When installing cleanrooms, knowing what to look for can be challenging. Cleanrooms are used in various industries, each industry having specific needs. Many people have varied notions about what constitutes a perfect cleanroom. But here’s the thing, you don’t have to understand every single aspect of a cleanroom to know if it meets your needs. Just look for the five features that make up an optimum cleanroom.
Cleanroom Is an Evolving Technology
A cleanroom has evolved from being a simple concept to a complex technology. In 2020, the market was worth USD 4 billion. It is predicted to grow at a 5.4% CAGR between 2021 and 2028. Cleanrooms are used in many industries, including aerospace, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology.
Cleanrooms are tightly regulated settings with minuscule particles like dust and contaminants like germs or viruses. These particulates can contaminate sensitive products during manufacturing or food processing.
They are also equipped with filtration systems that remove airborne contaminants before they enter the room. They don’t get into your product assemblies or instruments while assembled/tested in the cleanroom environment.
A typical cleanroom will contain HEPA filter(s) and other components, such as HVAC systems to control humidity levels and exhaust ductwork for removing contaminated air outside when needed.
It also contains UV lights for sterilizing surfaces within reachable distances from workers inside these spaces. All are designed specifically for each purpose according to OSHA regulations. The regulations are set forth by federal agencies like FDA.
Know that cleanroom rules, necessary features, kinds, and other characteristics vary depending on your industry type is critical. For example, the standard categorization for food processing cleanrooms is ISO-8, but ISO-5 aseptic rooms are used in the pharmaceutical business.
You might seek the assistance of a company like American Cleanroom Systems, which has several accreditations. This ensures that your cleanroom is not violating any regulations, reducing the possibility of penalties and other ramifications. Moreover, their expertise will benefit you in terms of cost and quality. Nonetheless, when installing a clean room, discuss the following features with your provider:
The rating system measures how clean the air is in a clean room. The ranking method depends on the number of pollutants per sq foot of air. The higher this number, the cleaner your cleanroom will be.
The most common ISO clean room classes are ISO 7 and ISO 8; however, there are many others that you may see on manufacturer websites or other places where they describe their products’ requirements or specifications.
Air Flow Filters
Airflow filters are used to filter the air in a clean room. They remove dust, debris, and other contaminants from the air so that they don’t get carried into sensitive equipment or onto work surfaces. Airflow filters are made of HEPA or ULPA material. These materials are very fine mesh woven fabrics that can trap tiny particles of dirt or dust without letting them pass through into the rest of your cleanroom environment.
Airflow Direction and Velocity
If you’ve ever been in a clean room, you may have noticed that the air feels different. It’s more still and quiet than usual, and it feels like there’s less oxygen in the room. This is because the airflow is controlled so that it blows from above and enters through filters on one side of the room.
It then exits through filters on the other side. This helps ensure that no contaminants get into your cleanroom. If they do get inside, they’ll be removed quickly by these filters.
Cleanrooms should also be designed to minimize turbulence within them. This will help maintain optimal conditions for work being done inside them, for example, manufacturing semiconductors.
When designing an airflow system for your facility or office space, consider directing air flow from dirty areas toward clean ones. This minimizes contamination through cracks or gaps between floors or walls where dirt could fall into otherwise pristine spaces.
WIP storage is a critical part of a cleanroom. It’s easy to ignore this aspect, yet it might make the difference between a strong safety net and one that leads to harm or even death.
If you’re building your cleanroom and need access to an expert who can help you design it, consider hiring someone who specializes in creating custom-built cleanrooms for pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities or other industries with high safety standards.
An excellent example of how WIP storage can be problematic is the recent case involving Renesas Electronics Corp. The company manufactures semiconductors at its plant in Tokyo, Japan. It’s a facility that has been operating since 2002 and recently survived a fire outbreak.
A fire broke out in one section of the factory due to a combination of combustible materials stored too close together and insufficient ventilation. Fortunately, no one was injured during this incident because all employees had evacuated safely.
But it suffered substantial production capacity. The Japanese government has asked equipment makers to help the facility restore its lost productivity. This emphasizes the necessity of having a WIP in a cleanroom.
Design Flexibility and Expandability
Design flexibility is an important feature to look for in a cleanroom design. Flexibility allows you to expand your cleanroom quickly. If your business grows and needs more space, you won’t have to go through the hassle of building another one. It also allows for easy reconfiguration of the cleanroom within its existing footprint.
Hence, if processes change or equipment needs servicing, it can be done without tearing down walls and rebuilding them from scratch.
Sealing systems are an essential part of any cleanroom design. They prevent contaminants from entering the space, which could damage your product or potentially harm workers. Sealing systems can be mechanical or airtight, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with your cleanroom environment.
Mechanical sealing systems rely on doors and windows that slide close while not in use. They prevent leaks through cracks around door frames and other openings. These seals are often used for small spaces with few access points for airflow into or out of the room.
For example, in offices with one door entry point per room versus large factories where multiple people move freely between buildings throughout their day, dust and debris come with them.
Air-tight sealing systems rely on pressure differences between two spaces separated by a barrier, such as glass panels or walls made from rubberized material like vinyl rather than wood paneling.
These materials won’t let particles through unless forced under pressure, equalizing forces on either side. And that’s why you need special tools like vacuums explicitly designed to remove dust particles without disturbing surfaces underneath them.
In conclusion, there are several things to consider while seeking a clean room. You must ensure that it meets your requirements and is safe for your staff. However, considering these five features, you should be fine finding the right one.