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The aerospace and defence industry (A&D) requires specialized and heightened facility maintenance services.

The Aerospace and Defence Industry

A&D comprises of manufactures who develop space, land and water vehicles and machinery for military, commercial and other purposes. Companies in the aerospace and defence industry manufacture aircraft engines and engine parts as well as landing gears, propellers, rotors, computers, satellites and much more. Since this industry is highly concentrated, it requires support systems in the operation and maintenance of its vehicles and facilities. Aircraft manufacturers require cost-effective, high-quality, and highly technical facilities and facility management. Everything about an aircraft manufacturing and assembly building must be held to the highest standards in order for the assembly line to function at its best. The manufacturing process must be well understood at a macro level by the facility maintenance team to ensure that an appropriate maintenance plan and schedule can be developed that is integrated with manufacturing needs.

Aerospace and Defence Cleanrooms

A cleanroom is a controlled environment where products are manufactured. It is a room in which the concentration of airborne particles is controlled to specified limits. These contaminants are typically generated by people, process, facilities and equipment and must be continually removed from the air.
The best and only way to control contamination is to control the total environment. Air flow rates and direction, pressurization, temperature, humidity and specialized filtration all need to be strictly controlled. Additionally, the sources of these particles need to be controlled and/or eliminated whenever possible. There is more to a cleanroom than air filters.

Once a cleanroom is built it must be maintained and cleaned to the same high standards.

Cleanrooms are planned and manufactured using strict protocols and methods. In addition to the A&D industry, they are frequently found in electronics, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical and other large-scale manufacturing environments.

Positive Pressure Cleanrooms

Positive pressure cleanrooms have greater air pressure in the cleanroom than the outside environment. In a positive pressure cleanroom, clean, filtered air is constantly being pumped into the room through the HEPA filtration and cleanroom HVAC system. If a door or window is opened in this type of cleanroom, air rushes out of the cleanroom, comprising its functionality.

This positive pressure ensures that in the event of a breach or leak in the cleanroom, the products and processes within the cleanroom are protected. Because the cleanroom has positive pressure, the air is forced out of the cleanroom, preventing contaminated or unfiltered air from seeping in. Positive pressure cleanrooms are most commonly used where the cleanliness of the air within the cleanroom is more important than the air quality outside the cleanrooms. For highly technical applications like aerospace and defense, where the tiniest particle can damage the quality of the entire product, a positive pressure cleanroom holds numerous benefits.

What is Contamination?

Contamination is a process or action that causes materials or surfaces to be soiled with contaminating substances. There are two broad categories of surface contaminants: film type and particulates. These contaminants can produce a “killer defect” in a miniature circuit.

Foreign object debris (FOD) are any objects, particles or substances that end up where they should not be. FOD is an extremely important safety and quality control concern in any aviation, manufacturing or aerospace environment where small and loose particles have the potential to cause damage to equipment, injury to employees or production delays. Examples of FOD in a cleanroom environment can include tools, pens, paper, trash, rocks and clothing items, to name a few.

Preventing these contaminants or foreign object debris from entering the cleanroom environment is the main objective. It requires a commitment by everyone entering the cleanroom. Professional cleaning personnel need to be especially aware of the importance of controlling contaminants. Strict procedures should be followed whenever entering or cleaning a cleanroom. Compromise is not acceptable when cleaning in a cleanroom.

Key Elements of Contamination Control in Cleanrooms

There are several areas of concern when it comes to contamination control in cleanrooms. These are the things that need to be considered when providing an effective contamination control and facility maintenance program.

1. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter) – HEPA filters are very important for maintaining contamination control. They filter particles as small as 0.3 microns with a 99.97% minimum particle-collective efficiency.

2. Cleaning – Cleaning is an essential element of contamination control. Decisions need to be made about the details of cleanroom maintenance and cleaning. Applications and procedures need to be written and agreed upon by cleanroom management and contractors (if used).

3. Cleanroom garments – The requirements for cleanroom garments may vary from location to location. However, gloves and lint free suits are standard in nearly every cleanroom environment.

4. Humans – People are perhaps one of the biggest sources of cleanroom contamination. There are several ways people can produce contamination such as dropping skin flakes and hair, sneezing and coughing, and even sweating. The environments humans were exposed to prior to cleanroom entry can also lead to contamination, such as having pets at home or grease on the hands from eating fast food.These sources of contamination can easily be mitigated and prevented if the right procedures are followed at every step of the manufacturing and cleaning process.

Benefits of Cleanrooms

A cleanroom environment provides stability, reliability and control. While the benefits of a cleanroom are numerous, we’ve listed the top three benefits in regard to the aerospace and defence industry:

1. Zero Contamination
Contamination, especially air borne contamination, is a major problem in the aerospace manufacturing industry. When it comes to stealth paint, the prevention of contamination is critical. Stealth paint and coating demand in the aerospace and defense industry, is growing substantially. Stealth technology is a combination of technologies that make military vehicles such as aircrafts, difficult to detect. According to a report published by Global Market Insights Inc., the global Stealth Coating Market is expected to exceed $66.2 million by 2027. Controlling the entire environment is the only way that contamination can be avoided and eliminated. Cleanroom technology does this by tightly controlling the air flow rates and direction, pressurization, temperature, and humidity.

2. Customized Solutions
Another major benefit of cleanroom technology is that it can be customized to fit the needs of various industries. Whether it’s the medical device industry or biotech pharmacy companies, a cleanroom creates highly customized solutions by providing the right environment that meets the specialized manufacturing needs.

3. Compliance with Government Regulations

With cleanroom technology, a company can be assured that its products and manufacturing process comply with the regulations set out by the government.

A cleanroom provides an elevated amount of control over the operations and functionality of a manufacturing facility. With the benefits of efficiency, competency, accountability and ability to comply with regulatory standards, it’s no wonder the A&D industry places such a heavy focus on the maintenance of their cleanrooms.

TEAM Group Facility Maintenance Services

Cleanrooms require consistent evaluation to make sure they meet classification standards, and that all systems perform efficiently and operate safely. In addition to routine maintenance, cleanrooms should also receive regular cleaning to reduce contaminant generation and prevent the transfer of contaminants inside the cleanroom.

If you want to make sure your space is always up to your cleanroom classification standards, TEAM Group can create a maintenance schedule for services such as cleanroom HVAC service, filter replacement, deep cleaning, and more.

Our services include (but are not limited to):

  • Infection prevention and COVID-19 response
  • Cleanroom cleaning
  • HVAC and filter services
  • Facility protection and safety systems
  • Repair work
  • Light plumbing and electrical
  • Custodial and janitorial services
  • Facility maintenance solutions
  • Floor care

To learn more about TEAM Group’s facility maintenance services for the aerospace and defence industry, get in touch with our team today!

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