A look at the role of relative humidity

Here we explore why controlled humidity is essential for reliable research outcomes.

Maintaining optimal relative humidity (RH) levels is essential in research laboratories, pharmaceutical cleanrooms, and semiconductor fabrication facilities, where precision, quality, and safety are non-negotiable. The RH levels present in these facilities directly influence processes, equipment functionality, material integrity, and the well-being of personnel. The business benefits of controlling RH in these settings are immense, ranging from preventing electrostatic discharge risks to ensuring consistent research outcomes to safeguarding product quality.

One of the primary challenges in all of these environments is the presence of static electricity. Delicate electronic components and sensitive materials are susceptible to damage caused by electrostatic discharge, and fluctuating RH levels can increase this risk. This control of RH is particularly critical in industries such as semiconductor manufacturing, where even slight variations in humidity can substantially impact processes and outcomes.

Research outcomes in biotechnology laboratories heavily depend on stable and controlled conditions. Fluctuations in humidity can lead to variations in experimental conditions, potentially compromising the reliability and validity of research results. Precision humidity control has emerged as a crucial advancement and enhanced sensor technologies and control algorithms enable more precise control over humidity levels.

Boston Scientific Cork Ltd. (BSCL), a manufacturer of heart surgery stents, faced the challenge of ensuring precise and continuous humidification within 1% of the set point. The existing humidifiers were unable to meet this control requirement.

To address these challenges, BSCL replaced existing electrode humidifiers with fourteen DriSteem resistive-element humidifiers in their stent production areas. As required, these humidifiers ensured that the relative humidity (RH) in BSCL’s production rooms remained within 1% of the set point. The steam was effectively dispersed using dispersion panels in the seven air-handling units. The humidifiers were strategically distributed throughout the air handling units, with some units accommodating up to three humidifiers based on the load requirements.

By implementing DriSteem resistive-element humidifiers, BSCL successfully overcame the challenges of maintaining precise control and efficiency in their stent production areas. The new humidifiers ensured continuous and accurate humidification within a tight range of the set point, addressing the limitations of the previous electrode humidifiers. This improvement enhanced the quality of their critical operations and contributed to cost savings through reduced energy consumption, lower maintenance expenses, and optimised resource conservation. Advanced humidification technologies, such as those offered by industry leaders like DriSteem, play a vital role in addressing these diverse needs. Whether integrating humidity control solutions in existing structures or implementing them in new buildings, factors like the type of indoor space, energy source, required maintenance, and capacity determine the best technology for each building. DriSteem stands out by providing innovative humidification solutions tailored to meet the unique requirements of different environments.

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