In clean rooms, precision matters. To prevent contamination, the materials, including lighting, must be germ free and the professionals who perform work in clean rooms must be able to conduct their business without introducing contamination into the environment. Cleanroom lighting must meet these rigorous requirements and facilitate the work conducted in the room.
In addition, there are other considerations such as the particular use of the clean room, the room’s classification, and the configuration of the air supply.
Cleanroom Lighting Fundamentals
When it comes to choosing the right lighting system, a major consideration is cost. Energy bills, initial costs and maintenance costs all contribute to the decision making process for clean room lights. That said, lighting takes less than 1% of total clean room energy consumption, so lighting maintenance overhead is not a significant concern.
Because of the small, precise instruments often found in a cleanroom, foot-candle levels are often very high. Also, clean rooms demand different lighting levels depending on the various processes that take place there. Here is where a professional designer comes in handy: he can decide on what lighting levels are required for different clean room tasks.
Have in mind that enamel is regularly used in cleanrooms. This means that the ceiling, walls and flooring are usually bright white and reflect light.
A bigger consideration, however, is air supply system. In some clean rooms with more demanding needs, air system filter panels leave no room for lighting upgrades. That said, a well organized design process can result in an efficient solution for better lighting in your clean room in most cases.
Most cleanroom lighting applications call for flourescent lamps because they are energy efficient, are easy to maintain and have a long lifespan, but other types of lighting are appropriate in clean rooms as well. Incandescent, high intensity lamps and LED lighting fixtures are found in cleanroom lighting applications.
Lighting systems can utilize a number of different lamp types. Incandescent, high intensity discharge and fluorescent lamps are most commonly used in commercial and industrial facilities. Fluorescent lamps are nearly always used in clean room environments due to their energy efficiency, low maintenance and long life span. Also, fixtures with high levels of UV are being used in order to reduce bacteria and other contaminations. Recently more and more clean rooms use LED lamps for their long life span and high efficacy, and also for environmental reasons.
Clean rooms are very demanding when it comes to lighting. They are not easy to upgrade because of air control systems that are usually located on the ceiling and they reflect light in many instances. Also, they demand high UV levels from their lighting in order to reduce bacteria.