Air Showers Increase Productivity,
Air showers help ensure the removal of particulates that would otherwise be car-
ried into the cleanroom.
Whether the goal is high yields or regulatory compliance, controlled environments are integral to pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. Air showers are vital to maintaining the clean environment; they help protect
operations from the constant threat of air particulate contamination. Medical device, bio-tech, and
pharmaceutical industries require contaminant-free
environments and use air showers as part of their
Air showers are self-contained air recirculation
systems installed at entrances to cleanrooms and
other controlled environments. Because people and
products are the main sources of cleanroom contamination, these cleanroom entry systems quickly
and efficiently remove particulate contaminants
from workers or products before they enter a clean
space. They are intended as the “final polish” after
gowning prior to entering a cleanroom environment. Decontamination air showers are also used to
remove particulates as workers leave hazardous work
areas before going out into the general public.
Air showers blow high-velocity jets of HEPA-filtered air to remove loose particles from people and
products before they enter a clean room. This decontamination process means cleaner air enters the
clean room, reducing product defects and increasing
Additional advantages include longer-lasting
cleanroom HEPA (high efficiency particulate air)
filters because contaminant loads are lower. Without
the pre-cleaning air showers provide, the main cleanroom air filtration system would absorb the entire
contamination load, which increases energy consumption and maintenance costs.
How air showers work
Air showers operate similarly to automated car wash
pressure washer systems, where the car enters the
wash chamber, doors at both ends close; high-pressure streams of water from all angles blast particles
of dirt from the car. The cleaning cycle ends, a light
comes on and the exit door opens.
In an air shower, a worker passes through the
entry door, and a sensor activates interlock magnets,
which lock the air shower and cleanroom doors.
Numerous adjustable nozzles blow high-velocity
streams of Class 100 filtered air onto workers. The
high-velocity air creates a flapping effect on clothing
that produces a scrubbing action, removing particulates from cleanroom garments. To ensure all particulates are removed, workers raise their arms and
rotate in place.
Indicator lights signal the end of the cleaning
cycle, and the cleanroom door opens. It takes four
to eight seconds of cleaning time and another two to
four seconds for the air shower to purge contaminated air prior to the worker exiting. Microprocessors
control the cleaning and wait times. A touchscreen
inside the air shower displays a visual instruction
of where the air shower is in the cycle and includes
a countdown screen to inform occupants of time
remaining in the air shower.
There are important factors to consider when specifying an air shower include effectiveness (power and
capacity) and air filtration.
Power and capacity are the major influences on
the effectiveness of an air shower. Cleaning power
is determined by nozzle velocity: the speed at which
air is pushed through the nozzles. It takes high-velocity air to dislodge contaminants; the higher the
velocity or cleaning force, the more contaminants are
Capacity is the volume of air circulated in the
system. More air volume means faster cleaning and
removal of contamination through the filtration and
To specify the most effective air shower, look for
one that produces nozzle velocities of 7,800 feet per
minute (fpm) and circulates 1,900 cubic feet per
minute (cfm) of air.
Velocity is measured at the nozzle, and cleaning
effectiveness deteriorates as distance from the nozzle increases. Therefore, air showers should have a
Clean Air Products
Air showers remove
particulate from personnel
prior to entering
All images: Clean Air