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Regulating Pressurised Environments

Posted on June 13, 2019

There are many environments where a regulated difference in pressure is required for effective operation, ranging from the world of engineering to hospitals. Within these environments the use of pressure sensors and transmitters is vital.

There are two variations in pressured environments, and each has a distinct set of uses. These two types are over-pressured and under-pressured.

Regulating Pressurised Environments

Over-pressured environments

The most frequently used form of pressured environment is an over-pressured environment. These have a wide variety of applications and are found commonly in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals but are also used in precision engineering environments and hospital operating theatres.

The basic principle is that air is pushed into the room faster than it is let out. This creates a high-pressure environment. Due to the pressure difference, dirt, dust and airborne microbes are excluded from critical areas.

This has apparent uses with regards to the manufacture of critical medicines, as any contaminants could risk the integrity of the final product. Here, over-pressured cleanrooms are used to ensure uncontaminated production.

With regard to operating theatres, it’s vital to eliminate airborne contaminants at a time when a patient’s natural defences are compromised.

In the same way, over-pressured environments can also be applied to the care of critical care patients, whose immune systems have been compromised.

Outside of the healthcare world, over-pressured environments maintain their usefulness by eliminating harmful dust particles where production tolerances are so small that such particles could result in the manufacture of a faulty or integrally hazardous item.

Under-pressured environments

On the other side of the equation to over-pressured environments are under-pressured environments.

As a pose to keeping contaminants out, under-pressured environments are used to contain contaminants. Such environments are useful in the case of biotech laboratories, for example.

In these situations, the objective is to keep harmful substances and pathogens contained to one room and to prevent contamination of the outside world. This is achieved by reversing the process for over-pressured environments.

Here, the air is exhausted from the room faster than it is pushed in, creating an area of low pressure – a vacuum.

The role of sensors and transmitters in over and under-pressured environments

The pressure differences in these controlled environments are often minimal.

Due to these tight tolerances, even the smallest fluctuations in relative pressure can have a detrimental effect upon the end product.

In order to avoid these fluctuations, it is necessary to utilise relative pressure sensors and transmitters. These can be used in a variety of ways.

At the most rudimentary end of the scale sensors are placed inside and outside of the pressured environment and employees regularly check the two measurements, making a note of the relative difference.

However, as companies move towards more advanced practices, it is now possible to install one sensor and transmitter inside the pressured environment which is calibrated to specific pressure measurement.

If the sensor detects too much of a fluctuation, it communicates directly with the facility’s HVAC system and adjusts the air flow to compensate, ensuring that significant variations in pressure are not allowed to develop.

Pressurised environments such as cleanrooms and operating theatres are a vital component of a wide variety of industries. As such the proper implementation of high-quality pressure sensors is equally essential.

To discover more about Omni’s range of high-quality and ISO calibrated sensors and transmitters, click here.

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