Timberline Blog

Retrofitting a Biopharmaceutical Process Area

February 25, 2012 by John Kuepper, Member

Recently, Timberline was called upon to retrofit an existing biopharmaceutical process area to accommodate twice the amount of air it currently had available. The customer wanted to increase their production of product in this specific process area, and needed higher amounts of ventilation, as well as makeup air. Much of our work in the special projects division requires re-designs and retrofits into existing constraints. For this particular project, the HVAC design requirement was to move double the air changes, using the same area on the roof that the original HVAC equipment occupied.

Timberline provided the customer with an intelligent solution that incorporated a 7000 CFM makeup air unit with a combination gas/electric heat package for the heating season, and a remote condensing unit for the cooling season (in order to minimize the weight concentrated in one location). We chose Aaon Inc. to partner with on this project for the equipment. The condensing unit incorporates a digital scroll compressor for part load operation and energy savings. The gas heat section has dual modulating gas valves for a turndown capability of 3:1. In order to keep the makeup air unit in the same area as the original equipment, we went with an eight stage electric duct heater to assist the gas heat section when the ambient temperatures drop below 10 degrees.

For the exhaust of the process area, Timberline needed to add a higher capacity Bag-In/Bag-Out (BIBO) filer section, along with a higher capacity utility set (exhaust fan). In order to make the BIBO filter fit in the general area of the exhaust drop and exhaust fan, we needed to reorient the BIBO filter. New duct was fabricated and installed to allow for the new location of the BIBO filter and exhaust fan.

Below the roof, Timberline provided a revised duct system to carry the higher amounts of air to and from the process area. New laminar flow diffusers were installed inside the process area to allow for smooth movement of air across the lab. The velocity of air across the diffusers was re-designed to 550 FPM (feet per minute), which resulted in a very quiet HVAC system.

Finally, we added the necessary controls for both the makeup air and ventilation air to automate the system for smooth operation in all seasons.

From the initial design to the final startup of the system, Timberline provided a system that will deliver excellent performance and reliability for years to come.

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