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Isolation vs. Containment Cleanrooms
Posted: 10/18/21

Horizontal Slider DoorsDue to the severe contamination risks airborne bacteria and viruses bring, cleanrooms are necessary for the pharmaceutical industry to contain harmful airborne contaminants and isolate materials from areas where contamination is possible. Pharmaceutical doors are beneficial for maintaining clean environments during drug testing and manufacturing. Cleanroom doors use high-performance technology to create barriers and improve air quality between clean air environments and other rooms.

Pharmaceutical cleanrooms must maintain an excellent level of cleanliness. There are two types of sterile rooms for pharmaceutical use: an isolation cleanroom and a containment cleanroom. These cleanroom types provide significant environmental control for drug laboratories for developing, testing, and manufacturing medicines and handling chemicals.

A cleanroom already has a high level of environmental control. Still, it also requires a suitable high-performance door that fits flush with its walls to seal crevices, prevent bacteria from entering, and keep air pressure consistent. The doors, door frame, hinges, and panels must fit together perfectly to seal a cleanroom.

Isolation and containment rooms differ in their airflow system, or they may combine the two. In this article, we’ll discuss isolation and containment cleanrooms and their door options, as well as guide you to choose the proper cleanroom doors for your pharmaceutical indoor safety and cleanliness needs.

What Is an Isolation Cleanroom?

An isolation cleanroom differs from a containment cleanroom mainly in the airflow system it uses. Their walls may have soft or hard surfaces, although softwall rooms do not maintain constant air pressure. However, specially engineered hardwall rooms can accommodate an airlock or another transitional passageway.

Isolation clean rooms have positive air pressure higher than the pressure in the environment surrounding the cleanroom. Air from the outside room passes through HEPA filters and pumps into the cleanroom. Clean air can escape the room when the door opens, but no particles or pathogens can enter it because of the pressure difference.

What Is a Containment Cleanroom?

In a containment cleanroom, air pressure is lower than in other rooms. The negative pressure in these rooms prevents air from escaping into the outside environment.

These wisely-engineered rooms often include characteristics of other containment cleanroom designs, such as stainless steel walls, to make cleaning easy and aid in killing bacteria on surfaces. Larger containment rooms called powder containment rooms stay clean with antimicrobial solutions to coat a door’s aluminum frame or walls.

In some situations, clean containment rooms may both feature isolation and containment airflow systems to protect both workers and medicines from each other and the surrounding environment. Both stainless steel isolation doors and fiberglass cleanroom barriers are helpful with these cleanroom applications. A well-sealed door doesn’t allow airflow disruption.

Why Bother Choosing a Pharmaceutical Clean Room Door?

Cleanroom doors in the pharmaceutical industry encourage drug sterility and better environmental containment to improve pharmaceutical quality. Unlike manual entries, automatic cleanroom doors allow workers to access medicine and materials quickly without compromising the cleanroom’s contents. Their high resistance to pressure differences makes them an ideal choice for cleanroom security.

Durability and Security

A modern cleanroom door provides excellent security and safety performance thanks to fiberglass and stainless steel construction, tempered glass windows, steel or aluminum door frames, and other high-quality features. High durability is necessary for cleanroom doors, and all aspects of a cleanroom door must meet industry durability standards.

Easy to Clean

Cleanliness is a top priority in the pharmaceutical industry to keep medicine and air purity high. Working with chemicals warrants thorough cleaning, and fiberglass surface of many cleanroom doors is resistant to corrosion, making them easy to clean. They also may have chemical resistance thanks to a powder coating that cuts down on cleaning time.

Excellent Performance

Cleanroom doors must have excellent performance and a perfectly engineered design to ensure they close at all seams. Many are automatic and work at high speeds, so their performance keeps up with the demands of frequent use in the drug compounding process. From cleaning solutions to advanced technology, clean room doors are at the forefront of high performance.


Cleanroom doors allow continuous environmental control between the cleanroom and the outside room. This level of control depends on airflow disruption, how tightly the doors seal, and the isolation type. Doors are either automatic or manual, giving workers the power they need to maneuver in various situations.

How to Choose the Right Cleanroom Door

Purchasing cleanroom doors takes extra consideration due to the unique need for cleanliness in pharmaceutical applications. Many customers struggle to define the performance they need for cleanroom applications.

1. Do Your Research

You shouldn’t go in blind when choosing a door for your isolation or containment cleanroom. First, you should perform ample research and become familiar with cleanroom door operations.

