Your plant-room is the heart of your clinic. This site will provide you a guide to the key issues surrounding succesful plant-room design. Feel free to call our Tech Team at any point on 03 9484 1120 if you would like to discus any part of your plant-room design or construction.
The temperature of your Plant Room is critical to reliability and longevity of your equipment. Taking some basic steps to control the temperature is the best way to protect against breakdowns and ensure a long life of your equipment.
Above: example of an air-conditioner fitted to a sealed plant-room.
Other considerations for Plant Room temperature control:
- The inside of a Plant Room or enclosure should not increase in temperature more than a few degrees due to sunlight (for example, if and enclosure is to have direct sunlight, it should be of material that will not allow that heat to be transferred through to the enclosure).
- Preferably, other heat sources (i.e. how water system) should not be in your Plant Room. If they are, extra provisions should be made for temperature control, such as a larger cooling fan or air-conditioner.
Above: Example of a cooling fan used to ventilation Plant-Rooms.
Below: Example of an outdoor Plant-Room (CAPS), sealed and fitted with air-conditioner.
What's The Issue?Plant Room equipment produces air pressure, be it positive pressure in the case of a compressor, or negative pressure in the case of a suction system. Where we produce air pressure we also produce heat, with more pressure generated resulting in a greater heat output. In the case of a suction system, this means that the greatest heat output the machine will have is when there is only one operator using the system.
Unfortunately, as well as producing heat these machines can be damaged by excessive temperatures (i.e. greater than 40 degrees).
The heat caused by other factors (i.e. sunlight onto steel boxes, etc.) also needs to be taken into account when planning your system.
What does a high Plant Room temperature do to my equipment?
The compressor: dental compressors have no oil-lubrication in the piston/cylinder. Rather than using oil (which can make its way through to your handpieces and patients) metals such as graphite and telfon are used. These materials offer long-life provided they do not get excessively hot. High temperatures will reduce the life of the compressor head, and greatly excessive temperatures may cause the compressor to seize in a short time.
From our experience, we have noted a strong correlation between the temperature at which a dental compressor operates and its lifespan. For example, a compressor that operates at an average of 35 degrees ambient temperature may last for 15,000 hours. If the temperature increases to 45 degrees it may last for 10-12,000 hours. If the temperature is 55 degrees it may last for only 8,000 hours, at 65 degrees you may only get a few thousand hours out of it, and wihin a few years you need to completely overhaul or replace your compressor.
A high plant room temperature can also compromise the effectiveness of your compressor's drying system.
The suction system: in the case of your suction unit, high temperatures lead to premature wear of bearings (generally the only mechanical part that wears on your suction motor), requiring an overhaul much before it should. Greatly excessive temperatures can lead to the turbine in the suction motor to completely seize, as well as melting components such as suction tubes.
How do I ventilate my Plant Room?Listed below are the three main ways to ventilate your Plant Room.
SEALED and AIR-CONDITIONED PLANT-ROOMThe ideal way to control the temperature of your Plant Room is to fit a dedicated air-conditioner to the room or enclosure. As well as giving your Plant Room a low and constant temperature, it has several other benefits, the main one being that you do not need to have any air vents, through which noise escapes.
Important notes on ensuring these setups are affective:-A separate air-conditioner should be used for the Plant-Room only. Using the clinic's centralised system will not work (i.e. in winter it will heat the room, not cool it as is required).
-An air-conditioner that will retain its temperature setting when turned off should be used (so that when power is turned on to the clinic in the morning the unit is activated and works to maintain the preset temperature).
Below are our recommendations for sizing an air-conditioner for a Plant-Room:Up to 4 surgeries - 2.5 kW 6-8 surgeries - 4.5 kW
4-6 surgeries - 3.5 kW 8-10 surgeries - 5.5 kW
FAN FORCED VENTILATIONTo assist convection ventilation of the Plant Room, a fan can be fitted to one of the vents of the enclosure. This is typically easy to achieve, and can be very affective. For Plant Rooms on the inside of the dental clinic, a ceiling fan can be installed (vented to outside the building) can be fitted, with a vent on a door.
