Guardtech reports continued demand for modular cleanrooms


Guardtech has been assembling a supplementary product range under the CleanCube brand for some time before the pandemic

The requirement for controlled environments continues to grow at an exponential rate owing to the demands imposed by COVID-19. Guardtech Cleanrooms has continued to supply its CleanCube portable cleanrooms to firms across the UK.

The company is currently building two BSL2 shipping containers for a client, with as many as ten more in the pipeline, it says, as well as two of their Luton Box Van cleanrooms.

“Demand for our mobile cleanrooms is higher than ever,” Guardtech Commercial Director, Mark Wheeler, said. “You might think that things are beginning to slow down as the R rate falls and normality begins to creep in again, but the virus isn’t suddenly about to disappear. We’ve been so proud to support the UK effort with our mobile labs and portable cleanrooms and it seems that the need for us to do so is just as essential now as it was last March.”

Through testing labs, ventilator manufacturing or patient care, or manufacturing businesses producing face masks and PPE to serve their local market, the need for vital controlled environments therefore appears to be as high as ever, Guardtech says.

“Demand for tightly controlled environments has never been greater,” he said. “In terms of the global pandemic, sensitive product segregation and upgraded manufacturing practice are hot topics right now.”

“Many businesses do not have the time to wait for the execution of detailed design and construction projects within the walls of their own facilities or on newly acquired land,” he added. “Risk management of an increased site presence is also a factor – in a time when employees are being encouraged to stay away from site, to work from home and to socially distance, the amplified risk imposed by an army of contractors onsite can be a daunting prospect.

“Space also can present a serious issue, finding an appropriate area to house a cleanroom, without interrupting production for any length of time, is no simple task within most facilities, where significant internal ‘free’ space is hard to find or make.”

Mr Wheeler explained how they provide an “attractive and realistic alternative” in overcoming the “headaches of onsite construction projects”.

He said: “We’ve utilised tried and tested mobile construction and transportation modules of modular buildings and shipping containers and upgraded them internally with design choices and material selection informed by decades of experience in controlled environment and cleanroom design and installation.

“Standard modules present a significant time-saving bonus, as the host building and its restrictions and limitations do not need to be factored into the design process. Common materials are in stock and, of course, repeatability breeds efficiency of installation, shortening lead time and reducing project cost.”

Units can be customised to suit the clients’ exact purpose and, although there are some inherent limitations to some of the mobile cleanrooms – particularly the shipping container modules – Mr Wheeler said modular buildings and their connectivity options “provide the flexibility to provide an innovative construction solution for most applications”.

The CleanCube modular buildings are available in up to three storeys, with a standard module width of ten feet and module lengths of 24 ft, 32 ft and 40 ft. Units can be stacked end on end and side by side to create clear open plan areas.

The all-steel construction features a flat-sided exterior finish, they can be dismantled, moved and re-used and can be stacked side by side and end on end.

CleanCube shipping containers are available in sizes from 20 ft to 40 ft and are modified internally to create classified cleanrooms from ISO5 to ISO8, controlled environments or labs, certified to ship via standard road and sea cargo networks, reducing cost and transportation times.

The range of portable cleanrooms can be fitted out to the same specification as standard modular cleanrooms, including the likes of GRP or rapid roll doors, environmental monitoring systems, temperature & humidity control, filtration, compressed air, potable or purified water, drainage, central vacuum, gas services and extraction.

And he also revealed that Guardtech provide a range of stainless steel or Trespa furniture for their various CleanCube models, including workbenches, stepover benches, lockers and cabinets – plus equipment such as biosafety cabinets, laminar flow units, nitrogen generators, transfer hatches, air showers and cranes.

“Regardless of how long COVID-19 continues to dominate headlines and inflicts restrictions, the landscape for manufacturing is changing,” Wheeler said. “In this new landscape, control will be key.

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“Control of supply chain – potentially with a reduced reliance on import and an increased respect for domestically produced goods – control of movement and control of process and product. Controlled environments will become more common place than they currently are, and, in some cases, a portable or mobile solution will be the key to unlocking the issue of time, space and cost.”

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