A cleanroom is a controlled environment with low levels of contamination and it’s typically used in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and research laboratories. The purpose of the space is to have control over the pollutants in the room including airborne microbes, chemical vapours and aerosol particles. ISO is the UK standard for cleanroom classifications and it relates to the number of particles 0.1 micrometres (µm) or larger particles that are permitted per cubic metre (m³) of air in the cleanroom.
Cleanrooms are widely used, and the complexity and size vary depending on the business needs. Industries as diverse as semiconductor manufacture, medical device development and even military research use cleanrooms for their work.
Staff need to wear appropriate clothing including face masks and coveralls and enter and leave the cleanroom through airlocks. This is to generate as little as possible air contamination.
There are two types of filters that can be used for air delivery to a cleanroom. The most common would be the High Efficiency Particulate Air filter also known as a HEPA filter which is also the most widely used one. ULPA filters are used where extreme cleanliness is needed; they are used, for example, to stop the spread of toxic agents.
Cleanroom Types of Classifications
Cleanrooms receive a certain rating depending on how clean the air is. For example, a normal room would be classed as ISO 9 while the very highest rating is ISO 1, where there are no more than 10 particles per square metre that are 0.1 microns in size and no more than two particles that are 0.2 microns in size.
Here in the UK, we also use the FS 209E system alongside the ISO system to clarify how clean a cleanroom is. Class 1 in this classification is the same as ISO 3 while Class 100 is ISO 5 and normal room air is the same as ISO 9.
Filters are at the heart of the system, but other elements are required to guarantee success. A thorough and comprehensive cleaning program is another element of having a cleanroom while the architecture of the room and the choices of equipment within it can play a big part.
How cleanrooms are contaminated
The problem for any business that operates a cleanroom is always sources of contamination, these are the six major contaminants:
· The production staff;
· Process water and chemicals;
· The production facilities;
· Static electric charge;
· Process gases.
The tools used within the space can cause friction and wear particles, while lubricants may be needed for the equipment to work safely but can be a source of contamination.
Therefore, keeping a cleanroom in its desired state is about working with a professional cleanroom installation company to both set up the cleanroom and provide education for those using it on what to do when in it. If you need such a service for your business, Total Environmental Kooling is a cleanroom installation expert in Bristol who can help you achieve the cleanroom standard you need, call us on 0117 952 3355 or fill in our contact form and we will get back to you.