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Vector Air Flow: What- How- Why- Who- When- Where?

Vector Flow Filters

By Robert Scholler

WHAT is Vector Air?

Vector Air is super clean air. Vector Air Flow is usually unidirectional flow highly filtered air in a uniform, but not perfect, laminar flow pattern.

ISO Standards 14644 and 14698 have eliminated the term “laminar flow” and replaced it with “unidirectional low”. Vector Air Flow may be unidirectional, radial, or non-unidirectional.

Special curved or arc-shaped HIGH EFFICIENCY PARTICULATE AIR (H.E.P.A./ U.L.P.A.) filters are used to supply final air into a room or Clean Zone in a manner that provides the optimum clean air flow over the critical area of work.

Vector Air – H.E.P.A filters are constructed of the newest “State-of-the-Art” filter media, providing filtration     efficiency of 99.99% for 0.3 micrometer size particles or 99.9995% efficient for 0.1 micrometer size particles. Vector Air- H.E.P.A filters can be obtained with or without D.O.P. challenge.

The Vector Air System consists of a combination soffit type plenum, filter frame and curved filter protective screen that is located at the top of one wall at the ceiling level, extending from wall to wall, thus confining and directing and dispersing the clean air in a uniform, non-turbulent diagonal direction toward a low level combination air return, exhaust and pre-filter grille extending almost the full width of the opposite wall near the floor.

A typical Vector Air System provides ISO Class (5), ISO Class (4), Class (1) or better air to the room or work station and Class (7) or better air quality exiting the enclosure, depending upon the amount of contamination generated by the equipment, work, and personnel.

The Vector Air System provides better than 99% of the total air quality efficiency of a laminar flow system at 1/3 the cost, 1/3 the energy use and 1/3 the heat load; thus 1/3 the air conditioning tonnage required.

HOW is Vector Air Installed?

Vector Air Systems are easily installed in existing conventional cleanrooms, new standard construction type rooms, portable panel or partition type rooms and transparent plastic rooms and tunnels. The modular pre-fabricated combination soffit-plenum-filter holder and protective screen unit is light weight and can be hung on any wall at the ceiling. No floor space is required and there is no interference with standard lighting or fire sprinklers.

Return air and exhaust can be directed or returned through a narrow double wall system or ducted risers. Standard air conditioning/ heating/ humidity/ dehumidifier units can be incorporated to provide uniform environmental control at least energy cost. Optional Chilled Beam Cooling Systems are the most energy efficient when combined with Vector Air Systems.

WHY Use Vector Air?

Vector Air was developed to reduce the cost of high efficiency clean air systems. Many medical, military, and scientific as well as industrial clean air needs, have gone unfulfilled because of the high cost of conventional, as well as horizontal and vertical laminar flow systems.

Potential users for many clean air applications have rejected complete laminar flow systems as “over kill” for their specific applications.

ISO Standards also provide Class (7), (8) and (9) CleanRoom facilities which can be met by Vector Air Systems with less efficient filters. Vector Air economically exceeds these requirements, as well as providing the economical basis for future revision of any facility to a higher class CleanRoom.

Vector Air Systems do provide better than ISO Class (5) air quality to a room or work station with less than 1/3 the H.E.P.A. filter area, 1/3 the blower/motor requirement, less than 1/3 the sensible heat load, less than 1/3 the air conditioning equipment required and provides lass than 1/3 the energy cost of laminar flow system. The most economical number of clean air changes per hour in any enclosure can be obtained by standard motor speed controls.

WHO uses Vector Air?

The first United States medical Vector Air Room was constructed in 1977 as a cancer research tissue culture room for Scripps Clinic and Medical Center,La Jolla, California.

A Second room was constructed in 1979 at the newly constructed Scripps Research Facility. Since then, over 350 Vector Air Rooms and complete Vector Air facility complexes have been constructed for the following applications:

Ability Room- Cleanroom for Disabled Workers

Aircraft Windshield Production                                            Air Lock to Cleanroom

Air Lock to Laminar Flow Room                                           Allergy-Asthma Relief Room

ALP  Room- Automated Liquid Packin                              Anti-Static Transducer Production

Anti-Static Powder Filling                                                       Animal Rooms

Antibiotic Rooms                                                                        Antibiotic Filling Rooms

Bio Medical Laser Research                                                    Blood Plasma Filling Operation

Bottled Pack- Form/ Fill/ Seal Enclosure                          BSL-3 Laboratories

Brain Tumor Research Lab                                                     Capping Machine Enclosure

Change Room                                                                                Chemical Process Room

Chemotherapy Drug Process                                                  Circuit Board Production Unit

Clean Machine Room                                                                 Clean Photo Dark Room Complex

Clean Room Laundry for Class (5) Garments                   Computer Circuit Production

Computer Circuit Research and Development                Computer Disc Plating

Computer Test Facility                                                              Confidential Military Unit

Conveyor Tunnel Enclosure                                                    Cryogenic Component Assembly Room

