Cleanroom management is vital to attaining the sole reason for having a cleanroom in the first place: avoiding contamination. In any room, the air, surfaces, equipment, humans, clothing, just about everything, can introduce some form of contaminant into a room. When that happens, products and safety can be compromised. Here are a few of the advances in cleanroom management and technology that have made products safer from conception and testing through final deployment on the market.
An isolator uses the concept of barriers in a controlled workspace to separate areas that cannot be contaminated. The strategy behind this type of cleanroom technology is to create an area via barriers that make it very difficult to introduce contaminants into an environment. The tactics used generally are a series of fixed, mobile, or flexible walls that separate the isolated environment from its surroundings.
Once that interior area is clean of contaminants, positive air flow technology is utilized in coordination with HEPA filtered air, which is maintained at all times. If there's a breach in the positive air flow or if contamination is potentially introduced into the room, a series of warnings kick into action. Cleanroom classification also mandates that all surfaces be sanitized using hydrogen peroxide vapor and in some cases, peracetic acid. Additionally, all individuals who enter the cleanroom must undergo sanitization as well.
People pose the greatest risk of contamination in almost all clean room environments. If that can't be controlled, cleanroom certification is impossible. Because of this, an emphasis has been placed on clothing with the goal of isolating the contaminants on a person’s body from the cleanroom. While cleanroom clothing has not advanced much since the 1960’s, the laundry of cleanroom clothing has, including advances in synthetic clothing blends, anti-microbial finishes and the use of electrostatic.
In addition, the filtration efficiency of an article of cleanroom clothing is also important. The greatest challenge here is that the tighter the weave of clothing, the less possible it is for a contaminant to enter, but the discomfort of the user becomes more significant, primarily because of heat. While fabric filtration efficiency has improved, air shower equipment has also reinvented cleanroom technology. Utilizing air to forcibly remove contaminants has allowed individuals to enter clean room isolation or partitioned areas relatively free from contaminants as long as they have standardized clothing on.
The concept of a cleanroom has come a long way since the very first modern iterations in the late 1940’s and ’50’s. Cleanroom management
is now easier than ever and getting more effective with each iteration of new cleanroom technology development.