In an opening ceremony performed by Chief Operating Officer Johan Langius, AAF has inaugurated the new cleanroom facility for HEPA filter manufacturing at its main European production location in Emmen, the Netherlands. The official opening on 13 June of the cleanroom facility marked a new milestone in AAF’s pursuit of continuously improving manufacturing productivity, product quality and maximising customer satisfaction.
The new cleanroom is constructed as a separate area inside the Emmen facility, AAF’s largest European manufacturing plant. The total floor area covers 900m2 and consists of four core process steps: media pleating, filter assembly, testing and packaging. For pleating the media, assembly into HEPA filters and filter testing according to the EN1822:2009 standard, an ISO 7 controlled environment has been designed.
Packaging of the HEPA filters is done in an ISO 6 controlled environment to minimise any contamination risk from the filter itself, once it enters the cleanroom at the customer’s site. Both cleanroom areas are designed, constructed and validated following ISO 14644 principles.
‘AAF has significantly upgraded its manufacturing facilities over the last few years with the aim of better meeting customer expectations and simultaneously enhaning operational excellence,’ said Langius. ‘The new cleanroom facility exemplifies the positive development of our organisation and strengthens AAF’s leading position in the high-end air filtration market.’
Prior to the official opening of the cleanroom, which is fully operational, several customers from the pharmaceutical industry audited the new cleanroom area for compliance with their own internal quality procedures. The AAF cleanroom passed these audits with very positive results.
To coincide with the official opening of the cleanroom, AAF has begun the manufacture of HEPA filters featuring NELIOR Filtration Technology in Europe. The award-winning technology is a patented membrane filtration media, developed and exclusively offered by AAF. HEPA filters with NELIOR Filtration Technology are said to provide significant benefits over traditional HEPA filters, such as greater robustness and lower energy consumption. The filters are applied in critical cleanroom applications, such as in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and microelectronic industries.
Previously, HEPA filters with NELIOR Filtration Technology destined for the European region were produced in AAF’s manufacturing facility in Asia. With the transfer of the filter assembly from Asia to the new cleanroom facility in Emmen, flexibility and availability will now be significantly improved.
Besides the plant in the Netherlands, AAF has also implemented upgrades to its other European manufacturing locations in France, the UK and Slovakia. All facilities follow the Six Sigma improvement principles and are ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certified.