AirCare Automation

Resource Library

Read Our Industry-Relevant Whitepapers, Articles, and FAQs for Cleanroom Engineering

AirCare Automation works with your business, facilities manager, and fan filter unit provider to ensure your critical environment is complete with the management and monitoring solutions you require.

In the meantime, we offer these cleanroom industry trends and resources to provide as much support as possible.

Resource Library FAQs

Based on our experience working with a wide variety of clients across multiple industries, the following FAQ serves as a cleanroom engineering resource.

If you’re still stuck, visit our customer support page for more information on installation, training, repairs, setup, as well as contact information for our headquarters and sales team.

FFU (Fan Filter Units)

  • Redundancy in design for your filtration; if your AHU (air handling unit) goes down, the entire room goes down. An FFU provides the primary support you need for your cleanroom processes
  • Smaller AHUs
  • A variety of exceptional filter options
  • Energy efficiency

Manual

  • Turn on the FFU with the supplied three-speed switch.
  • Have the manufacturer supply a SSSC (solid-state speed control).

 

Network 

  • Connect directly to the FFU control board with Modbus RTU/BACnet MSTP/IP. You can connect to BAS directly or by using a gateway.

 

Network Local Control with PLC

  • The FFU will require a network card. You can supply an AirCare console to control units. If required, you can pass all data through to a BMS, as well.
Make sure you have a filter print for your product as a spare part. All manufactures have filter prints that they use when purchasing filters. Ask for the manufacturer’s name, and their print and part number. Buy extra filters for your project. It’s a good investment to purchase a few, as one bad filter can delay your room setup, as accidents happen. Refer to the manufacturer’s document for the step-by-step process to change the filter.

Yes, but you will not be able to read the RPM. You can install a relay or current sensor to provide a failure signal.

Motors and Control Cards

The best solution is to request units with motors, filters, and control cards that are accessible from the room-side. Avoid terms like benchtop or standard, which will require taking the entire unit out of the ceiling.

In most units, the control cards are located in an electrical box. There are two DIP switch settings on each card. One is set to network mode for controls. The second is for addressing the location of the unit on the screen of the control console or BMS.

Power

FLA will allow you to know how many units you can connect to a breaker switch. Most industrial breakers are 20 amps. Remember that you need to have 20% free on the breaker. A 20 amp 277 voltage unit on a 20-amp breaker is 1.2 FLAs, which is equivalent to 16 to 17 units per breaker. This should be listed on all units.
All manufacturers should supply comprehensive airflow charts that will provide you with wattage used at different airflows. They should supply charts with airflow, RPM CFM, and % PWM signals. Sound data will be based off of these readings as well.
If you have very stringent requirements for sound on your project, we recommend you consult an expert. From ambient noise in the room, to the location of fans next to each other, as well as BI and FC wheels, there are many cleanroom functions that create noise. Metal versus plastic create different frequencies. Sound is based upon an additive log. Ask for sound data that is specific to your requirements, and include airflow and filter types (HEPA, ULPA). Everything will affect the noise level.
In general, BI is more energy efficient than FC. ECM motors have different programming, depending on the application and airflow required (constant torque, constant airflow, speed program, etc.) Consult with your FFU supplier for the proper programming. If using constant CFM, ensure the fan programming will not stall due to differing airflows and or duct collars, VAV supply boxes, or changes in static pressure of supply air.
Motors today come in 120 to 208 volts (50/60 Hz) or 200 to 277 volts (50/60Hz). Some manufacturers supply a tri-voltage of 120 to 277 volts. However, you need to specify your voltage as 120, 110, or 277m because the factory has to set the motors for the proper voltage at the factory. The motor control boards and units come with a step-down transformer for the control boards. Always specify that units come with the transformer for supply voltage when ordering control boards.

Miscellaneous

Ask if motors, transformers, control cards are in stock and readily available. Contact AirCare Automation’s sales and customer support teams.

Yes. You should not buy a unit that does not have an agency listing. Always check company, local, municipal, state, and federal regulations. Refer to the independent agency testing laboratory codes:

In USA: UL, ETL, CUL
In Europe: CE
In Canada: CSA

AirCare Automation Is Your Resource for Cleanroom Management and Monitoring Controls

Industry-Relevant Resource Library

Patch Cables: Pre-Made Tested or On-site “cut & crimp”

Tradeoffs and Considerations

In the meticulously controlled environment of a cleanroom, every component must meet stringent standards to ensure optimal performance and safety. Among these components, patch cables play a crucial role in maintaining connectivity within the facility’s intricate network infrastructure. However, the decision to either make patch cables on-site or purchase pre-made ones comes with its own set of considerations and consequences.

Making Your Own Cables:

One of the primary arguments in favor of crafting patch cables on-site is the potential for cost savings. By purchasing bulk cable and connectors separately, cleanroom facilities can significantly reduce material costs compared to buying pre-made cables. Additionally, the ability to customize cable lengths according to specific requirements offers a level of flexibility that pre-made cables may not provide.

