Mintek clean room

New facilities for Mintek

A R13-million project was completed by Royal HaskoningDHV for Mintek, in Johannesburg. The two facilities created are an ISO 3 Cleanroom and an ISO 5 Cleanroom with a BSL 3 Laboratory for Rapid Diagnostic Device Manufacturing and Testing. These facilities will allow for the manufacturing of devices that are capable of speedily diagnosing illnesses like malaria, in its early stages.

These facilities will go a long way in helping South Africa to achieve its goal of zero local transmission by 2018, a malaria elimination campaign spearheaded by the National Department of Health. Early diagnosis and subsequent treatment is a crucial life saver for those afflicted.

Classifications

  • The ISO classification of a cleanroom indicates the level of air cleanliness inside the room. An ISO 9 cleanroom is the lowest designated cleanroom classification, and an ISO 1 cleanroom is the highest.
  • A BSL 3 Laboratory handles airborne-transmitted agents that often need a low infectious dose to produce effects, and can cause serious or life-threatening disease. The BSL 3 Laboratory is the second highest type of containment facility (the highest is a BSL4 Laboratory).

Walter van der Linde, mechanical engineer in Royal HaskoningDHV’s specialised Cleanrooms division, explained that some of the few design specialists in the country capable of meeting the specifications required for BSL 3-graded laboratories and ISO 3 cleanrooms are with Royal HaskoningDHV.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s role

Van der Linde, project manager for the Cleanrooms division says, ‘Royal HaskoningDHV managed all of the independently contracted services within the plant room and ceiling void space to ensure an installation that effectively conforms to international cleanroom specifications. The electrical services included the lighting, electrical reticulation to support the mechanical equipment, the switched socket outlets and power supply to the general lab equipment’.

In addition, the mechanical services included the Environmental Control System, the UDAFs (Uni-directional Airflow), Autoclave, the effluent system, the fumigation pass-through hatch, wet and gas services and the bio-safety cabinets.

Energy and sustainability

Energy efficiency and sustainability were uppermost in mind and the Mintek design includes:

  • Chillers with a high coefficient of performance
  • The least required amount of fresh air is introduced to the AHUs in order to pressurise the laboratories while meeting the National Building Regulations. This ensures that only the air that is needed is cooled and no energy is wasted.
  • Sealed laboratories to ensure that there are no unintentional conditioned-air leaks.
  • Insulated Chromadek panelling serves as the partitioning and walls of the laboratories. The panels contain the heat loads generated in each room and insulate the laboratory from the solar load so less cooling is required.

Challenges

When creating a cleanroom design in an existing facility, there are bound to be challenges. According to van der Linde, ‘The available plant space was limited. This issue was resolved with the help of our structural engineers who designed two platforms.’ They were built between existing building structures for the extraction fans, safe change housings, and the air handling unit.