The advantages of modular over traditional construction for pharmaceutical cleanrooms


ISO standard 14644-1 defines a cleanroom as “a room in which the concentration of airborne particles is controlled, and which is constructed and used in a manner to minimise the introduction, generation, and retention of particles inside the room and in which other relevant parameters, e.g. temperature, humidity, and pressure, are controlled as necessary.”

When constructing a cleanroom, the first decision you’re faced with is whether to opt for traditional (civil) construction over modular panels. There are several important considerations you must factor before making this expensive investment.

Speed of construction
Speed to market is critical for any manufacturer and construction of any fixed structure takes a significant amount of time. Supply chain challenges and weather conditions can result in endless delays. Modular cleanrooms can be built in a fraction of the time taken for permanent construction. Panels are designed for flexibility. They are pre-fabricated, so construction time almost halved as compared to traditional structures.

Traditional structures offer almost no flexibility. They cannot be moved around or packed off to another location. Alterations are also noisy and disruptive and cause dust pollution. Modular panels, on the other hand, offer cleaner construction. The panels are interconnected with aluminium extruded profiles for uniform joints and sturdiness. It allows easy installation, assembly, up-gradation, expansion or reconfiguration with minimal downtime and disruption. Individual panels to allow machine entry or for maintenance without affecting the larger structure, which is not possible with traditional construction.

Cleanroom construction – walls and ceilings – must factor in the installation of equipment like air handling units, HEPA boxes/diffusers as well as hookups for plumbing and electrical including pre-wired outlets and lighting. During operation, easy access is necessary for maintenance and servicing. Modular walkable ceiling structures eliminate the need for constructing mezzanines – fixed structures that are obstructive and need higher investment. Walkable ceilings also ensure maintenance staff do not have to enter the cleanroom reducing the risk of contamination.

Modular panels are insulated with Rockwool that have fire retardant properties giving them a definite edge over cement walls used in traditional construction.

Cleanroom integrity
Modular cleanrooms have air flushed doors that offer air-tight sealing and high resistance to differential pressures. They act as a barrier to the outside/uncontrolled environment and protect the integrity of the cleanroom, making them a perfect alternative for traditional structures

Cost advantage
The investment outlay for traditional construction is much higher, as is the time required to recover costs. With modular cleanrooms, you benefit from lower investment and shorter lead time, ensuring your facility is up and running in no time. Modular panels offer more usable area as they are less thick compared to cement walls. Unlike traditional fixed structures, they can be reused, eliminating the need for new materials and minimising labour and renovation costs. They can even be sold off when no longer needed, so you benefit from accelerated depreciation and potential tax savings.

Simplified cleaning
Cleaning regimes are one of the most important processes as hygiene is key to a controlled environment. Modular structures offer compatibility with stringent and aggressive cleaning methodologies mandated for cleanrooms, giving them the upper hand over traditional construction.

Unlike cement walls that exude contaminants and particulates, modular panels do not shed, leaving less scope for air contamination. They are easy to maintain and can be cleaned effortlessly.

Consistent quality
Unlike traditional cement structures, modular panels are designed and pre-fabricated in factory-controlled settings. This ensures a consistent, quality product with zero variation ensuring appearance and performance in the present and the future.

Fabtech is a pioneer in the design and manufacture of modular panels for cleanroom solutions across cleanliness grades in pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, semiconductors, IT, data centres and aeronautics. Our cleanroom and bio-cleanroom systems include wall panels, walkable and non-walkable ceiling panels, risers, doors, view panels and covings. Our panels are VHP (Vapourised Hydrogen Peroxide) compliant and certified. We are the only company to receive a 2 hour fire rating from Dubai Civil Defence. We have delivered over 4000 projects in over 53 countries.

Our designs are efficient and cost-effective, optimising performance and lowering running costs. Our robust project management framework ensures faster implementation while maintaining quality. We control the entire cycle from design, engineering, production, validation and service support in-house, giving us complete control of the project and ensuring your peace of mind.

If you would like to know more about our solutions for cleanrooms, please fill out the form below.