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Manage the little things that count (airborne particles, for example)

June 2012

They say it's the little things that count - and nowhere do little things count more than in managing indoor air quality. Airborne particles can turn a productive high-tech manufacturing environment, or a safe hospital setting, into a real source of trouble.

Along with other air quality indicators, like temperature, humidity, CO and CO2 level, and percentage of outside air, the number and size of particles in indoor air can be a key indicator of HVAC system performance. Filters that aren't performing efficiently can allow too many particles into indoor spaces. If pressure and flow aren't properly controlled, unfiltered, particle-laden air could enter sensitive spaces such as hospital rooms for immune-compromised patients.

That's why, if you are a professional in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) or indoor air quality (IAQ), the new Fluke 985 Particle Counter merits a place in your toolbox.

The Fluke 985 Particle Counter incorporates significant improvements over its predecessor, the Fluke 983. It's a complete refresh of the previous model, with improvements to the communication protocol and user interface. It delivers improved performance, yet is smaller and lighter.

From high tech to hospital bedside

Wherever industry standards put a premium on cleanliness and air quality control, the Fluke 985 will help operations and facility maintenance technicians, certified industrial hygienists, IAQ specialists, and HVAC technicians meet those tough requirements.

The Fluke 985 is designed for use in contamination and quality control, clean room certification and monitoring, filter testing and leak detection, energy assessment, and indoor air quality investigations.

In critical environments like the "clean rooms" where sensitive electronics are manufactured, contamination by airborne particles could bring production to a halt. Controlling airborne particles is also important in regulated industries like food and beverage manufacturing and packaging, and medical device manufacturing.

Hospitals and clinics use high-efficiency particle air (HEPA) filters to prevent airborne particles from entering spaces where air must be ultra-clean to protect patient health. Those who manage and maintain commercial buildings and data centers must also measure and control the level of airborne particles in their facilities.

You can use the Fluke 985 to measure filter efficiency, monitor air quality in industrial clean rooms, pre-screen indoor air quality when working with IAQ specialists, locate particle sources for remediation, demonstrate the effectiveness of repairs to your customers, and drive additional business by showing customers the need for maintenance and repair.

Multiple download options

With a large, 3.5 QVGC color display, intuitive icons for navigation, and on-screen options for data presentation, the Fluke 985 allows you to run more tests quickly and spend less time cycling through screens to obtain the data. You can view data in a traditional tabular format, or choose a trend graph view - whatever works better for you. You can customize settings for the display, sample methods, and alarm settings for sample count. Navigation through the various functions is easy, using the power and menu buttons and five-button navigation pad.

When your air quality monitoring program requires more than a spot check, the Fluke 985 allows you to store up to 10,000 readings in the device, and gives you a choice of ways to then download your test results. You can connect the 985 directly to your PC through a USB cable, or transfer the readings by plugging in a USB memory stick ("thumb drive").

Using the memory stick option, you can download test results in the midst of a long-term monitoring project, while you leave the particle counter in place to continue gathering data. (The Fluke 985 delivers ten hours of standard battery life, enough to last a full day.) No special software is needed to transfer and manage the data. The Fluke 985 comes with a charging cradle that also serves as a USB/Ethernet data transfer connector.

How the particle counter works

The particle counter uses a pump to pull a sample of air into a space called the view volume, where particles intersect with a laser beam. The particles reflect different amounts of light based upon their size. Photo detectors "see" these light flashes and convert each one into a millivolt signal. Larger particles reflect more light and create a stronger signal. Signals within a certain millivolt range are counted in one size "bin," particles in another range are put in another bin, and so on.

The Fluke 985 categorizes particles in six channels, over a particle size range of 0.3 to 10.0 µm. This assures accurate measurements even for critical locations requiring ISO Class 5 through 9 certification.

The Fluke indoor air quality family

The Fluke 985 is part of the comprehensive family of Fluke test instruments for indoor air diagnostics. Fluke 975 AirMeter™ offers complete measurement and monitoring for essential IAQ parameters of temperature, humidity, dew point and wet bulb temperature, air volume, air velocity, CO, CO2, and percent of outdoor air calculation. The Fluke 922 Airflow Meter/Micromanometer combines pressure, airflow, and velocity in one rugged tool.

The combination of the Fluke 975, Fluke 922, and Fluke 985 offers the most powerful solution for clean room management, which requires well distributed airflow, air velocity, pressure, temperature, humidity, and particle count.

The Fluke 971 Temperature Humidity Meter complements the Fluke 985 with temperature and relative humidity measurements. And the Fluke CO-220 Carbon Monoxide Meter and Fluke CO-205 Carbon Monoxide Aspirator Kit measure CO levels and flue gas in industrial environments, commercial or residential buildings where accumulation of combustion gas is possible.