To the Editor:

To the Editor:

There are several points that need to be made relative to the experience of Walter Coles & Co. and their decision to design/build their cleanroom on their own (“Customer Demand for Cleaner Supplier Products/ Processes Drives Facility Upgrades,” CleanRooms, May 1995, p. 1) .

According to their account, the facility is 1,056 ft2 and they completed the project for $121,000 ($115/ft2). We have just completed the installation of a 4,500 ft2 facility for Norton Performance Plastics (Wayne, NJ) over (2) Film Lines and a Slitter. The Design/Build price for this facility was less than $100 per ft2. Before potential clients read this article and decide to build on their own they should consider the following:

1) Many vendors probably spent a lot of time educating Walter Coles free of charge through the quoting process.

2) By the description given, it sounds like this work was very custom and that the equipment was not originally cleanroom compatible. The owner, I`m sure, took many liberties in design and even redesigned the extruder and bag former which was probably not included in the $121,000 price and was not able to be considered by the cleanroom vendors.

3) The pricing and description doesn`t indicate whether the owner is controlling temperature and humidity, which could cost upwards of $250,000 alone considering the heat load of the extruder and volume of space (50 ft. tall extruder).

CleanRooms readers should remember that contamination-control “professionals” are required to stand by their work and designs.

Ralph Melfi

Air Energy Systems

Willow Grove, PA

Author`s Response:

Harry More-Gordon

Walter Coles & Co. Ltd.

London, U.K.

I read with interest the letter from Mr. Melfi of Air Energy Systems, writing in response to the article entitled “Customer Demand for Cleaner Supplier Products/Processes Drives Facility Upgrade” (CleanRooms, May 1995, p. 1) in which I was quoted.

Mr. Melfi is, of course, entitled to his views, though I believe that it would be wrong not to answer some of the assertions made in his letter, which are not factual.

1. While we recognize that some benefit must have been gained from contacts with so-called “vendors” within this field, nevertheless Walter Coles & Company`s actual expertise has been gained from consultation with experts selected by us and from our own trials.

2. If the expression “very custom” means that considerable alterations to machinery were required, then Mr. Melfi is correct in so describing our alterations to machinery. There is of course no question that to achieve such alterations successfully involved enormous research, effort and management time. Having said that, I am at a loss as to why any such alterations should be described as “liberties” in design.

I would have thought that the results of our validation tests reported in the article and the fact that we are now producing polythene bags independently, verified as achieving spectacularly low particulate levels, would be sufficient evidence of our professionalism. We stand by our results and I am confident that CleanRooms` readers will recognize that what we have achieved has been the result of inventiveness, hard work and persistence.


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