Important notes on ensuring these setups are affective:
- Our general recommendation for fan size is 100 m3/hr (of ventilation fan capacity) per kW of Plant Equipment. For example, a Plant Room with a 1.2 kW compressor and 1 kW suction unit should have a fan with at least 220 m/3hr capacity.
- There must be a vent to allow air to enter or exit the enclosure (depending on which way the fan is setup). This total area of this vent/s should be around four times the surface area of the ventilation fan.
- The fan can be either at a high point of the enclosure extracting air from the enclosure, or at the low vent forcing air into the enclosure (whichever suits the room better).
- Where vents can only be made at the same height (i.e. both at a low point of the enclosure or both at a high point) ventilation ducting (large foil flexible tube) should be used to carry the vent to the appropriate height (i.e. the vent at a low point connected to a fan sucking air out is connected to the ducting, which is then positioned so its opening is at a high point.
- Fans can be setup to run in several ways; to run whenever the suction unit is running, to run whenever there is power to the plant-equipment (i.e. throughout the working day) and/or whenever the temperature reaches a certain level (detected and activated by a thermo-switch).
Limitations of this means of temperature control:
- Where air being drawn into the enclosure is itself too hot (i.e. on a 40 degree day drawing air into the enclosure will not have much cooling affect as the air is already very hot). If air can be drawn in from an air-conditioned environment, such as from the clinic itself, this problem can be avoided.
- If noise around the Plant Room is a concern (close to neighbours, etc.), having vents for ventilation also allows noise to escape. Achieving a balance between good ventilation and noise control can be difficult, and can be a good reason to opt for a sealed Plant Room with dedicated air conditioner.
CONVECTION AIRFLOWThe simplest (but not the most effective) way to ventilate a Plant Room is to allow for convectional airflow. This is simply having vent/s at a low point and high point of the enclosure. When air inside the room becomes hot it rises and exits through the high vent, and fresh air is drawn into the room through the low vent.
The plant equipment should ideally be between the two vents, as shown in the diagram above.
Convectional airflow is the bare minimum that can be done to control the temperature of your Plant Room, but in most cases will not control the temperature well enough to get the best out of your equipment (i.e. your equipment will most likely operate at temperatures that are too high, resulting in reduced life-span of your compressor and suction unit).
Variables on how affective temperature control is in such a setup are the temperature of the air entering through a vent (i.e. if it is a 40 degree day and air is being drawn from outside the fresh air will do little to cool the equipment), size of the ventsand location of the vents (larger vents will assist airflow but will allow more noise to escape to outside)
- Mufflers can be fitted to suction motors, which generally take off a couple of dB(A)
- Walls can be internally lined with sound absorbive foam
- When the room is air-conditioned, the room can be sealed to stop noise escaping
LINING WALLS WITH NOISE ABSORBENT MATERIAL
Above right: example of custom-built Plant Room enclosure, lined with acoustop foam.
EXHAUST AIR MUFFLERS
Right: example of a muffler for a 4 surgery suction unit fitted to the exhaust.
- Equipment that is easy to get to is a lot easier (and faster) to fix.
- You should ensure that technicians can easily access the Plant-Room, and also get replacement equipment in and out, without great obstruction (i.e. making sure that paths aren't overgrown with plants, etc.).
- You should ensure there is adequate lighting in the Plant-Room to facilitate maintenance/repairs by technicians.
- There should sufficient space around the machines to allow technicians to diagnose key componnents and perform any repairs.
Setting up your Plant-Room for good Access.
Above: example of compressor and suction unit in Plant-Room. The units are installed with enough space around them to facilitate good access for technicians, for diagnosis, repair or maintenance.
SPACE AROUND THE MACHINES
Above: example of an outside Plant-Room (CAPS). Outside Plant-Rooms should be easy to access, for both clinic staff and technicians.
