When the University of Otago needed a trace metal free clean lab Setpoint stepped up to the challenge. Setpoint Solutions Ltd has had over 20 years’ experience creating pressure control solutions. The lab needed to have reliable positive pressure. This meant there needed to be two air handers to supply clean air, one always running with the other on standby to take over if there was a fault. As well as this emergency changeover, the units also needed to be programmed to switch to the standby unit after a week of running. This would ensure equal running hours for each unit and ensure that both would be in good operating condition.
Touch screens within the lab would notify users that this changeover was required and that the lab should be made ready for the expected drop of room pressure caused by changing from one unit to another. The lab technician would then accept the duty change and the programmed change would take place. The fan would be stopped, isolation dampers closed on the new standby unit and opened on the unit that would operate, the heating cooling and humidification would change to completely different coils and humidifiers.
This challenge needed innovative and creative thinking, so it was a good thing Setpoint Solutions was on the job!
The creative solution our team developed covered as many points of failure as could be thought of to make this lab pressure control as reliable and stable as possible. Each air handler had its own independent controller on separate power supplies with hardwired connections to allow a changeover even if the IT Ethernet network went down.
Through hard work writing the specialised code and a very thorough testing process, our technicians managed to get the weekly changeover so seamless the pressure change was virtually undetectable from inside the room. The emergency changeover was fine-tuned to be as speedy as possible and also exceeded expectations. The units only had a few seconds of downtime even in a complete failure of the duty air handler.
After a couple of weeks of the lab being in operation, the lab manager contacted Setpoint to get the weekly duty change notification and approval removed. The pressure change was so small that it was deemed that this changeover did not need approval from the room occupants.
The award-winning facility now provides a clean space for research and analysis.