Despite fire and smoke curtains becoming increasingly popular fire-safety solutions for a wide range of buildings, from retail and residential to office and manufacturing facilities, they have until now been unable to meet the exacting requirements for cleanrooms.
The new FireMaster Cleanroom fire curtain from Coopers Fire is the world’s first active fire curtain certified as suitable for all types of cleanroom environments. Offering 2 hours of fire resistance, the FireMaster Cleanroom fire curtain offers designers of cleanrooms the flexibility to help create open-plan environments already afforded to more traditional manufacturing facilities.
What is a cleanroom?
Cleanroom environments are needed in a variety of industries such as pharmaceutical, microelectronics, aerospace, food, medical and telecoms. To prevent contamination during the manufacturing process, cleanrooms place stringent controls on the level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapours. This is usually specified by the number of particles per cubic metre at a specified particle size.
For use in cleanrooms all materials must be non-shedding and non-absorbent. Ledges, cracks, crevices and inaccessible places which gather dust and are difficult to clean must be minimised as far as practical. All exposed surfaces must be compatible with and easily cleaned with common cleaning and disinfectant chemicals routinely used in hospitals and biological research facilities, and all exposed surfaces must be compatible with occasional Hydrogen Peroxide Vapour (HPV) treatment of the rooms.
Why fire curtains?
Although cleanrooms can be very large, containing entire manufacturing facilities across several factory floors and covering thousands of square metres, they still require fire compartmentation. Fire curtains give designers a modern alternative to non-load-bearing fire walls, fire doors and fire-rated glazing, offering them a means to help create modern, open-plan environments which are compliant with fire legislation. Fire-curtain barriers remain invisibly retracted until activated by an alarm or detector signal, at which time they descend safely to their operational position.
Fire curtains are proven for use in a range of traditional manufacturing premises. They offer greater flexibility, enabling designers to meet the needs of highly automated manufacturing facilities and helping to provide open-plan manufacturing and warehouse facilities. Such facilities often require a smaller operational workforce, and freedom of movement for the workforce, components and finished product.
Fire curtains can be used to protect plant areas and production facilities where multiple individual machines are operated by a limited number of operatives. They can protect production-line fire-break points, openings from one building to another where conveyor belts and tracks pass through, service- and goods-lift openings, roof lights and wells, and offer building boundary protection.
The FireMaster Cleanroom
Working with global cleanroom designers nPro, Coopers Fire has developed the FireMaster Cleanroom, a fire curtain suitable for use in a cleanroom environment, which offers 2 hours of fire resistance.
Manufactured from 316L-grade stainless steel, the FireMaster Cleanroom features a curtain that does not release particles in operation and features side guides that can be manually opened and closed for cleaning. Manufactured from materials resistant to harsh cleanroom cleaning chemicals, it can be fully deep cleaned whilst in situ in accordance with ISO 2812 (Paints and varnishes – Determination of resistance to liquids).
The FireMaster Cleanroom is certified as suitable for use in cleanrooms fulfilling the specifications of Air Cleanliness Class 6 according to ISO 14644-1. It has a Class C rating under the pharmaceutical industry’s Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards and is rated at 1,000 under US Federal standard 209E.
The chemical resistance of the curtain and headbox and side guides is tested according to ISO 4628-1. It is fire tested to BS EN 13501-2:2007+A1:2009 to provide an Integrity rating of E120 and EW120 for radiation.
The system’s Mono Control Unit is a compact, low-power-consumption, single-curtain controller with a complete range of incorporated ancillary control options. The system is completely ‘plug and play’, which means all wiring terminations can be connected quickly and efficiently, reducing installation times and complexity. The system also incorporates a ‘self-test’ facility, enabling it to monitor its performance, maintaining a safe system. Designed with out-of-room controls and accessories, it is suitable for both retrofit and new-build installations.
FireMaster Cleanroom fire curtains can replace fire-rated walls and doors allowing for open-plan designs and to protect non-fire-rated walls and glazing and openings in walls. As such they can be used to protect escape routes providing time for people to escape. They can also offer property, equipment and external boundary protection.
The cleanroom industry is unique in that it is not structured around a single product sector. As the number of industries that need cleanrooms to protect products and/or workers from airborne contaminants continues to grow, Coopers Fire is pleased to be able to offer cleanroom-compliant fire curtains as a flexible solution to improve fire safety, without compromising manufacturing efficiencies.
For more information, go to www.coopersfire.com