Crystal Production Facility                                                      Disc Drive Production

Disc Drive R&D                                                                               Disc Drive Repair Lab

DIVAD Laser Facility                                                                   DNA Research Facility

Electron Microscope Enclosure                                              Emergency Burn Patient Isolator

Fiber Optics Production                                                             Field Hospital – E.T. Movie Set

Filter Production Facility                                                          Food Processing

Gallium Arsenide Facility                                                          General Surgery Room

Germ Free Room                                                                            Halographic Clean Room

Heart Rooms                                                                                    Heart Valve Production Facility

Heart Valve Research Facility                                                 I.V. Solution Admixture Program

Injection Molding Facility                                                         Ion Implant Enclosure

Isotope Processing Unit                                                             Laser Surgery Rooms

Laser Table Clean Air Systems                                                 Laser Optical Material Production

Laser Disc Production                                                                 Ligament Processing Room

Low Velocity Air Shower                                                           Lox Cleaning Room

Lyophilizer Enclosure                                                                 Machine Shop Contamination Isolator

Magnetic Tape Processing                                                         Medical Injection Molding

Mobile Lab Ground Support                                                     Moon Rock Laboratory Filter Production

MX Missile Production Facility                                               Neurosurgery Rooms

Nude Mouse Rooms                                                                      Optical Tooling Room

Orthopedic Surgery Rooms                                                       Patient Reverse Isolator

Photo Process Room                                                                    Photo Resist Chemical Room

Plasma Bottle Blow Molding Machine Enclosure              Precision Optical Machinery Room

Printed Circuit Production                                                         Quality Control Test Room

R.F. Welding CleanRoom                                                             Robotic Test Cleanroom

Second Sight Lab                                                                             Semi Conductor/ Transducer Research

Silk Screening Facility                                                                   Solar Photo Voltaic Cell Production

Space Shuttle Hydraulic Assembly                                         Sterilizer Enclosure

Steroid Process Room                                                                   Skin Bank for Burn Patients

300mm Semiconductor Production                                      Stem Cell Research Lab

Tissue Culture Laboratory                                                          Vector Air/ H.E.P.A Filter Exhaust System

Video Cassette Loading                                                                Video Tube Production Facility

Water Quality Laboratories                                                        Welding Enclosures

A number of leading manufacturers and medical facilities are planning to use Vector Air Systems in the established applications, as well as some new and more advanced scientific functions.

WHEN are Vector Air Systems used?

Vector Air Systems have been used when:

A.               Time is short and rapid or emergency installation is needed.
B.               Relocation of clean air  facility is anticipated
C.                Expansion of facility is anticipated.
D.               Conventional Cleanrooms do not meet the cleanliness requirements.
E.              Horizontal laminar flow systems take up too much floor space.
F.              Vertical laminar flow obstructs lighting or other important ceiling functions.
G.              Laminar flow systems are“overkill” for the particular requirement.
H.               Laminar flow systems are too expensive for the specific clean air requirements.
I.              Economy of installation is necessary.
J.              Energy savings is mandatory.
K.              Available electrical power is limited.
L.              Owner wishes to purchase equipment qualifying for rapid tax depreciation.

WHERE are Vector Air Systems used?

Vector Air Systems are used in the United States, Europe, and Asia in most every application that conventional, horizontal or vertical laminar flow systems were used, plus a number of unique special applications.

Vector Air Systems are used in commercial applications where cost savings is important to profits, as well as quality control and reduced reject rate.

Vector Air Systems are used in health care and medical facilities where the ability of the Vector Air H.E.P.A.  Filters is needed to efficiently reduce harmful particles, radio-active dust, smoke, bacteria, spores, germs, pyrogens, filterable viruses, as well as other  contaminates 0.1 micrometers in size and larger. Special Vector Air pre-filter options also reduce specific gases, odors, and reactive chemicals.

Completely pre-fabricated Vector Air Cleanroom Systems have been shipped by air freight, train, motor truck, boat, cargo container and private vehicle without damage or delay of any kind.

Vector Air Systems have been shipped with optional explosion-proof motors, non-sparking blowers, anti-static devices, 50-60 cycle power and special lighting systems.


  • The new International Standards ISO-14644 and 14698 can be met or exceeded in every class of cleanliness by Vector Air Flow.
  • Vector Air has a special unique place as another choice in the rapidly expanding clean air system technology. For specific applications where diagonal air flow is desirable, if not mandatory, such as in certain Laser technology, semi-conductor production, and medical contamination control, Vector Air does the most efficient job.
  • The next generation of Vector Air H.E.P.A. Filters will produce the equivalent of Class (1) air quality for more advanced applications.
  • The new ISO Standards are most favorable to Vector Air.
“There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

Victor Hugo

Vector Air Systems, as well as Vector H.E.P.A. / ULPA/ VULPA Filters are made available under license to responsible organizations who agree to install and test to rigid quality control standards.

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