Suzhou Super Clean Technology redesigns project for cost-effective FFUs

Published: 17-May-2023

For many smaller cleanroom projects, the design process has to take into account smaller budgets. This Ukrainian case study shows some of the ways the SCT team went about this

In 2022, one of Suzhou Super Clean Technology's Ukrainian clients approached them with the request of creating several ISO Class 7 and ISO Class 8 laboratory cleanrooms to grow plants within an existing building that comply with ISO 14644. 

"We have been entrusted with both the complete design and the manufacturing of the project. Recently all items have arrived on site and are ready for cleanroom installation. As it stands now, we would like to do a summary of this project so far…," the company stated.

The design and preparation phase

The total clean space to be constructed made up about 50 sqm, which essentially meant several small cleanrooms.

"Since we specialise in custom-built cleanrooms for various industrial needs, we gladly accepted the challenge with the hope of being able to provide a simple, cost-effective solution that can even exceed expectations. During the design phase, we created detailed sketches of the clean space that were to include the following rooms:"

Suzhou Super Clean Technology redesigns project for cost-effective FFUs

"At first, we drafted a traditional cleanroom with constant temperature and humidity and made calculations for the entire cost. In addition to the design and manufacturing of the cleanrooms, the initial offer and the preliminary plans included an air handling unit with air supply that was 15-20% higher than the required air supply. These original plans were made in accordance with laminar flow rules with supply and return manifolds and integrated H14 HEPA filters."

Costing it out

The cost of a cleanroom is not only extremely investment intensive to build, but operational costs can also depend on the number of required air exchanges and filtration efficiency. Operation can be extremely costly, as maintaining the appropriate air quality means the room has to be in constant operation. Not to mention, energy-efficient operation and continuous adherence to cleanroom standards make a cleanroom one of the most important infrastructures for manufacturing technology and laboratories.
The typical investment cost for complete cleanrooms varies depending on:

  • Required level of cleanliness of the cleanroom
  • Technology used
  • Size of the rooms
  • Division of the clean space

In this case, the clean space was also strongly divided on a very small floor area, where three smaller rooms (Laboratory #1, Laboratory #2, Sterile Entrance) had an ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanliness requirement, resulting in a significant increase in initial investment cost.

"Understandably, the high investment cost also shook the investor, as the budget for this project was limited."

Redesign with a cost-effective FFU solution

"At the request of the investor, we started exploring cost reduction options."

"The layout of the cleanroom as well as the number of doors and pass boxes were given, no extra savings could be achieved here. In contrast, redesigning the air supply system seemed an obvious solution."

"Therefore, the ceilings of the rooms were redesigned as duplicates, and the required air volume was calculated and compared with the height of the available room. Fortunately, there was enough space to increase the height. The idea was to place FFUs through the ceilings, and from there supply clean air to the cleanrooms via HEPA filters with the help of an FFU system (fan filter units). Return air is then recirculated with the help of gravity through air ducts on sidewalls, which are mounted into the walls, so that no space is lost."

"Unlike AHUs, FFUs allow air to flow into each zone to meet the requirements of that specific zone."

"During the redesign, we included a ceiling-mounted air conditioner through the ceilings with adequate capacity, which can both heat and cool the space. FFUs have been arranged to provide optimal air flow within the space."

Cost savings

The redesign resulted in significant savings as the new design allowed for the exclusion of several costly elements such as:

  • AHU
  • Complete duct system with control elements
  • Motorised valves

"The new design consists of a very simple system that not only significantly reduces investment costs, but also leads to lower operating costs than an AHU system."

"In contrast to the original design, the redesigned system fit into the investor’s budget, so we contracted for the project."


"In light of the achieved results, it can be stated that cleanroom implementations with FFU systems complying with ISO14644 or GMP standards can result in significant cost reduction. Cost advantage can be achieved regarding both the investment and operating costs. The FFU system can also be controlled very easily, thus, if necessary, the cleanroom can be placed at rest during the out-of-shift periods."

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