However, the process of making cables on-site requires skilled technicians and entails additional expenses in terms of labor and time. To process cables on-site each cable must be carefully crimped, tested for impedance, and verified for continuity to ensure reliability (rarely done on-site). Despite meticulous efforts, empirical results indicate that approximately 5% of on-site crimping may result in faulty cables. Moreover, for every 100 cables worked on, it’s estimated that as many as 10 cables may require further attention or troubleshooting.

Benefits: Low Material Cost                          

Customization of cable length                                  

On-site real time layout adjusting                           

Long term reliability

Drawbacks:   Installed cable faults/error

Advanced technician labor required

Higher installation and commissioning costs

Buying Pre-Made Cables:

Pre-made cables offer the convenience of being cut to specific lengths and professionally crimped and tested for both impedance and continuity. This eliminates the need for on-site labor (assembly of the cables) and reduces the potential for human error in the crimping process (5% of on-site crimps are faulty[1]). With pre-made cables, cleanroom facilities can streamline installation processes and minimize the risk of downtime due to faulty connection. It is estimated that for every 100 FFU installed a potential savings of up to half-day of high-level installation/troubleshooting can be saved by using pre-made cables.

Benefits:        

Plug & Play (reduced resource / set-up time)       

Quality & Reliability                                                                                 

On-site reduced tech support                                                                 

Drawbacks:  Higher Cost

limited customization

Stock pre-made cables

Consideration of Costs and Efficiency:

While the allure of cost savings from making cables on-site may initially seem appealing, the long-term implications paint a different picture. The expense of skilled technician talent, along with the time required to complete the cables, can quickly add up. With installation and commissioning costs often exceeding $1,000 per day, the cumulative effect of additional installation engineering overhead and extra troubleshooting costs may far exceed any potential savings in cable material.

Conclusion:

In the high-stakes environment of cleanroom operations, the choice between making patch cables on-site or purchasing pre-made solutions requires careful consideration of both immediate costs and long-term efficiency. While on-site cable crafting offers customization and potential material savings, the inherent risks of human error and additional expenses associated with skilled labor may outweigh these benefits. Pre-made cables, despite their higher upfront cost, offer reliability, consistency, and streamlined installation processes that can ultimately contribute to the overall efficiency and integrity of cleanroom operations.

AirCare Automation recognizes the above tradeoff and is implementing programs to address these tradeoffs and make it easy for customers to choose pre-made, tested cables in their upcoming projects.

Aggressive Pricing – providing appealing prices, AirCare reduces the cost added for obtaining pre-made patch cables.

Logistics Cost Savings – AirCare recognizes the significant cost shipping adds to the actual cost of purchasing pre-made cables. AirCare is pursuing lower cost transport options and will be offering “drop-shipping” to the installation site at “landed cost” pricing when appropriate.  We are committed to providing our products at competitive prices and providing customers and advantage to save shipping and handling cost when possible.

Using AirCare pre-made cables provides reduced installation expenses.  Additionally, optimizing the flow of cables to the on-site location reduces shipping costs – taking much out of the cost differential between pre-made and “cut & crimp” solutions. With the above attention to detail, AirCare hopes to benefit our customers by providing high-quality, reliable pre-made/pre-tested cables for their next cleanroom build program.

[1] Reference:  Belden Cables ( https://www.belden.com/Blogs/Smart-Building/2020/05/04/rj45-termination-reliability )

Smart Solutions for FFU Motor Speed Control

AirCare Automation describes the development of phase-control options to make an AC motor “smart” at a low cost.

Featured in Power Systems World, 2003

Cost-Efficient Connectivity and Integration Solutions for Power Systems Controls and BMS

Connectivity between a facility’s BMS and monitoring controls can be installed at a low-cost. AirCare Automation explains how.

Featured article for the Power Electronic Technology Conference, 2004

High-Performing FFUs for Small Cleanrooms

AirCare Automation presents affordable, state-of-the-art products available for FFU Cleanrooms.

Featured in A2C2, December 2004

Presentations on AirCare Automation Products

Innovations and Improvements in Single-Phase AC Motor Controls

AirCare Automation’s new class of AC motor controls are changing performance standards and capabilities.

The Important Performance Benefits of Cleanroom Control Systems

AirCare Automations control systems can manage and monitor your cleanroom for high performance, energy efficiency, compliance, safety, and more.

Presented at the ESTech™ Conference, 2015

Smart, Versatile Integration of Management and Monitoring Products for Your FFUs

AirCare Automation presents smart integration of FFU controls and your BMS, starting with high-performing motor control boards.

Presented at the ESTech™ Conference, 2017

USP797 & 800 Compliance with AirCare Automation’s Environmental Monitoring Consoles for Your Cleanroom

AirCare Automation is committed to ensuring your business is agency compliant with versatile options and offerings for environmental monitoring.

Presented at the Cleanroom Builder Controls Conference, 2018

Get Cleanroom Controls, Monitoring, and Management for Your Critical Environment