GETTING TO THE PLANT-ROOM
GETTING TO THE EQUIPMENT IN THE PLANT-ROOM
You should also ensure that all components that need regular maintenance, and or replacement, such as filters and amalgam collection canisters, are easily accessible.
Advantages of having your Plant-Room inside the clinic.
From our experience, Plant-Rooms that are located inside the clinic (for example, a commited room inside the clinic) as opposed to an external Plant-Room (i.e. enclosure that is accessed from outside) work much better for the clinic and the equipment. It's not always possible to have an inside Plant-Room, but where it is possible we believe it will serve you much better, for much longer. Following are some of the key advantages:
- Clinic staff are generally more likely to performance the maintenance on your equipment when it is inside the clinic.
- The equipment is generally safer.
- The equipment is better protected against the elements,
Above: purpose-built Plant-Room (CAPS) closed and open. When planned for at an early stage in design, outside enclosures can be made by your builder to achieve the key criteria for a successful Plant-Room. In cases of an existing building or premises, and there is little or no space for a Plant-Room inside, a purpose-built Plant-Room such as CAPS can be a good option.
For more information on installing your Cattani suction and compressor systems, contact your local Cattani dealer or contact us directly on:
Choosing Your Plant-Room Location
DISTANCE FROM SURGERIES
Working with a technician in selecting the most appropriate location is highly recommended. You can also contact the Cattani Tech Team to discuss any part of your plant-room location. Often if you can supply a layout of the clinic, together we can find a location that will suit both you, your staff and your equipment.
Quick ChecklistHere are some quick things to consider:
- Make sure your Plant Room is connected to the clinic's alarm system.
- Consider the location of your Plant Room in regards to security.
- Consider CCTV cameras to act as a deterant, particularly for outside Plant Rooms.
- For outside Plant Rooms, ensure that the room or enclosure is securely locked.
WHERE IS THE PLANT-ROOM?
Dental suction and compressor equipment are not common items. You should keep records of all serial numbers so that these can be reported to the police in case of theft. You should also report any theft to the importer of the equipment, along with the serial numbers, so they can put an alert on that unit (for example, if it is ever sent back for repair, etc.).
Technical and Installation Info
Listed below are some points that should be taken into account when setting up your Plant-Room.
We're here to help.
The Tech Support Team at Cattani are here to help you with any part of the design of your Plant-Room. You can give us a call to discuss something, send us plans or photos of the areas you are looking at, and we'll do all we can to assist you in creating a Plant-Room that works for you, your staff and the equipment.
Call us on:
EXHAUST AIRExhaust air from suction systems MUST be vented outside the Plant-Area, into a non-populated area (typically this means above the roof-line of the building).
There are two reasons for this:
- The exhaust air is laiden with bacteria, and will be drawn into the inlet of the compressor and returned to your surgery and other patients' mouths via the air-driven instruments.
- Exhaust air is extremely hot, and will cause the Plant-Room to overheat very quickly, severely damaging your equipment.
Where the exhaust air cannot be vented into a non-populated area, a bacterial filter can be fitted. These are available for all size suction units, and are 99.9999% efficient.
You should ensure that you have sufficient power to run all of your Plant-Room equipment (double adaptors, powerboards must not be used).
The compressor and suction unit generally operate at the higher side of a powerpoint's capacity (i.e. close to 10 Amp)
Correct design of your suction system pipeline is critical for good
operation of your suction system and continuous delivery of suction to
your suction tips. Pipelines that are badly designed can create pools
of fluid in the line, resulting in poor and fluctuating performance. However, correctly designed pipelines will keep fluids moving towards the Plant-Room, while providing you with uninterupted suction.
