA filter to capture the sub-micron smoke and vapor particles. There is also an optional odor control for issues mentioned earlier. 

 

The ARO Series incorporates all of the design and quality of life features known and loved in the Mist-Fit. The ARO Series has added capacity for heavy machinery using thick oils that need near-constant runtimes without disruptions for filter changes, maintenance, or clogging. The ARO is the premium choice for the virtual elimination of smoke and mist at scale, delivering up to 4000 cfm and potentially accommodating multiple machines simultaneously.

Solutions for Oil and Coolant Applications

At Aeroex, we will not push “one-size fits all” solutions on you. We value the time and patience of learning your specific challenges and getting consensus on a solution that is best for your situation. Oils and coolants present different challenges for machine operations and shop management, and we will work to fit right in with the corresponding oil mist collector that is right for you. To help us understand your needs, contact Aeroex today.

 

Air Purification

Environmental Monitoring of Clean Rooms

Environmental Monitoring of Clean Rooms

The performance standards of clean rooms and clean room air purification systems are often an area of significant focus for those in the environmental health and safety industries. This is often in reference to decisions about the design of facilities, or standards and regulations when making decisions about what industries to service and what infrastructure this requires. However, when was the last time you thought about how your existing systems are performing? In industries where clean rooms are used, deploying a system for your intended level of service is not sufficient assurance unless you have also tested its configuration to meet your standard and conduct ongoing monitoring to confirm ongoing compliance. Without monitoring, it is impossible to know whether the system you are using is meeting the promised standard and if you are in continued compliance with a regulatory requirement or supplier agreement. Therefore, the environmental monitoring of clean rooms is an important consideration for Aeroex and those in the quality or health and safety industries. 

Requirements for Environmental Monitoring

Some regulatory environments require ongoing environmental monitoring, meaning that irrespective of the benefits (see below) you will need to do it. You should be aware of your ongoing monitoring requirements at the outset when establishing a clean room. 

 

In Canada, Annex 1 to the Good Manufacturing Practices Guide (GUI-0119) outlines how to do monitoring depending on the class of clean room you operate, with higher levels requiring constant monitoring and lower levels requiring more periodic monitoring. There is some flexibility in sample size when compared to the definitions in ISO 14644. In the United States, an independent standard was maintained until 2001 when the General Services Administration adopted ISO 14644 for internal use as the standard for environmental monitoring of clean rooms.

Benefits of Environmental Monitoring of Clean Rooms

Environmental monitoring of your clean room may seem like an added expense or undue workload when it is first considered. However, this proactive measure brings many benefits to the organization and the client. It can even help save you money or find opportunities. Some of the benefits include:

 

  • Performance Guarantees. If you have a good supplier of air purification systems like Aeroex, your purchase agreement will likely include expectations about the minimum standard of performance under ideal operating conditions. 
  • Items Under Warranty You may also have purchased a limited or extended warranty. If you do not check the performance of your air purification system through clean room environmental monitoring, you may miss a malfunctioning part that could be easily replaced under your warranty. Take advantage of the warranty with monitoring for signs of any issues. 
  • Save Money on Filters Changes and Purification System Maintenance Even with Aeroex air purification systems that use large volumes of filter media to prolong filter changes and avoid clogging, all systems eventually require filter changes. Typically, manufacturers will provide approximate timelines between changes but how do you know when exactly to do so? Some environments with heavy contaminants require frequent changes to keep performance up to par while others may last longer than expected due to other beneficial sterilization measures taking place. If you do environmental monitoring, you can use the changes in conditions to correspond with a change in filter with clear justification. So long as you meet performance standards, you may be able to save money by waiting on a filter change. 
    • Clean Room Design Features. Air purification systems are one aspect of clean room design, and performance is impacted by other features like airlocks, doors and furnishings, appliances, garments, etc. If environmental monitoring shows a slide in performance and your air purification system is fully functional you may need to take a look at the other clean room inputs. Continued monitoring during retrofits can help to quantify the benefits of changes you make to your clean room operation or detect when a new process positively or adversely impacts your environment. 
  • Compliance. Environmental monitoring logs can help to easily demonstrate compliance with a regulatory requirement or supplier agreement, or even to prepare you for an ISO 14644 certification.
  • Data. When you perform environmental monitoring, the data you get provides an immediate snapshot into the state of your clean room and air purification systems. However, the value of this data grows over time as it turns from a snapshot to a historical trend report. As you get more data, you will be able to see trends in how your clean room performs which can lead to inquiries that result in failure finding, root cause analysis, optimizations and savings, etc. 

How to Conduct Environmental Monitoring

The aforementioned GUI-0119 provides practical advice on how to conduct environmental monitoring. Devices like portable particle counters can be used, provided that the tubing is not too long (which can cause condensation in the tubing while traveling to the sampler). The unidirectional airflow requirement of high-level clean rooms can pose additional sampling challenges, resulting in the need for isokinetic sample heads. A monitoring system could use multiple airborne sampling points, which could feed one or more particle counters. Typically, the system used depends on the expected particle sizes you will encounter and are trying to regulate. Some materials have greater risks, such as radiopharmaceuticals. 

 

Once you have selected the equipment you wish to use, you will want to create a sampling plan including identifying the particle types you need to detect, designating your sample points, and establishing a baseline of background conditions. Once operational, continue monitoring while recording your sanitation practices as well as any issues you detect.

