Air Speed and/or Volume Control
The basic function of a Fan Filter Unit (FFU) is to provide a continuous flow of filtered air over a clean zone in the front end of the tool or on the tool itself. How the air is controlled is one of the most important parts of the design. The air flow is typically controlled in one of 3 ways:
- Analog/Manual control, using a Rheostat speed control – The control can be physically located on the FFU, or in a remote box. The box might be cosmetic for a surface mount or with a face plate for a recessed mount on the tool.
- Digital control, using the Air-Care Automation Variphase – When more precise control or a secure air flow setting is required, a digital control system is substituted for the rheostat. The “variphase” control board not only provides the ability to set the flow exactly to a digital setting but affords a number of other nice features like soft start, energy savings and the ability for the FFU (or Primary/Secondary set) to be commanded to “set back” to an alternate speed when conditions change, like when a door on the tool is opened.
- Automated Pressure Control (APC) – Increasingly the use of pressure controlled FFU operation is being written into specifications. In this case the rheostat speed control is replaced by a version of the Air-Care Variphase that, operating with information from a Setra 0.01″ range pressure sensor, can control the operation of the FFU to achieve and hold a “set pressure point” in the clean zone. This can be done with a single FFU or with a large “Primary/Secondary” installation. When the FFUs are first installed it is useful for the FFU(s) to be able to operate in a manual mode for the initial clean down of the tool. The pressure controlled option comes in two varieties:
- Selecting manually adjusted versus pressure controlled operation is done via a jumper on the outside of the FFU. Jumper on=manual control via a speed pot, jumper off= full pressure control and the same pot becomes the set point adjustment
- Full external control where every function (fans on/off, manual or pressure, PID, fan speed up or down, and etc) is done via an Air-Care SP1 console, or directly from a computer hooked to the FFU via RSA 485.