For those who rely on the sanctity of a cleanroom for their livelihood, planning and design is a key component to ensuring that your cleanroom is accessible and well regulated. While practice and procedure can play a role in maintaining the cleanroom environment, intelligent design that pairs with functionality is key to an efficient working environment.
Cleanrooms are critical in manufacturing environments in which dust and other pollutants can foul production and result in subpar products. Therefore, every aspect of the environment from the clean room HVAC system to cleanroom management
practices must be designed to create a sterile work environment. To gain cleanroom certification, the construction plan must ensure a workspace that is designed to be practical while guaranteeing a pollutant-free setting for the manufacture of sensitive equipment. Though the task of designing a cleanroom may seem daunting, by following a few simple rules and consulting with professionals, you can trim away some of the difficulty and create a working cleanroom that can meet your manufacturing standards.
Plan Entry and Exit of Workers and Materials
In a cleanroom setting, two of the most common sources of contamination are the workers who man the cleanroom and the materials they use in the manufacturing process. Cleanrooms require air locks and other measures meant to limit the risk of contamination, but a portion of the battle against contaminants can be won during the design phase. One of the first things you should decide when designing a cleanroom is how people and materials will enter the room, flow through the manufacturing process, and depart the area. That path will determine how you align many of the other elements, so it makes sense to put some thought into how people and products move through the process.
What Standards Will You Meet?
Another consideration when designing a cleanroom is the level of cleanliness that must be maintained throughout manufacturing. For example, if you only need to meet ISO 6 or Class 1000 specifications for cleanliness, then there’s no need to equip your cleanroom with features that can meet Class 1 or ISO 1 specifications. Once you decide your threshold for sterility, you can work on creating a process and attaining the equipment that can help you meet those goals without overshooting them.
Choose a Ventilation System
Many cleanroom contaminants can be carried via air exchange, so it’s important that the proper ventilation system is incorporated into your cleanroom design. HVAC systems for cleanrooms can help maintain quality standards by filtering out contaminants using cleanroom HEPA filters. But good ventilation systems also prevent any contaminants that slip through the system from being deposited in critical points in the cleanroom by directing airflow. Cleanroom HVAC systems must provide finely tuned and calibrated specifications for maintaining tight control on temperature and humidity.
Use Proper Materials
Once you’ve designed the workflow in your cleanroom and selected a ventilation system, you’ll need to make sure that the surfaces in the cleanroom are appropriate. That not only includes the cleanroom structure, but the furnishings, equipment surfaces, and the clothing worn by the workers as well. The key consideration for any hard materials in the cleanroom is that they are easy to clean. Widely accepted cleanroom standards require specific cleaning practices for cleanrooms, and that means the surfaces must be easily and effectively cleansed. In many manufacturing environments, antistatic surfaces are mandated. Fabric isn’t allowed on cleanroom furniture or surfaces under any circumstances because of its tendency to catch and trap potential contaminants. Workers should be dressed in fabric that is appropriate for the level of cleanliness required in the cleanroom.
If your livelihood depends on a sterile manufacturing environment, creating and maintaining a high-quality cleanroom is critically important. Creation of a cleanroom is a task best left in the hands of knowledgeable professionals who can help assess your needs, troubleshoot your strategy, and equip a cleanroom that meets your requirements. For more information on cleanroom design, visit Atlantic Technical Systems at www.atscert.com