A cleanroom is a rigorously controlled environment that has a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors. The air entering a clean room is filtered and then continuously circulated through high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and/or ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters to remove internally generated contaminants. Staff wearing protective clothing must enter and exit through airlocks, while equipment and furniture inside the clean room is specially designed to produce minimal particles.
- What applications are you using your cleanroom for? This will determine the classification of cleanroom you will need and the setup and type of shelves, cabinets, hinges and doors you’ll require. If you expect applications to change in the near future, getting modular casework is probably a good idea.
- How easy to clean is the furniture and other equipment? Cleanroom products must be easy to clean since the purpose of a cleanroom is to protect the environment from hazardous or sensitive materials.
- What materials will you be working with in the cleanroom? This will help you determine what finish/materials you will need in your cleanroom furniture, etc. Polypropylene casework is a good choice if your lab works with corrosive acids or chemicals that experience high humidity. However, it is expensive while casework made from welded steel with an epoxy powder coat finish is more economical and also has high resistance to acids and moisture.
- How large is the space you will be working in? This will also help you decide the size, shape, and configuration of cleanroom products you will need.
- How much do the products cost? Ask about warranties and how long the products last, based on their use with the materials you work with.
Five Fast Facts on Cleanrooms:
• While more than 30 different industry segments utilize cleanrooms, 70 percent of U.S. cleanroom floor space is in the semiconductor and other electronic components, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.
• Development of the modern cleanroom began during the Second World War to improve the quality and reliability of instrumentation used in manufacturing guns, tanks and aircraft.
• The evolution of cleanrooms gained momentum as a result of NASA’s space travel program in the 1950s and 1960s. It was during this time that the concept of ‘laminar flow’ was introduced, which marked a turning point in cleanroom technology.
• The 1980s saw continued interest in the development of the cleanroom. By this stage, cleanroom technology had also become of particular interest to food manufacturers
• The pace of cleanroom technology transformation has accelerated over recent years. Since the year 2000, there have been significant advances in new cleanroom technology, which have helped to streamline manufacturing and research processes, while also reducing the risk of contamination.
Article courtesy of Lab Manager Magazine
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