The evolution in medicine and pathogens in particular brought with it numerous issues to address in terms of hygiene and health. Pathogens could easily be transmitted to human beings through medical procedures or food. Owing to their small size and ease of transmission, pathogens could be carried in an unlimited number of ways and more especially in dirty environments. The use of sterilized environments came into play in hospitals and in the food industry. With more scientific discoveries and research, the use of sterile environments is always on a continuous growth and improvement process. Such sterile environments include clean rooms, which are areas set aside to perform certain activities that require absence of any contaminating material.
Cleanrooms such as laboratories and surgical rooms in hospitals have perhaps seen the most number of improvements. Nearly all aspects of the room; from the flooring, ventilation and the walls have had to be made free from dirt. Lighting, which is an indispensable addition to any cleanroom in the modern world has also had to be made clean. Systems in most buildings will easily accumulate dust while at the same time deteriorate in terms of light quality. It may also attract flying insects, some of which may be carries of pathogens.
After the first year of usage, most UV lamps used to disinfect the air in homes and offices lose their effective germicidal effectiveness. This period can be approximated to about 9000 hours. Such bulbs will usually require annual replacement, or they will end up excessively consuming energy with little effectiveness in disinfecting the air. As much as the accumulation of dust may be blamed on the ventilation system, a system that can remain free of dust would be more admirable for use in clean rooms. Such a system if combined with proper ventilation will ensure a clean environment for use.
Very expensive lighting equipment.
Such systems, however, come at a cost, literally. Most cleanroom lighting systems are expensive owing to their importance and excellent light quality. The cost of the various cleanroom illumination types available is highly dependent on the size and type of fixture. The cleanroom lighting type may be;
They are sealed and come with both positive and negative rooms pressures. These features make them compatible with ISO 3- 8 standards. They are best suited for bio-pharmaceutical cleanrooms because their design lacks crevices where microbes can hide. A set of four 2 by 4 clean room light of 32 watts will cost approximately €260 while a set of four 2 by 2 lamps of 17 watts will cost approximately €312.
With a housing made from stainless steel, its aerodynamic designs limit interference with laminar flow. It filters coverage of the room’s ceiling making it ideas for ISO 3 or higher clean rooms. A single teardrop fixture will retail for approximately €280 with an additional €120 pallet charge.
With expense, comes the need for insurance. Setting up a clean room alone might prove to be a very expensive affair. A class 1-10,000 clean room will cost a minimum of €2,500 per square foot to build and therefore a 10,000 square foot clean room might cost about €25 million. Cleanroom lighting makes up a small percentage of such figures and therefore any future risks of damage to the systems must be catered for by taking insurance on the all systems.
So what kind of damage and repairs may occur on the cleanroom lighting type in use?
A majority of the available clean room lights have a long lifespan and minimal maintenance. This comes as a result of LED lighting that is used. LED lights are very efficient and emit very little heat. As a result of the little heat emission, the LED lighting will tend to be used continuously for nearly 50,000 hours. If repairs need to be done however, they are usually very costly. Repairs or replacements may happen due to a completed lifespan, usually after a few years. The chances of physical damage to the installation cannot be ruled out. Most cleanrooms will be located in factories and hospitals and therefore movement of large equipment or tools within the room may lead to accidental damage to the setup. Power surges though uncommon due to the many safety measures placed also pose a risk to the lighting system. If they occur, they may cause irreparable damage that then necessitates expensive replacements. Repairs may also need to be carried out in cases where the fitting is poorly done or the ceiling is poor and subject to leakages and cracks. Fires can cause considerable damage to most installations in the room not sparing the light systems. Due to the ever-eminent risks of fires they can be considers as a possible cause of damage to lighting systems.
Just like coverage for equipment used within the facility, the installation should also be insured. This insurance is not only meant to cover the actual cost of replacing the lighting system, but that of the entire process. Unlike normal repairs at home and in the office where the repair man pulls up a ladder, fits in some few wires and screws in a bulb, replacements in a clean room might necessitate slowing down or complete stoppage of ongoing processes. Laboratories have to hold ongoing procedures on hold, safely store items that should be kept sterile and then prepare the room for the job. After completion of the repairs or replacements, the rooms have to be cleaned for operations to carry on. All this is necessary due to the risks of contamination that are brought in.
To cater for such costs, any company or institution running a clean room should take policies on their illumination systems. Insurance companies that provide cover for machinery also provide cover for the lighting systems even as an inclusive to certain insurance covers on fire. It is therefore the responsibility of the firm running the cleanroom to ensure that the insurance policy it takes with the insurance firm does include cover for all its cleanroom systems.