 

Your Clean Room Experts

At Aeroex we are advocates for environmental monitoring of clean rooms. We design our systems for a long life of high performance and know models like the Air-Fit will hold up to continued monitoring. We are partners committed to your success and appreciate any dialogue or observations that come out of your monitoring efforts. When selecting your clean room air purification system, we will keep environmental monitoring considerations front of mind and make recommendations about how best to achieve your targets. If you are seeking a partner committed to the long-term success of your clean rooms, contact Aeroex today.

Air Purification

Clean Room Classification Chart

Clean Room Classification Chart

Clean rooms are widely understood as engineered spaces within facilities that have stringent levels of sterilization and air purification. But what actually defines a clean room? Clean rooms are a general term for what are actually a series of room types with meaningful differences in the level of service provided, and what constitutes a “clean room” will vary significantly by industry or application. What is considered clean room for a less stringent industry may be wholly inadequate for precision applications like nanotechnology. Definitions of clean rooms can also raise issues when supplier agreements or legislative requirements expect a certain level of cleanliness, or when trying to validate the claims or guarantees of a technology or a clean room service. It is for this reason that clean room classifications and classification charts are an important industry source of standardization.

Industry Standard Clean Room Classification

Aeroex is fully aligned with the international best practices for clean room classification. ISO 14644 provides a series of standards for clean room classification and cleanliness. There are fourteen documents within the series that cover topics including design, microbial air concentrations, testing methods, particle sizes concentrations, and air cleanliness. Notably, ISO 14644-1 provides clean room classifications by air cleanliness. Aeroex uses ISO 14644-1 when designing clean room air purification systems like the Air-Fit or when working with clients on a deployment plan for their target level of clean room classification. See below for Aeroex’s industry-standard clean room classification chart:

How to Read and Use the Clean Room Classification

The clean room classification chart provides 9 classes of clean rooms. These are itemized down the side as ISO-1 to ISO-9, the definitions provided by ISO 14644. Here, ISO-9 is the “dirtiest” and ISO-1 is the “cleanest”. 

Across the top are a series of particle size concentrations, measured in microns (depicted as μm). A micron is a particle 1×10−6 meters in length. Particle sizes considered by ISO 14644 range from 0.1 to 5.0 μm, meaning these particles are very small. This is why Aeroex air purification systems like the Air Fit use HEPA filters capable of removing 99.99% of particles as small as 0.3 μm. These particle size concentrations list the maximum allowable number of particles of the given size category within a cubic meter of air in a clean room.

To read the table, start with your required ISO classification target, and read across. In each column with a value, the number listed in the cell corresponds to the total number of particles of that micron/sub-micron size within a cubic meter of the room. Note that each clean room classification allows a few similar particle size categories, which is reflective of most size distributions for contaminants. These values should be used as the basis for your targets in designing your clean room, selecting your air purification technology, or monitoring your air quality for ISO compliance.

There are a number of ways to use the clean room classification chart depending on your progress with implementing your clean room. You may be in the very early stages of designing your clean room and may wish to study the different levels from ISO-1 to ISO-9 used in industries you could support as clients. Or, a regulatory requirement in your industry may be informing your target. Even after your clean room is designed, operators continue to reference the chart when monitoring their performance.

Transitioning from FED STD 209E

FED STD 209E is the American precursor to ISO 14644. Titled Airborne Particulate Cleanliness Classes in Cleanrooms and Cleanzones, 209E was superseded by the new international standard. Some legacy applications still work with 209E, and Aeroex is comfortable working with both classification charts interchangeably as needed. The corresponding 209E equivalent is provided in our chart for reference.

Why are Clean Room Classifications Important?

Understanding the various contaminant limits for different levels of clean rooms or different jurisdictions are important to help manage your business and maintain your facility. By knowing how to navigate the various standards, you can keep your business resilient and positioned to get new opportunities. Consider the following reasons:

 

  • It’s the Law. In regulated jurisdictions like pharmaceutical manufacturing, government agencies set specific standards for sterilization and air purification that need to be followed. Knowing what designation from the chart is expected will inform the clean room air purification system you require along with other design features. 
  • ISO Certification and Business Reputation. When you establish a clean room for a given cleanliness standard, you can request an evaluation to receive ISO certification. By obtaining the ISO certification, your business will rise in reputation for having an internationally trusted endorsement of the level of service you provide. 
  • Adaptable to Changes in Standards. With increasing evidence of the benefits of workplace safety, sterilized conditions, etc., what is considered the “minimum” requirement for microbial limits may not be the same tomorrow or in the future. Working to exceed the limits or knowing the thresholds can “future proof” your business by preparing you in advance for any regulatory or supplier changes.
  • Secure Your Clients.  Many jurisdictions are not legally regulated to establish clean room conditions but their business cannot function without one! This is notable in industries like nanotechnology and optical manufacturing. Establishing and monitoring a clean room with a concentration limit from the chart will help to secure your clients or achieve the conditions of any supplier agreements. 
  • Support Emerging Technologies and Industry. There are emerging business cases for new applications of clean rooms, such as during the production of solar panel components where impurities can lead to inefficient energy conversion. Monitoring the industries and being prepared to meet their required microbial limits can help you win new business. 

Find More Clean Room Resources

Aeroex is committed to the advancement of the clean room industry and providing our clients with the best advice. Our products are designed by engineers and manufactured in Canada. Visit our website to find other resources similar to the classification chart and contact Aeroex today to get expert advice firsthand. 

Posts navigation