Researching energy consumption and safety features of cleanroom doors helps determine which models you can afford with your budget. You’ll also become familiar with the different styles of doors, frames, and more.

Most importantly, these rooms must follow strict health and safety requirements. Worker performance also depends on door sterility and speed as they pass through doorways frequently. Looking into these requirements and solutions to facilitate better performance will be instrumental in selecting an ideal model.

2. Choose a Lightweight Model

In pharmaceutical and medical situations, heavy doors only slow workers down. Lightweight cleanroom doors will move quickly in fast-paced environments and save you money on energy costs without reducing durability. A single automated steel door may considerably raise your energy bill.

Luckily, lightweight options are available. Energy-efficient models are also plentiful in situations calling for heavy-duty steel doors.

3. Evaluate Problems and Demands

The primary duty of a cleanroom door is to protect both internal and external environments. Workers should have quick access to cleanrooms without complicating the traffic flow. Evaluating all demands for pharmaceutical doors and the problems they will solve will help you pinpoint a model that meets all needs.

Cleanroom doors shouldn’t add to the stress of a pharmaceutical worker’s tasks. Be sure the doors you choose provide an advantage, not an inconvenience.

4. Speak to Professional Door Installers

Door installation professionals are experts when it comes to cleanroom doors. They understand cleanroom door performance and can answer your questions on the following and more:

  • Ideal door and door frame styles for pharmaceutical applications
  • Material types for cleanroom doors and window frames
  • Performance and potential energy consumption
  • Estimates for high-performance door installation

Essential Things to Consider When Choosing Doors

There are several factors to consider when choosing doors for your isolation or containment cleanroom.

Available Data

In the pharmaceutical industry, data carries much weight. Consider any scientific findings behind different cleanroom door types and use the data to help you choose one or multiple types. Look at studies on clean environments in pharmaceutical businesses and their cleanrooms before making a final decision.

The Type of Door

Cleanroom operations demand high-speed doors that can combine with existing technology and operate efficiently. The most common doors for sterile rooms are:

  • Sliding Doors: Made of fiberglass and stainless steel, high-speed sliding doors allow workers to reduce air escaping from the cleanroom quickly. Additionally, double or single sliding doors come in manual options if automatic functions breed safety concerns.
  • Swing Doors: Swing doors are available in single or double options. Their fiberglass and stainless steel surface is notorious for withstanding corrosive materials and being easy to clean. If you need a high cleanliness level and a tightly sealed door, a swing door is a suitable choice.
  • Fabric Roll-Up Doors: Fabric roll-up doors deliver high-speed for controlled environments and allow for easy wipe-down.

Cleanroom Size

Cleanrooms come in many sizes. While many are smaller, some are large enough to accommodate several workers and processes. Ensuring you have the proper door frame measurements will help you find a cleanroom door that fits perfectly. Your cleanroom’s size may also help you determine whether to choose a single or double door option.

Bacteria Resistance

A bacteria-resistant surface and a flush seal at the door’s seams are necessary to prevent the spread of pathogens. Every door and door frame may not have a bacteria-resistant surface; be sure to check for models with a cleanroom door coating before purchasing.

Desired Performance

Above all, it’s essential to choose the door that matches your performance desires. Not all cleanrooms will have the same door demands. Cleanroom doors come in many configurations so you can achieve the specific performance style you want.

Whether you need an energy-saving door model or you want the very best manual option available, the choice is yours.

Financial Constraints

Don’t forget to consider the project’s budget. Financial constraints may limit your options for frame types, window availability, and coating options.

You may also need to consider the added costs air filtration systems will bring. While doors can get costly, several affordable options can help you achieve the result you need.

Let ASI Doors Be Your Versatile Solution for Cleanroom Doors and More

Demands for intuitively engineered cleanroom doors are individual to each facility and industry. The pharmaceutical industry’s need for cleanrooms only grows with time. Having secure entry points with sterile surfaces for medicine development, storage, testing, and manufacturing rooms will reduce contaminants and save energy.

ASI Doors is a proud provider of cleanroom doors and more, ensuring customers maintain clean rooms free of contamination, including supply doors and building security doors. We uphold a high safety standard when it comes to pharmaceutical cleanroom excellence. When challenges in the pharmaceutical industry demand expert solutions, we can help.

Contact us to discuss your options for cleanroom door installation and maintenance for your property.

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