Connect 2 Cleanrooms supports ESS Particle Accelerator


Cleanroom construction specialist delivers two cleanroom projects for the European Spallation Source in Sweden through a contract with the Science and Technology Facilities Council

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) – deemed a world-leading science organisation supporting R&D in many disciplines – has worked closely with Connect 2 Cleanrooms (C2C) over the years, using the cleanroom specialists to engineer contamination control solutions to meet niche requirements. When STFC required a bespoke cleanroom for the European Spallation Source (ESS) Sweden, it awarded C2C the tender to deliver two cleanroom projects for the particle accelerator facility. The European Spallation Source is under construction in the city of Lund, in southern Sweden.

The new cleanrooms were needed to facilitate the build and operation of a particle accelerator, which will be the world’s most powerful neutron source, enabling scientific breakthroughs in research. The first cleanroom allows ESS to establish their own experiences and procedures on how they are going to build the accelerator. Once this cleanroom experience was established, STFC provided Connect 2 Cleanrooms with the concept for the second mobile cleanroom.

The particle accelerator is being built in sections within this ISO Class 5 mobile cleanroom at ESS facilities in Sweden. These sections are initially built outside of the tunnel, as there are fewer restrictions on space and better access to infrastructure.

The new cleanrooms were needed to facilitate the build and operation of a particle accelerator, which will be the world’s most powerful neutron source, enabling scientific breakthroughs in research

Accelerator sections are built in the cleanroom and once completed, they are checked and sealed before being transported down the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel ESS have mobile cleanrooms to allow the interconnection of different accelerator sections maintaining ISO 5 conditions. This is an ongoing process, with the accelerator commissioning due in 2021.

To ensure an efficient cleanroom installation in Sweden, Connect 2 Cleanrooms first performed a ‘dry-build’ at its facility in Lancaster, supervised by STFC. This ensured the cleanroom delivered on site in Sweden was 100% functional and to specification. This off-site construction also allows for a cleaner, more efficient build on site, as there will be no on site modifications.

The size of the tunnel presented a challenge for the mobile cleanroom. With an overall height of 4m, the engineers needed to operate the accelerator, such as water and compressed air, at heights of around 3.5m.

Mobile solution

For this reason, STFC requested the mobile cleanroom to be in three different sections. Each section could operate independently, but also could be connected together when in position. One section is also height adjustable so that it can move freely under the services, then be adjusted to a full height when in position.

As the mobile cleanroom was to be relocated frequently, it was built with a robust stainless steel construction. STFC generated a user requirements specification (URS) document that Connect 2 Cleanrooms adhered to. By working to the STFC’s brief, it added value to the design in terms of the fine detail, such as how to connect the cleanroom units together and perform the height alteration.

Commenting on the project, Keith Middleman, senior vacuum engineer, STFC, said: “The biggest stand out I can say about working with Connect 2 Cleanrooms is their flexibility. They bring ideas. For us, it gives them an advantage over other companies who try to offer more off-the- shelf cleanrooms, because STFC need a custom built solution.

Middleman continued: “Their mobility and flexibility to find new areas for cleanrooms and having the skill to provide a bespoke solution, is something that isn’t readily available elsewhere.

Key features

  • three separate cleanroom ‘pods’ which interconnect to form a single footprint
  • mobile pods for the manufacture and in situ tunnel install of the particle accelerator
  • one pod height adjustable to facilitate a difference in relocation and operational heights
  • meet particle counts according to ISO 14644-1:2015 Class 5, through ULPA filtration
  • overall footprint: 6.91m² with an internal height of 2.83m which can be altered to 3.5m
  • tool area: 1.62m² (1.21m x 1.34m) - 187no. air changes per hour at 0.45m/s
  • change area: 2.66m² (1.21m x 2.2m) - 114no. air changes per hour at 0.36m/s
  • work area: 2.64m² (1.2m x 2.2m) - 143no. air changes per hour at 0.45m/s
  • LED task lighting for sensitive and precise work

Fiona Kerr, territory account manager, Connect 2 Cleanrooms, commented:“We love innovation, so when STFC approached us with this unique and exciting requirement, we knew it was a project we could help them with. STFC is a world class organisation and we are cleanroom experts. Combining STFC’s process knowledge with our cleanroom R&D know-how, meant the collaboration worked perfectly.

“After the success of this project, we are now working with STFC on another three mobile cleanrooms which will be contributing to the building of the particle accelerator at ESS Sweden.”

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