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Cleanroom Trends: Bi-Parting Doors Facilitates Immediate Access
Posted: 5/23/22

Doors are essential features of cleanrooms and cold storage facilities. These spaces vary in size on the inside, but they all rely on specially designed doors to facilitate cleanliness, productivity, and easy access.

A bi-parting sliding door is typical in many cleanrooms and places where environmental control is vital. However, some facilities choose not to use them due to the misconception that they take up too much real estate on a wall. Modern types of sliding doors are more compact and offer many desired benefits for the pharmaceutical industry and other life sciences.

Cleanrooms and High-Speed Doors

A cleanroom needs the correct door type to maintain the room’s ideal concentration level of airborne contaminants. The door also helps regulate other environmental factors, such as humidity, temperature, pressurization, and airflow.

Facilities that rely on clean operations and strict standards should have high-speed doors. These advanced doors are built to facilitate ease of access without compromising the cleanroom’s environmental control or worker safety and productivity. A high-speed door in a cleanroom helps minimize air infiltration when people enter and leave the room.

Bi-Parting Sliding Doors Vs. Fabric Roll-Up Doors

Traditional double sliding doors usually require substantial wall space to house a track and rigid panel and facilitate door operation. For instance, a door with a six-foot clearance will need about three feet of wall space on either side of the door.

Many facilities use fabric roll-up doors if they need to use space wisely. Unlike a rigid panel, a fabric roll-up collects at the top of the entrance’s frame within its head assembly.

However, modern sliding doors with glass windows are more compact and don’t require the same amount of room as older models. Double-sided curtains are another space-saving alternative to fabric roll-ups.

Benefits of Updated Sliding Doors

Installing an updated sliding door allows your facility to benefit from features that older models did not have. The doors are available in various colors, materials, glass windows, and flexible designs. However, they also come with the following advantages, making them a superior option for cleanrooms.

1. Cleanliness

A bi-parting sliding door for a pharmaceutical facility or cleanroom must consist of an easy-to-clean material. An updated door system will also incorporate several features to maximize the room’s cleanliness.

For instance, a sliding door design might include stainless steel headers and side frames, curtains consisting of a non-porous material, and sloped headers. These features prevent excessive dust and airborne particles from entering the open door and settling inside the room.

2. Maximum System Uptime

The type of door you select for a cleanroom should have a decent uptime to minimize the need for repairs. Taking a damaged door down to fix damages increases the risk of unwanted airborne particles getting inside the room. However, advanced doors are highly durable and contain features that resist wear and tear.

Some double doors open within a split second, significantly decreasing the risk of the doors impacting each other. An older rigid panel door system moves slower with a higher risk for impact.

Other doors have curtains with a flexible material that can handle some impacts without incurring damage. Since that system type has fewer moving parts, it doesn’t require as much maintenance as older sliding doors.

3. Increased Safety

A sliding door opens in the middle along its track. Advanced versions open their sturdy partitions quickly, allowing you to view the room’s interior from top to bottom at once. The increase in visibility optimizes the safety of anyone entering or leaving the room.

Bi-parting curtains and doors also incorporate desirable safety features. For example, large glass windows improve visibility even when the entrance isn’t open.

Most sliding doors operate through automation; however, you could open them during a power outage using a manual override system. Despite the doors’ design advances, workers can safely access the cleanroom’s interior and exit when necessary.

4. Enhanced Environmental Control

Cleanroom operations usually require air pressure stabilization to minimize airborne contaminants. You could invest in a system that includes a complete perimeter seal.

The seal would dramatically reduce the amount of conditioned air loss from the room’s interior and improve your facility’s energy efficiency. The premium seal around the double doors increases their ability to open and close quickly and minimize air loss. Your facility could see energy savings from reducing energy consumption to maintain the ideal temperature inside the cleanroom.

It’s possible to install a door built with extra seals on all four sides. Other features like stabilizer struts assist with energy savings and air loss by resisting air pressure on the door’s curtain. A tight curtain material and the door’s speed help maintain the room’s interior pressurization.

Some advanced sliding door systems are designed to withstand pressures up to 0.20 w.g. The high rating reduces air movement between the room’s interior and nearby spaces.

5. Improved Productivity

Updated door solutions for cleanrooms often include drive system technologies. The tech allows sturdy yet light curtain materials to open and close at high speeds without problems. Speeds can reach up to 120 inches per second, which is significantly different from older inflexible panel doors that max out around 30 inches per second.

If a door opens from its center at high speed, the curtain material moves faster than a roll-up door. The quickness at which the door operates allows for immediate access to the room’s interior or nearby areas. Workers can increase productivity with direct access to a cleanroom, pharmaceutical facility, or cold storage.

6. Space Conservation

A significant drawback in the design of older entrances is the amount of room on walls they require to function. If space is an issue for a facility’s cleanroom, fabric curtains that parts in the center are viable alternatives to the standard fiberglass or stainless steel options.

The material hangs on a track and slides to frames on either side of the room’s entrance. When rolled into the structures, the material only takes up about a foot of wall space on either side of the door. This system is ideal for places with entrances almost perpendicular to a hallway.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Cleanroom Bi-Parting Door

When looking for a bi-parting door for your facility, you should ensure that its material and structure are compatible with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). Basic guidelines include low maintenance, easy cleaning, and the ability to withstand chemical solvents.

The type of door you install should also include a non-porous surface. A smooth, non-porous door is more resistant to microbial growth like mold and mildew.

Corrosion resistance is another factor to consider when choosing a bi-parting door for your facility. Stainless steel is the material of choice for side frames and shrouds.

Below are other factors that will guide you in your door selection.

1. Choose a Smart Design

Traditionally, sliding doors for cleanrooms, cold storage, and pharmaceutical facilities consist of fiberglass or stainless steel. This option provides exceptional reliability and allows for increased traffic flow and reduced energy costs. While a door might have glass panels, you likely won’t see wood features anywhere in a reliable system.

Modern door options also consist of adjustable heavy-duty PVC curtains along an overhead track. This material provides the same advantages as the other options since it’s non-porous and consistent with FDA and cGMP regulations.

A bi-parting curtained door that opens in the middle will move along a track. The door’s side frames should be stainless steel to comply with company standards.

The most advanced curtain door design may also have or obstruction-sensing reverse system to detect workers or equipment near the door. The sensor improves employee safety and equipment protection around the door’s opening.

2. Consider Hands-Free Operation

Automation is an excellent feature to include in a bi-parting door. This type of door technology allows employees to enter and exit the room’s interior without touching or contaminating a clean surface.

An automated double door also increases productivity. Workers can move items and equipment to and from the room without manually activating an opener or setting anything down.

Though you might have concerns about an automated door opening slowly, you can rest assured that this type of door can open quickly and widely. The addition of glass windows in the double doors also increases visibility in the room, which reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.

3. Ensure the Door Meets Cleanroom Standards

The same type of patio doors you would install in a house is not the same sliding door type you should use for a cleanroom. These areas must adhere to strict cleanliness standards to ensure that the room interior remains free of potentially harmful microbes. Only choose doors consisting of approved materials for cleanrooms.

Double sliding doors explicitly built for cleanrooms and cold storage should also maintain positive air space pressure.

Bi-Parting Sliding Door Solutions From ASI Doors Inc

The team at ASI Doors understands the importance of having an optimal door with exceptional durability and style to maintain the safety and productivity of cleanroom standards. Our team is passionate about creating high-performance bi-parting door solutions with and without windows. Each door design is built to maximize cleanliness, energy efficiency, and ease of access.

If you are ready to install the ideal bi-parting door for your facility, contact the ASI Doors team at (800) 558-7068.

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