Portable Clean Air Systems: 5 Military Compliance Myths

Portable Clean Air Systems: 5 Military Compliance Myths

A portable clean air system that’s flexible, cost effective and compliant with military manufacturing requirements sounds almost too good to be true. After all, how can something that retracts to 20% of its overall footprint still filter toxic chemicals such as hexavalent chromium, isocyanates and VOCs — and do it well enough to meet OSHA and EPA standards?

If you think that a portable clean air system can’t meet military clean air standards for maintenance, repair and operations (MRO), think again. At Duroair, we have designed and installed over 250 portable systems for commercial manufacturers, military primes, aerospace and spaceflight companies.

Unlike a standard, portable paint booth or sanding enclosure, Duroair clean air systems are customized according to each job site’s individual needs. This customization also allows sanding, coating and painting tasks to all take place simultaneously.

This article will dispel some of the most common myths about using portable clean air systems for military clean air applications. Here are five misconceptions.

1. Portable clean air systems are not as durable as solid structures.

There’s a saying among engineers, including military engineers: “If it’s not steel, it’s not real.” Common sense would tell us that solid, non-portable structures are more durable and thus, automatically better than portable alternatives such as Duroair’s retractable systems. While permanent clean room structures absolutely have their place in military facilities, portable clean air systems bring a lot more bottom-line value to the table, without sacrificing compliance.

Not only do Duroair portable clean air systems cost less upfront, they can be immediately deployed upon receipt, instead of waiting weeks or months for a permanent clean room to be built. They also offer a flexible footprint and can retract down to 20% of the fully extended size when not in use, freeing up the shop floor for other activities. In other words, these portable, clean air systems offer many advantages for military quick-deploy operations

2. The air filtration in portable systems does not meet compliance standards.

One common misconception that we get about our Duroair clean air systems is that a portable enclosure simply cannot meet all the necessary compliance standards for paint booths and clean rooms. While we understand the skepticism, the truth is that our portable clean air systems have to meet the same compliance standards that permanent facilities do, including OSHA, EPA and ISO.

In fact, our six-stage DuroPure™ filtration in each portable enclosure can be configured to capture up to 100% of air particulates, depending on what compliance standards your military operations need to meet. The first three filters capture particulates from 10 microns down to 1 or even .03 microns in size, depending on what filters you choose. Then the final three filters treat the remaining air with carbon and UV filters, specifically photocatalytic oxidation. This combination means that the air is treated and filtered well within all relevant compliance standards, ensuring that MRO workers are kept safe on the job.

3. Portable enclosure materials are not durable.

We have also heard skepticism from engineers about the durability of the materials used to build our portable enclosures for our clean air systems. While they may not be able to rival the durability of a (vastly more expensive) hard-walled clean room, we do make our portable enclosures from high-quality vinyl which offer more longevity than you might think.

The clear vinyl covering is extremely thick and double polished for the finish. The material is not only flame retardant, it is also resistant to damage from UV rays as well as rot and mildew. Because the clear vinyl material offers 95% light transference, this also reduces the need for additional electrical installations, further saving your military operations money when compared to a more permanent structure.

4. Complicated and expensive venting will be necessary.

Another assumption that many people make about our portable clean air systems is that they will require expensive, complex venting and ducting in order to work properly. While we do offer one enclosure configuration that requires venting (DuroCap™), we also offer multiple, portable options equipped with our DuroPure six-stage filtration that captures particulates, isocyanates, hexavalent chromium and destroys VOCs so clean air recirculates back into the work space.

These non-vented clean air systems are possible because we designed the fan and spray air to interlock. This means that the user cannot spray contaminants unless the fan is running. We also designed the spray air to interlock with a VOC monitor so that your MRO workers can work with the assurance that the VOC level does not rise above the OSHA-specified level of 50ppm. This allows the filtered air to be recirculated within the enclosure, saving you the material and labor costs related to venting.

5. Portable clean air systems will not be cost effective over the long run.

At this point, it should be clear that portable clean air systems can result in significant cost savings in the short term when compared to constructing a permanent clean room. But how do they stack up against more permanent facilities over the long run?

The fact is that portable clean air systems offer many benefits that directly translate to cost savings in both the short and long term for military operations.

These bottom-line benefits include:

  • Reducing material handling time
  • Minimizing shop floor bottlenecks
  • Increasing manufacturing throughput
  • Decreasing wear and tear on your facility

These portable Duroair clean air systems also eliminate the need to contract out clean room and paint booth activities to other facilities — saving shipping and handling costs and potentially preventing damage that can occur in transit. These cost reductions mean that you can put your budget towards more impactful line items.

Ready to discover how Duroair’s portable clean air systems can meet your military clean air needs? Contact our industrial clean air experts today for a free consultation.

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