Air Innovations, Inc. (AI) has announced the completion of several projects requiring the company's expertise designing and building custom environmental control units (ECUs). Two ECUs were shipped to two pharmaceutical-packaging firms that had demanding air-conditioning specifications, said AI President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Wetzel, PE. One customer needed precisely controlled conditions to provide an exact level of uniform drying for fluid bed dryers used to coat capsules, pills, and caplets. The ECU supplying air to the process tools needed to be able to add or remove humidity to maintain a 50˚F dew-point level, Wetzel explained.
The second customer required a single packaged system containing humidification and a cooling system, as well as a desiccant dryer, for a blister-pack packaging machine. The company requested flexibility in environmental control in anticipation of future industry requirements. The multiple device system AI designed can provide either a very dry or a very humid environment on demand.
University research labs continue to specify AI's ECUs, Wetzel said. To expand its research infrastructure in the field of nanophotonics, one institution specified a three-cubed, water-cooled system (each cube 26 in. by 30 in.) with a dry-steam humidification for an electron-beam lithography tool. The tool will be used to support the research program led by one of the university's top scientists. The other university ordered an ECU for a 425 sq ft cleanroom laboratory that will be adjacent to the school's existing scanning electronic microscope and photolithography rooms. The project includes the construction of a cleanroom enclosure with Class 100 and Class 1000 rooms.
A cleanroom being upgraded for a specialty contact-lens manufacturer will receive two 15-ton vertical environmental control units to replace the original AI system that has been successfully operating 24/7 since 1988. The manufacturer also owns two other older AI ECUs and eventually will replace them with updated versions, Wetzel said.