NEWS RELEASE                                                                                        JANUARY 2013

Cleanroom Air Process Automation and Control is a $353 Million Market

There is a large opportunity to reduce product failure and energy consumption in clearnooms through more complete automation of processes and control of the air handling systems. In 2013, cleanroom operators will spend $353 million for automation and control solutions for the air handling systems. This is the latest forecast in the McIlvaine report, World Cleanroom Markets.

($ Millions)





 Cleanroom Suppliers


 Other electronics






 Medical Devices


 Other Industries









The revenues include advanced process control software, distributed control systems, programmable logic controllers and instrumentation to measure air flow, pressure and temperature.

The semiconductor industry market will be equaled by a group of other electronics segments including flat panel displays and memory storage. The pharmaceutical industry is also a significant segment. The hospital segment is limited to the laboratories and special operating rooms which maintain high purity cleanroom environments.

In general, air handling systems in cleanrooms must control the vertical downward air flow. Temperature control is much more important than in typical manufacturing. A slight positive pressure is also required to ensure that no unclean air enters through any room openings.

More sophisticated systems can save energy by controlling and varying air flow to meet the cleanroom needs. It has been learned that the cleanliness of a room is a function of the number of people in the room and the movement of those people. With the use of variable speed fan drives and facility particle monitoring systems with multiple monitors, it is possible to reduce air flow when air cleanliness exceeds the needs. This can result in large energy savings.

This task is complicated in certain applications such as semiconductor manufacture by the need to control gaseous contaminants such as ammonia. There are now continuous ammonia monitors which can also be integrated into the control system.

The use of mini environments dictates the use of more complex automation systems. There is the need to control the air purity within the mini environments and also in the larger clearnoom where the mini environments reside.

One of the challenges for control has been the increasing popularity of the Fan Filter Unit (FFU). The ceiling of the cleanroom is fitted with small packages containing a filter and fan. There can be hundreds of these units in one ceiling. The advantage is flexibility and more even distribution. This requires a control system which must deal with each of the FFUs. An FFU interface can be as simple as manual controls to sophisticated stand-alone systems or even interfaces that will tie into building management central control rooms. With smart FFU products being more readily available, the utilization of these units in “smart systems” is the logical progression.

Low initial investment costs along with an equally low cost of system expansion make the distributed system both flexible and cost-effective.

Another function of the control system can be to alert operators as to when to change filters. Differential pressure sensors monitor the status of clean room air filters. Pressure ports are connected to either side of the filter; as the filter becomes clogged, the difference in pressure between the two sides increases. The differential pressure sensor is programmed to detect the point at which the pressure difference indicates the time for filter replacement, and when it is reached, the sensor triggers an output alarm.

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