Protecting IT Equipment: ProtectIT

IT Cleaning Ltd Magazine Article published in Cleanroom Technology

ProtectIT: Protecting IT Equipment from Construction Dust: IT Equipment Protection

Contamination has been the indirect cause of more IT downtime than all the fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and disgruntled employees combined.” – Jon William Toigo, Disaster Recovery Planning, Third Edition. 

One of the biggest sources of particulate (dust) contamination of IT equipment is dust created during refurbishment work. The dust created is very small and very abrasive and therefore very damaging to moving parts of the server i.e. fans etc. The most damaging construction dust will be from one of two sources: silica based dust, from concrete, mortor, sandstone ect and low toxicity dust like plaster and plasterboard. Construction dust is produced in vast quantities and is very small (0.3μm (0.0003 of a mm) micron and up). This dust will quickly block airways causing overheating. Contractors often fail to effectively protect your mission critical equipment. This is due to the contractors lack of appreciation of how small these sub-micron particles are, and how they behave. Also dust like plaster dust has deliquescent relative humidity (Critical Relative Humidity) lower than the data centres relative humidity so will absorb moisture from the air and become damp, this will promote corrosion (sulphur & copper creep etc} and/or ionic migration (polarity changes) which will damage your equipment. Put in simple terms Plaster dust will absorb moisture from the air, become damp (eventually dissolving in the liquid) and damage the electronics in the equipmet. If you ever walk in a room with plaster dust present you will notice your mouth dry’s quickly this is the plaster dust absorbing the moisture in your mouth.

IT Cleaning Ltd can use its IT Equipment Protection system to enclose the IT Equipment or the work area. Then using HEPA filtered air scrubbers, we will create a positive or negative pressure, which will ensure dust from the work area, can not migrate into the IT Equipment. By either keeping it out (enclosing IT equipment, positive pressure) or keeping it in the work area (enclosing Work area, negative pressure). We can control and monitor temperature within the enclosure to ensure equipment can continue to work whilst the refurbishment is happening. We will take air particulate readings of both work and clean area to prove the system is working.

“Perhaps the most important step to take to control contamination, is to contract with a reputable computer room maintenance company, to perform routine cleaning”. John William Toigo, Disaster Recovery Planning Third Addition.

“We have used this our IT Equipment Protection system in Data Rooms, Comms Rooms and even Broadcasting Apps Rooms. To date, it has worked every time. No contamination of the protected IT equipment has occurred.” Stephen Yates MD.

While Protecting IT Equipment we can supply a manager to manage control of the contamination. Such as egress into and out of the space,….using air lock doors. Provide HEPA filtered vacuums for use by the contractors. Monitoring Particulate levels within the protected space. Maintaining pressures, air scrubbers and temperature.

After the construction work is finished we will technically clean any areas that require cleaning. Provide air particulate reading to prove the room and work areas are safe, then remove the enclosure. Handing the whole room back to the IT or Data Centre Manager. We will use the air particulate level class 8 from ISO 14644 which allows 3,520,000 particles at 0.5μm, 832,000 at 1μm and 29,300 at 5μm. For information on particle sizes click here What Makes up Sub Micron Particles

We are able to enclose the work/clean area. Using HEPA filtered air scrubbers we will create a negative/positive pressure within the areas. This will ensure the dust is unable to migrate from or into the enclosure depending on which way around we are doing the system. What particles do HEPA filters filter.

0.3µm Air Scrubbers will filter 2500m3 of air per hour. They are used to clean particulate which is forced airborne during cleaning so it can not resettle. We also use them to create a positive or negative pressure in an enclosure so the dust can not escape into the environment.
This IT Protection System system is used when construction work is taking place near to areas or equipment that needs to remain free from dust. IT Equipment is very susceptible to silica based construction dust these are very abrasive and produced in large quantities, causing breakdowns and over heating. Protecting IT Equipment using this system is very effective.

IT Cleaning were called in to protect a cabinet at The University of Manchester. Taken 25th Feb 2016 These before and after shots show that no more contamination entered the enclosure, during construction. First picture was taken 25th jan 2016 second on 26th Feb 2016. We enclosed the cabinet and pressurised it using an air scrubber and air from the Comms room. This ensured no more dust could enter the cabinet even when a wall in the comms room was removed.

Large Tape Library enclosed and pressurised. To allow new Air Con to be installed using our IT Protection system. For more infor click picture.

We have also used this system in Schools, Hospitals, Museum’s and Offices to protect workers, artefacts, staff, pupils etc.

For a free site survey and quotation or further information please contact Stephen Yates 0870 0052581 or
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