SUCTION SYSTEMS - Pipeline design
Design of the suction pipeline should be done in consultation with the equipment supplier, and performed by plumbers experienced in dental suction system pipelines. You can refer to Cattani manuals for more detailed information at www.cattani.com.au
Below are some key points to be followed for semi-wet systems, such as the Turbo SMART:
The suction connection and plumbing in the Plant-RoomThe suction system should be connected to the pipe coming from the surgeries with a length of flexible tube. Typically, the suction pipe from the surgeries enters the Plant-Room through the floor, as can be seen in the above diagram. In these cases, the lift from the bottom of the pipe to the ground level should be kept as low as possible, and no greater than 500mm.
The final rise of the pipe into the Plant-Room, as shown in the above diagram, is the only point at which there can be any lift in the suction pipe. There should also be a minium 1 degree slope in the suction pipeline towards the Plant-Room, to assist fluids moving along the pipe and to the suciton unit.
The connection to drain must be done in compliance with all local regulations (your plumber will be able to advise what is required). All connections must be secured, with the use of hose clamps, as fluids are pumped out under force and can pop off under pressure, spaying contaminated fluids around the room.
Pumping up to drainWhere there is only a drain connection at a high point in the room, some suction systems will be able to pump the fluids up to this height. For example, the Turbo SMART can pump fluids up to 1.5 meters. However, when this system is fitted with its amalgam retention system (the ISO-18 Hydrocyclone), the waste must gravity drain. This means that if you were to install amalgam retention at a later stage, you may need to change the configuration of the Plant-Room or drainage to suit.
Exhaust airExhaust air must be vented outside of the Plant-Room (to a non-populated area, typically above roof-height). The exhaust air connections must be secure (i.e. hose clamps where flexible hose connects to piping) as if an exhaust hose blows off it will heat the room very quickly, potentially damaging your suction unit and compressor and causing you downtime. Flexible hose should be heat resistant (i.e. resistent to 100 degrees) to ensure that it doesn't melt.
PIPELINE DESIGN AND LAYOUTThe pipeline should be designed with a main line to which branches connect, as can be see in the above drawing. In cases of large clinics, sub-branches may be needed. The pipeline should work to facilitate the flow or air and fluids back to the Plant-Room, and where posssible should take the shortest route possible between the Plant-Room and the last surgery on the line.
As can be seen in the drawing, the size of the pipe reduces the further away from the Plant-Room, according to how many surgeries that section of pipe is serving
ANGLES, BENDS AND JUNCTIONS
Turns in the pipeline should never be greater than 45 degrees. Where a 90 degree bend is required, 2 X 45 degree bends should be used (as can be see in the diagram to the right). Where a branch is to enter the main line, the branch should enter the main line at 45 degrees, as the diagram also shows.
Where a main line is to split into two, a right angled T-junction cannot be used. Instead a configuration as see in the diagram to the right should be used, utilising a 45 degree Y-junction to for the first branch off the main line, and then 2 X 45 degree bends to achieve the second branch.
If fluids stagnate in pipelines they can cause performance fluctuations and decreases. Installation of an air injector facilitates the movement of fluids along the pipeline towards the suction unit.
When there are only small volumes of air being aspirated into the system (caused by there being few users at the time, or only tips with a small diameter being used or only spittoon waste being aspirated), the flow of fluids in the pipeline slows down and can even stop altogether. At such times, the air injector opens slightly to allow air to be aspirated into the system. This air keeps fluids moving towards the suction unit, stopping fluids from pooling in the line, which can affect performance at the tip.
The below diagram shows a main suction pipeline with air being aspirated through the air injector (in this case fitted in the cupboard at the end of the suction line).
Common questions about air-injectors:
Why is air-injection more important for systems with amalgam retention?
How noisy is the air-injector?
Firstly, the air-injector will only make noise when it is open and air is travelling through it (i.e. when there is no air entering the system via the suction tips). When the air-injector is open, there is some noise from the air entering the suction line. The noise level depends on how much air is entering, but is generally minimal. In any case, we recommend, where possible, that the air-injector be installed away from the chair (i.e. in a cupboard space or ceiling cavity) to reduce noise levels.
For further information on Cattani products visit the Cattani Pricelist, Cattani Maintenance or Cattani main website.