Blog Banner

Case Studies

Cleanroom move at Bristol University

7th September 2016

Bristol University’s School of Physics had been home to several Nobel laureates over the years. Pioneering research here has included the discovery of the π meson and the theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.

The school has been responsible for research that has underpinned fundamental advances in quantum mechanics, and it was to accelerate and expand its fabrication capabilities that a new on-campus clean room was built. IES won the tender to provide a range of engineering services to support the School as they relocated various clean room tools from their existing location in the Queen’s Building to the School’s own Physics Building.

The University identified a number of companies to invite to tender, but it soon became clear that there were actually very few that could offer the combination of equipment knowledge and relocation experience offered by IES. This was not a straightforward move, it involved:

  • A complete check of each tool prior to it being disconnected. Tools were tested for efficiency, leak and pump rates and to ensure that they were operationally acceptable
  • The disconnection of all equipment from utilities and then locking down all moving parts to ensure safe movement and transit
  • The physical movement of all the equipment from the lab, wrapping for protection and safety, loading onto the transport vehicle using a tail lift and transfer to the Physics building
  • Offloading the equipment from the transport vehicle and transferring each tool to the lift access level
  • Movement of each tool to the correct area and into position
  • Reconnection of the equipment to utilities
  • Re-commissioning of all equipment and testing to ensure the same operational performance as before
  • Full service of all vacuum equipment including replacement parts and consumables where required

Few projects run completely smoothly, the build time for the new clean room facility overran so IES had to remain completely flexible to help the project complete. It was also recognised that some of the equipment being moved was of an age where problems could justifiably be expected…happily IES’ experience runs deep, the company having retained the knowledge necessary to get all the equipment reconnected and working satisfactorily.

Would the University use IES again? Dr Andrew Murray the Faculty Technician says:

“IES has proven to be the ideal partner in this project. Their practical approach, engineering experience and solutions based attitude has made what could have been an extremely difficult move into one that’s ultimately been completed on time and on budget. We’re more than pleased.”