Philippe Fournet-Fayard
Eolis Latin America
Expert Contributor

Lab Project Propels CENAM Into Exclusive Club

By Philippe Fournet-Fayard | Wed, 08/18/2021 - 13:18

The National Metrology Center (CENAM) is the national reference laboratory for measurements, which promotes uniformity of measurements in Mexico by way of comparison with traceability to a common reference. CENAM has a close relationship with national laboratories and international organizations related to metrology. This ensures the international recognition of national standards, as well as promoting the acceptance of the products and services of Mexico. CENAM was created to support the national metrological system (SMN) as a decentralized body.

CENAM's research and development activities are aimed at responding effectively to the growing measurement needs in all sectors. These include the advances in the traceability of temperature measurements for industrial and healthcare applications, the construction of one of the most accurate frequency standards in the world to support telecommunications and computing, as well as the development of a variety of certified reference materials to provide certainty to chemical measurements in the health, environmental and industrial processes sectors.

To enter the very select club of worldwide reference labs, the ambient conditions of the measurements become critical as their precision and stability are part of the global accuracy formula.

The participation of Eolis America Latina in the project was to provide an integral solution for metrology laboratories, including high quality and accurate air conditioning systems in modules A, B and C of the Special Laboratories building, as well as the Acoustics Laboratories and the Laboratories of 3D reference machines.

Eolis engineers worked closely with the users of these labs to create a custom design of each area. The scope of work was extremely wide, from design to commissioning, and included a cleanroom partitioning system, HVAC, energies, controls and BMS.

Eolis´ objective was the construction of 23 special laboratories for mechanical and electrical physics, including the national mass standard, density laboratory, gravimetry laboratory, nanometrology laboratory, Volt and Ohm laboratories, laboratory cryogenic, dimensional laboratory, national acoustic pressure standard, laboratory of tissue and cells, and DNA technology laboratory. In addition, several of these laboratories had ISO 5, ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanroom classifications.  

The biggest challenge of the project was the integration of thermal inertia strategies in the HVAC systems to achieve a stability in the temperature and humidity of +/- 0.1 °C and +/- 5 %HR maximum in the national mass standard, density laboratory, dimensional laboratory and laboratories of the volt and ohm. Special strategies were implemented to cancel the noise and vibrations transmission from the MEP equipment to the laboratories and special air distribution elements designed with limited residual velocities of 0.2 m/s to improve the homogeneity of the temperature and avoid disturbances in the development of the experiments. Elements were integrated into the construction to prevent the penetration of electromagnetic waves from the outside to the inside of the electrical laboratories, such as Faraday cages.

Every function of the HVAC system was been specially designed for the purpose, all equipment was specially manufactured, and the fine-tuning of the control system took several months.

This project has been a complete success. It allows CENAM to enter the very exclusive club of Certified Metrology National Institutes, along with the LNE in France or the NIST in the US. It is now in the Top 5.