A cleanroom is a space that has been specially designed and set to exclude dust particles and air pollutants. They're frequently employed in scientific research, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and other businesses that manufacture items that filthy or polluted circumstances could harm.
The particulate matter (PM) amount, a descriptor for liquids and particles in a cleanroom's air per cubic meter, determines its categorization. In a cubic meter of air, there are approximately 35 million particles with an estimated size of 0.5 μm, one-millionth of a meter or micrometres.
The International Organization of Standards (ISO) does clean room classification using a grading system that ranges from ISO 1 (very clean) to ISO 9 (satisfactorily clean). The size and number of particles in the room's air are used to determine the classification.
IEST - The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology released Federal Standard 209E, a clean room classification system in the United States, in 1963. The IEST employed an ISO 3 classification system that went up to Class 100,000, an ISO 8 rating. Even though the IEST system is still in use in a few countries, it was declared outdated in 2001.
Scientists, engineers, and designers had tried for years to construct an uncontaminated environment but had failed due to unpredictable particles and airflow issues. Willis Whitfield, a physicist, invented a filtering device in 1960 that paved the way for the current cleanroom.
A Cleanroom's Requirements
Pharmaceutical, semiconductors, biotech, microchip manufacturers, laboratories, and solar industries all employ cleanrooms. A cleanroom is used in any manufacturing process that requires highly regulated product and production handling. The level of cleanroom required is determined by the delicacy and nature of the product.
The requirements for a cleanroom start with personnel protection, including protective gear and accessories. These specialist goods are created from a wear-resistant synthetic material and are only used once. Everything that enters the cleanroom must be classified and approved to the tiniest detail.
There is no furniture in cleanrooms, and all surfaces are free of nuts, bolts, visible joints, or any other source of dust particles. Equipment and surfaces are frequently constructed of plastic or high-grade stainless steel and are smooth and well polished. Cleanrooms are designed and built in a simple and minimalistic manner.
A cleanroom's lighting must offer enough light for a smooth operation while also adhering to strict hygiene standards. It is critical that lighting does not require frequent cleaning and is long-lasting, as cleanroom interior cleaning necessitates re-certification.
The air circulation system in cleanrooms is the most significant aspect. The ventilation system, which strictly controls air movement, provides airflow. Air enters from the ceiling and exits through the floor in some designs. In some situations, negative pressure is used to keep contaminants from escaping harmful items. The type and type of airflow system used are determined by the goods being handled.
Cleanrooms are quite expensive to maintain and build, costing an average of between $100 and $150 per square foot. The cost of a ten-foot-by-ten-foot cleanroom, roughly the size of a small bedroom, ranges from $10,000 to $15,000, depending on the air control system and instrumentation.
What is the purpose of a cleanroom?
A cleanroom does exactly what it says on the tin: keeping things clean. They're used in a variety of industries where airborne particles can influence the outcome of a physical product.
A cleanroom is a highly sterile environment where air must pass through a filter before entering. Humans who enter and exit the room are the main source of contamination. Aside from that, the filter, which is made of smooth, antistatic materials, keeps small particles out of the room.
Which industries make use of a cleanroom?
Production by technicians and manufacturers in a variety of industries uses cleanrooms. Electronics, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, life sciences, food manufacturing, and automotive are some of the most common industries.
Environmental issues must be closely monitored in all of these businesses during manufacturing. Temperature, pressure, and particle saturation of the air in the room are all environmental parameters that can be monitored and controlled in a cleanroom.
Industries are Using Clean Rooms in 6 Amazing Ways
Clean rooms and their controlled surroundings have long been linked with the pharmaceutical and medical industries. Still, thousands of cleanroom jobs have been created in other industries, where practitioners execute incredible applications and experiments. The cleanroom's clean atmosphere lends itself to many manufacturing endeavours that rely on its enhanced quality controls since it may be created to precise specifications and function in compliance with tight industry regulations. The following are among a few of the incredible uses for cleanroom technology.
In 1957, Russia was the first country to launch a satellite. Sputnik 1 was the name given to it. In 1958, the US Explorer 1 was released. Lt. Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the Earth, and Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon in 1969.
People would still be gazing up at the night sky, dreaming of space, if it weren't for the efforts of aeronautical specialists. Countries are cooperating in space exploration thanks to their combined efforts.
To undertake studies and develop things like space-flight lasers, the aerospace sector relies on the cleanroom environment and its state-of-the-art upgrades. Creating aerospace instruments like lasers necessitates the utilization of controlled settings to ensure that no contaminants or pollutants affect the manufacturing tools or the product itself. Absolute precision is critical in the case of space-flight lasers. Some of these lasers are used to charge aerial vehicle batteries. Other aircraft lasers have been constructed with ablation in mind, which means they are used to vaporize space junk in Earth's orbit.
It's thrilling to watch the rocket launch into orbit. Many individuals are unaware of what occurs in the background. For sophisticated equipment such as space travel lasers, a clean room is required in the aerospace sector.
These can be used to charge aerial vehicle batteries or perhaps evaporate space junk.
Aside from the space laser, there's the astronaut suit, satellites, and the Mars rover to consider. Clean room supplies are required to ensure that no pollutants contaminate the components throughout the manufacturing process.
Cameras and Optics
Instagram users share a selfie every ten seconds. Every day, 93 million selfies are taken, according to the same authority. This equates to 2.583 million film rolls.
Have you ever spent time learning about the science behind a smartphone camera?
