The liquid crystal display (LCD) rear-projection televisions and plasma-based direct-view televisions assembled at the Sony Technology Center-Pittsburgh (STC-P, Mt. Pleasant, PA) contain very precise components. Along with rendering a clear, finely detailed picture, the technology can amplify the slightest spec of dirt that finds its way into the microdisplay assembly.

Many companies address this quality control problem by building, solid-wall cleanrooms that are tightly sealed from floor to ceiling to keep out debris. Sony, however, elected to control dirt and dust in its screen manufacturing area-rather than try to eliminate it completely-using a system incorporating a Power Roll roll-up door and curtain walls from Goff's Enterprises Inc. (Pewaukee, WI). The curtain walls match the conditions of a class 10,000 cleanroom, with the help of fans that create a pressurized environment to keep out dust and debris. The walls also provide flexibility, because they can be easily reconfigured.

Currently, the curtain walls are being used to enclose a complex of rooms within the assembly area. In the plasma television assembly area, two 100-foot-long walls have been installed in two different locations. An 80-by-120-foot area encloses the LCD television projection area, and has a changing area attached to it via a curtain wall passageway.

Products and parts pass through a double-door interlock system constructed with Power Roll roll-up doors. Interlocking controls have been established so when one of these motorized roll-up doors is open, the other is closed.

The roll-up doors are made of flame-retardant 18-ounce vinyl to provide a tight seal.

The curtain wall includes upper and lower opaque PVC sections that are reinforced with a laminated polyester scrim to provide tear and tensile strength without sacrificing flexibility.

Dirt and dust are pushed out of the contained area at the point where the curtain meets the floor.

About 50 gowned people work in the curtained-off area, which also houses a conveyor system. A series of fans fitted with HEPA particulate filters provides the necessary air press.

Because it is using curtains-as opposed to fixed walls-to protect its work areas, Sony can easily adapt to changes in the production line, an important consideration for a company that often modifies its assembly processes to accommodate changes in technology.

"If we change our manufacturing arrangement, we take down the curtains and use new space that matches our needs," says STC-P production support manager Scott Olsen.

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