AIRGIRL: CLEANROOM KNOW-HOW FOR EVERYDAY LIFE
- 6. October 2021
- Posted by:
- Category: cleanroom technology, expert forum against covid
Photo: Cleanroom Technology Austria GmbH/ Wilddesign GmbH
The expert forum for clean room technologies against Covid-19 marks a success story and cooperation project of the Silicon Alps Cluster. In the course of the frequent exchange between its members, a special innovation product has been created. Meet: AirGirl!
The family business Cleanroom Technology Austria has been dealing with air purification systems since 1965 and developed a small and mobile air purification device already 25 years ago, named the AirBoy. The AirBoy is used in rooms in which particle-free or germ-free room air is required. The areas of application are very diverse and range, for example, from hospitals and medical practices to variable applications in the pharmaceutical, food, microbiology, microelectronics and semiconductor, as well as aerospace industries.
An integrated fan pushes air from the bottom through a pre-filter upwards through a HEPA filter and then laterally through four slot outlets, creating a kind of “cleanroom-cloud” around the device. Apart from filter replacement, the AirBoy is completely maintenance-free.
However, the airflow concept of the AirBoy was not entirely suitable for everyday rooms in which several people stay for a longer period of time. Due to Covid-19, there was an increased demand for rooms with purified air, which is why the idea of making the AirBoy more convenient for everyday use came up in autumn 2020. At the starting point, a higher volume of air and a lower sound pressure level (max. 47 dB (A)) were required. In addition, the air purification devices should have a long service life with a long use of the filter and, additionally, the device should be mobile, for example, in order to being able to move it to conference rooms without great effort.
Photo: Cleanroom Technology Austria GmbH
In order to meet these requirements, the AirBoy was further developed to AirGirl by Cleanroom Technology Austria in February of this year, under the direction of Managing Director Roman Czech. It features a reverse flow concept, developed together with Prof. Stefan Radl from the Institute for Process and Particle Technology at TU Graz with the help of flow simulations.
The AirGirl gently sucks in the viruses and bacteria from all four sides and the clean air, which has been cleaned via two filter stages, is blown as far into the room as possible. Since you never know exactly where an infected person is sitting in the room, this special flow concept on the one hand drew in and filtered the virus-contaminated air within a radius of 4m and also diluted the more distant room air.
Photo: Cleanroom Technology Austria GmbH
Since the sound levels of the first prototypes were still above the desired sound level of 47 dB (A), the Carinthian startup Silent Quo was called in the project. The company deals with noise protection for technical systems and room acoustics in all situations and was able to optimize the prototype so that the device was 5 dB (A) quieter and thus even below the desired value of 47 dB (A).
To get a better idea: with a sound level reduction of 3 dB (A), you will perceive the noise as half as low.
For example, in order to clean the room air effectively and quickly for a short time during breaks, the AirGirl also has a Boost button. In the flushing mode, 1600 m3/h of air are cleaned – but the noise protection value of 47 dB (A) is clearly exceeded here.
Most recently, CTA also dealt with the question of design. For this purpose, Wilddesign GmbH was commissioned to optimize the appearance of the AirGirl
With the expertise of clean room, flow & noise protection technology as well as industrial design and the participation of four companies, a product was developed that offers increased protection, especially in times of flu and pandemics, for being indoors with several people.
The AirGirl can therefore be used in various areas, such as conference rooms, school classes or at celebrations. The AirGirl is a good alternative, especially for rooms where ventilation is difficult, for example due to extreme street noise. In the household sector, asthmatics in particular benefit from getting a good night’s sleep again thanks to the purified air.
Roman Czech, managing director of CTA, is convinced of his product, but also says that the goal must not be to always use these devices:
“We spend a lot of time indoors. The more people, the more viruses we are exposed to. If you are constantly surrounded by very good air filters and sterile rooms, our immune system forgets how to fight these viruses. Ventilating windows is still the better solution for fresh room air, but in phases like the flu season or the current pandemic it is an advantage – too many viruses are a problem for our immune system and we should also prepare ourselves for the future. “
With this project, Cleanroom Technology Austria has for the first time brought its cleanroom and flow technology expertise to the end consumer sector.
About the experts‘ forum
From the initiative of the Silicon Alps Cluster and in further cooperation with the Styrian Human Technology Cluster and the Upper Austrian Medical Technology Cluster, the expert forum on clean room technologies against COVID-19 was founded to provide well-founded information and advice to the public, politics and business.
Austria takes a leading role and leading position in cleanroom technology worldwide. With a total of 80 years of experience in keeping ambient air clean of all harmful substances in the production of micro- and nanotechnologies, the expert forum on clean room technologies against COVID-19 is an important competence center. The leading cleanroom companies in Austria, universities, users of filter technology from large-scale industry and specialized start-ups form the spearhead of the high-caliber committee.
The expert forum also provided the common place for the collaboration of AirGirl between CTA, TU Graz and Silent Quo, all of whom contribute their expertise to the expert forum.
“Often there are also competitors in the cluster focus groups – however, working together on the focus topics creates partnerships that let us all pull and work together,” says Roman Czech about the expert forum and the focus groups of the Silicon Alps cluster.