When most people take a wonderful photo with their smartphone, they are ecstatic. Still, those lenses and the high-end lenses of professional cameras must be created using cleanroom technology. High-end lenses and image sensors with a resolution of more than 21 MP are used in smartphone cameras. These technological devices are quite small. Production takes place in a clean room to guarantee that photo quality is not compromised.
Particle contamination, humidity and temperature management, and vibration isolation techniques are all required in the lens production process. The cleanroom setting allows experts to design lenses that allow us to record the eternal grins of our loved ones or the breathtaking views we picture while on vacation.
While some people think of the nanotech cleanroom as a niche form of a cleanroom dedicated to electronics and semiconductor manufacturing, the nanotech cleanroom is used for various industries, including food and fuel cells, to mention a few. Clean rooms dedicated to nanotechnology are now involved in the production of nanotech solar cells in a world that is becoming increasingly green. Because these cells are significantly less expensive to manufacture than standard solar cells, they could have a significant impact on global environmental projects.
University Research Labs & Facilities
It isn't easy to comprehend, yet even adding a few extra particles can throw even the most meticulously planned studies off. For clean results, all variables that potentially affect an experiment must be eliminated. The cleanroom maintains this contaminant-free environment, allowing experimentation in a variety of sciences and technologies to take place. The cleanroom provides a constant that allows researchers to reduce, if not eliminate, cross-contamination and other factors that can skew results.
Scientists and their teams are increasingly in need of safe working spaces, as their work frequently involves dangerous biological agents. Cleanroom environments safeguard the outside regions of a facility from harmful biological agents, while inside equipment meant for technicians, such as biological safety cabinets, protect scientists while conducting processes involving hazardous compounds. For example, designing a novel medicine may necessitate testing the drug against a deadly virus or bacteria. This type of activity necessitates using a cleanroom and its associated devices to ensure personnel safety.
Cleanrooms are used by the military and numerous government entities for a variety of projects and tests. In fact, if James Bond were genuine, his many gadgets would very certainly be developed in a cleanroom setting. Cleanroom laboratories are now used by the military to develop future technology systems and improve current technology. Developing new and creative materials, such as a barrier to protect training pilots from excessive noise exposure, is only one example of how the military employs cleanrooms.
Many sectors, as well as tomorrow's innovative products, rely on clean rooms. These are only a few examples of cleanroom applications. There are plenty more—and plenty more are sure to be invented in the future.
The modular cleanroom is a more flexible type of cleanroom because it is versatile, simple to create, and can be easily changed and adjusted. They have all of the advantages of more expensive kinds and offer the same clean environments at a reduced cost.
Applications of a Cleanroom
Clean rooms were and are an important part of the treatment process during the COVID-19 scare of 2020. Clean rooms have been used in various businesses since their introduction in 1960, including some that may seem surprising. The following is a list of a few of the cleanroom's applications.
Isolation Rooms Hospitals are a type of isolation room that is used in hospitals.
Negative pressure is required in isolation rooms to prevent contamination from spreading from one room to another due to sneezing, coughing, or breathing. Cleanroom engineers and healthcare personnel collaborated to create these one-of-a-kind spaces. They have pressure drop alerts, hands-free showers, and toilets, and there is no moving air. They use HEPA filters, which are designed to filter out dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any particles larger than 0.3 microns.
Microelectronics and Semiconductors
Because of the sensitive and fragile nature of electronics manufacturing equipment, strict environmental controls are required. Any flaws or weaknesses in a cleanroom can significantly impact a manufacturing run. These manufacturers' airtight cleanrooms include UV-filtered lighting and electrostatic charge management devices. Cleanrooms for the electronics industry, unlike most others, are larger and roomier.
Manufacturing of Medical Devices
Airborne particles and bacteria are controlled in medical device cleanrooms. They must also be tested for their bioburden rate, which is the number of bacteria residing on a surface. Over the last few years, the demands and requirements placed on medical device producers have progressively increased. The most strict regulations apply to Class III medical devices implanted with or maintaining life.
Compounding pharmacies have grown in popularity in recent years, although they have been restricted due to the chemicals and compounds they generate, which necessitate cleanrooms. The ability of a compound pharmacy to mix, produce, and sell medications particularly tailored to a customer's needs distinguishes it from other pharmacies. Because of the nature of the materials they use, they require a sterile, contained environment. Their cleanrooms must comply with ISO 7 or 8 standards.
Air Flow in a Laminar Pattern
Because all cleanrooms have some type of airflow control, most are classed as laminar. Unidirectional airflow, also known as laminar airflow, occurs when air passes through a room in a single direction. The air comes from the ceiling and escapes through outlets in the floor in a typical configuration. Air enters via one wall and exits through the opposite wall in other designs, which is known as horizontal laminar. Where the airflow enters the room, HEPA filters are installed. The ducting in most rooms is stainless steel or other non-shedding metal.
This type of cleanroom is utilized for the large-scale manufacturing of precise items. On the other hand, mini environments are built to manufacture a single tool or process. Ballrooms are big spaces with full production capabilities. The ability of ballroom designs to create a completely confined setting is one of their primary flaws.
Do you require a cleanroom for your company?
If you're reading this, your company may already utilize a clean room, and you're seeking to learn more about it, or you may think your company may benefit from one.
So, to determine if a cleanroom is suited for your company, ask yourself the following questions:
If you responded yes to any of the above questions, a cleanroom could benefit your company. While they are an investment and require constant management, they can significantly impact your production.
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