Angstrom Technology, Ecolab, Elis Cleanroom… just some of the exhibitors you could catch at this year’s event. You also might have managed to snag a conversation with speakers and representatives from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and GEA.
These attendees were among the over 400 attendees that were present at the 2023 outing of the Cleanroom Technology Conference.
For two days in Birmingham, the cleanroom industry gathered to network and learn. Through expert talks, exhibitor stands, and networking drinks, the two days proved useful to a wide range of industries.
Attendees came from more than 30 different countries and this international presence sparked some interesting conversations about the applicability of different regulations and the implications of industry norms.
Chairing Day one was Steve Ward from Validair, then taking the mantle on Day two was Tim Triggs from ABC. Both these powerhouses from the cleanroom sector were able to expertly guide the talks and Q&A sessions for the day, making sure delegates got the most out of the subject matter experts at their disposal.
Steven Ward cut the metaphorical ribbon of the day one talks. His intro was quickly followed by talks from cleanroom sector notables from STERIS and NPC, Jim Polarise and Peter Penn.
A well-attended talk from Charles River’s Duncan Barlow discussed the cost of microbial misidentification. Barlow delved into the challenges and consequences of misidentification, highlighting the different protein spectra that can be displayed by different strains of microbes. “Different strains can have different protein spectra and you cannot ID something that is not in the library, so a library must have good strain representation,” he said.
Ecolab Bioquell’s Chris Berridge then gave a talk about automated solutions for cleaning and disinfection, specifically the benefits that will be seen from the new Annex 1 and its encouragement of new technology. Berridge weighed up the pros and cons of these new technologies for attendees based on cycle time, safety, efficacy, and material compatibility. Giving insights such as: “There is some evidence to say UV struggles to kill spores”. It is this type of talk that enables visitors to take the pros and cons and apply them to their own facilities.
There is an issue with the medical devices industry in terms of external and internal training, as it is not required by law, it is all about the prices
- Patrycja Sitek, Owner of CRK
The next talk from the owner of CRK in Poland examined “personnel hygiene and cleanroom behaviour in accordance with the requirements of ISO 14644 standards”. In this talk, Patrycja Sitek made some interesting observations about how different industries apply these standards. “There is an issue with the medical devices industry in terms of external and internal training, as it is not required by law, it is all about the prices,” she said.
Stepping in for Contec’s ever-popular Karen Rossington, was her colleague Alison Livsey. Her talk gave some good tips on disinfectant residue management in cleanrooms. “Fluorescent trace drying allowed us to see a lot of information on residues, so that we can keep improving things,” Livsey said.
The sponsored networking drinks that followed the conclusion of the first day’s talks were extremely well attended, with everyone enjoying a good chat following a successful conclusion to the first day.
On day 2 the exhibitors opened their booths bright and early for the incoming delegates, with many in-depth conversations to be seen all around the room.
Those not speaking to delegates and making those all-important connections, were in the second day talks, learning from the best of the best.
Kicking it off, Tim Triggs gave the day’s intro, and what followed was the joint powerhouse of Joan Benson and Simon Rice from C2C (now known as Angstrom UK). Covering the building blocks of cleanroom compliance, focusing on the regulatory considerations throughout the project lifecycle, the talk marked 3 months to the day from the enforcement of Annex 1, and this was not overlooked.
It is rare to get such a deep insight into the ins and outs of how these companies run their projects, Benson spoke about her experience on an MHRA inspection day, with a fickle regulator’s last minute change of heart on the day. This required a quick turnaround change from design and build experts to help the client navigate.
I worked on a cleanroom on a main road in Manchester that when studied, needed the filters changing every three months
- Joan Benson, C2C
Benson and Rice also talked about how starting up a new cleanroom can require a lot of data, even from the surrounding environment. “I worked on a cleanroom on a main road in Manchester that when studied, needed the filters changing every three months,” she said.
This talk fed nicely into Stephen Ward’s own discussion on the design, construction, and start-up of cleanrooms, specifically on the new ISO 14644-4, which is focused on this. On the design front, he said: “The design is going to put a cushion in, but we can tune it down with data.”
ICCCS Chair Conor Murray also honed in on this topic of ‘overkill’ in the cleanroom, mentioning in his following talk about how the new Annex 1 has gotten rid of the air change rate table. “Is this for the better,” he posed to the audience.
A particularly disruptive talk from the day was given by Ivan Kaliman from Argentina-based Zwei Ingenieria. The biosafety cabinet expert broke down the differences between NSF 49 and EN12469. What he spoke about left many jaws on the floor in the conference hall. Questions from cleanroom experts in the hall posed real questions for product safety. A particular cleanroom notable even said the talk made him think about concerns for European safety cabinets vs US ones. Kaliman’s reply was even more interesting, “a lot of cabinets pass regs but products are contaminated”.
A regulatory update from Tim Triggs followed, with a deep dive into GMP and its wider adoption across the globe. This is one not to miss if you want to be keeping on top of things in your facility.
To round at the day, an absolution fascinating presentation was delivered by Simon Payne from Cambustion. The talk gave insights into filtration performance of PPE and HVAC filters using size-classified particles. Payne delved deeper into this topic than most industry veterans have seen in their time in the industry, and some of the findings from his company’s testing would provoke an interesting discussion in most engineering circles.
And that was that. The end of another year at the Cleanroom Technology Conference. Catching many faces as they carried supplies out of the door, it was great to hear so much feedback from exhibitors and delegates alike on what they had gotten out of the two days. The impact these two days have on this niche sector is fantastic to hear, and it seems everyone is looking forward to the next one!
But before next year’s conference, Cleanroom Technology Conference will once again be going to Singapore in December. Yes, the news is out! Following an outstanding response in 2022, the conference will see the controlled environment sector once again descend on the Marina Bay Sands Conference Centre. So keep your eyes peeled for the exact date to follow!
So with the big news out, we hope you all had a fantastic time in Birmingham with us.
Looking to the future, if you have any ideas to share, or feel like you have something to contribute to the industry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about speaking next year, or brian@hpcimedia for exhibitor enquiries.
See you all in 2024!