Glove Protection: Three Risks People Face in a Cleanroom

What are the differences in glove needs for the various risks involved when working in a cleanroom?

Cleanrooms and cleanroom protocols are all about deliberate, diligent protection. They protect the product and materials, but most importantly, they protect people. The safety and protection of the cleanroom worker is paramount, and the glove is one of the key tools used to assure it. There are three categories of hazards from which humans need protection: physical, biological, and chemical. As far as gloves are concerned, each category yields separate, unique requirements for safety.

Physical – If you work around sharp or abrasive objects, you face a physical risk of harm. Anything that can cut, scratch, or penetrate the skin is an obvious hazard. True cut protection is only found in cut-resistant gloves that need be worn beneath cleanroom gloves. However, improvements have been made in the durability of cleanroom gloves. You may not require the sophistication of cut-resistant gloves with some of the available materials.

Biological – Aseptic manufacturing and research are common environments for biological hazard risks. Workers handle potentially pathogenic materials, usually wearing thin, single use, disposable gloves similar to surgical gloves. Barrier integrity may be tested by evaluating for pinholes. The Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of gloves like these are determined by the manufacturer. When choosing your gloves, know that he lower the AQL, the higher quality the barrier.

Chemical – Chemicals and chemical compounds react differently to materials in gloves and to skin. Single use gloves are designed for splash protection from small quantities of hazardous chemicals. This is only enough protection to allow the person time to remove and replace the gloves should chemicals splash onto the hands.

The type of gloves you need, as well as other protective apparel, will vary by application, so know what you need protection from when ordering. If you need cleanroom validation, certification, or construction, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We have thirty years of experience in cleanroom success. 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

Continuous Availability: Disaster Planning for your Controlled Environment

If you have critical data in your facility, you need to ensure it’s protected in the face of disaster. Here is a guideline on how.

Whether it’s manmade or natural, many manufacturers with cleanroom facilities are vulnerable to disaster. Three main concerns should this occur are security, risk management, and business continuity. Should any of these be compromised, it would be catastrophic. Therefore, a disaster recovery plan is necessary to any organization with something to lose.

When thinking of continuous availability, you need a strategic approach. You want to develop scope, context, and management commitment. Following that, define all company roles and responsibilities to know every business process within the organization. Assign staff to define risks and the business impact of each.

With these things identified, you’ll be able to develop a strategy, plan, and procedure for business continuity in the face of disaster. Your technology solutions will fit into this crucial step. This complex task should include three areas:

Data protection – a number of disasters can destroy data, so protecting it needs to extend beyond onsite storage. Hosting it offsite will increase your chances of data survival in the case that the unexpected occurs. How far away the offsite storage should be is dependent upon what kind of risks you face.

System recovery – make sure you’re current on updates and maintenance for your servers, platforms, operating systems, hypervisors, networks, and backup software and hardware. You want to ensure that these systems can recover your applications.

People, processes, program – if a catastrophe occurred today and employees had to work remotely tomorrow, would they know what to do? Equip your staff with the proper training, workspace, and equipment they need to function in the face of disaster. Have a document that details the steps of your recovery. Include how to redistribute the workload across your organization. Also consider your critical suppliers – can you still operate if this happens?

You must continually test and analyze these processes throughout the year, performing mock disaster scenarios, and making improvements when necessary. There are companies that specialize in disaster recovery who can help you optimize your business continuity program. For other cleanroom needs, like validation, verification, and construction, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. Our experts understand the needs of your facility no matter the industry. Call 888-628-0056 or email info@gerbig.com.

4 Types of Modular Cleanrooms Part 2

Further discussion on the options one has for modular cleanrooms as opposed to other controlled environments.

Modular cleanrooms are a popular alternative to other kinds of controlled environments because they are convenient and reliable. In part one, we discussed two of the four types of systems. Here we will cover the remaining two.

Structural post and panel

Most modular manufacturers have a core product that acts as an “all-purpose” system. These products can be utilized for numerous applications, from particular ISO classes to GMP rooms. The versatility that these systems provide make them appropriate to outfit existing facilities or build freestanding structures to envelop separate, compartmentalized processes.

A post-panel design provides even more flexibility to these systems. A variety of wall panels and cores can be integrated to meet various needs and applications. These include: polystyrene, aluminum honeycomb, fiberglass reinforced plastic, and stainless steel.

Quality control enclosures, inspection rooms, medical device packaging areas, machinery enclosures, and USP 797 compounding labs are all examples of applications that benefit from these all-purpose cleanroom systems.

Framing and partitioning systems

These are typically the ideal solutions for applications demanding a lot of precision, like microelectronics and nanotechnology. They require systems that integrate well with the equipment used to run the operations. Framing systems feature both vertical and horizontal members that connect easily, therefore simplifying bulkheading as well as creating airtight seals around equipment. The walls can easily be removed without removing adjacent panels, ceiling grids, or framing studs.

Something to be aware of in the microelectronics industry is that cleanrooms usually require anti-static wall panels hat are non-shedding and non-outgassing. Honeycomb aluminum panels have proven to perform well, but they are expensive. More cost-effective designs are often available if you compare your needs with what manufacturers have to offer. With a little research, you could reduce the cost of your cleanroom without sacrificing functionality or performance.

Depending on your application and needs, either a softwall, aseptic, structural post-panel, or framing system will meet your modular needs. Gerbig Engineering company’s AireCell line is especially cost-effective. The aluminum and PVC extrusions are quickly installed and offer design flexibility. Contact us to discuss the AireCell systems: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

4 Types of Modular Cleanrooms Part 1

Modular cleanrooms are a popular alternative to controlled environments. The appropriate one for you depends on your specific needs.

Modular cleanrooms offer a variety of benefits to those who need a controlled environment. They’re quick and clean to install, consistent in quality, and offer some green benefits as well. In an evolving market, new systems become available, giving consumers more to choose from.

Modular cleanrooms are categorized in four styles: softwall, aseptic, structural post and panel, and specialty systems (they include framing or partitioning.) Let’s take a look at the first two kinds of modular systems.

Softwall Cleanrooms:

If you require light environmental control, these systems are a very economical option. They can be erected quickly and consist of metal framing, flexible vinyl curtain walls, and numerous fan filter modules to control particulate and air flow. These are probably the most mobile systems available.

Other advantages to softwall cleanrooms make them easy to incorporate into a variety of applications and other cleanroom systems. Mounting methods, closure, and fastening systems allow them to be used as partitions within larger environments or to create cleaner interior zones. They even come in several finishes, like transparent, tinted, and opaque to widen their applications.

Overall, these are very common to use for basic environmental control to inspection rooms, manufacturing areas, GMP rooms, and machinery enclosures.

Aseptic systems:

While softwalls are designed for lighter environments, aseptic systems are designed to meet the requirements of life science, biomedical, pharmaceutical, and medical device markets.

These systems have a completely seamless interior as well as durable, non-shedding wall panels designed to withstand repeated cleaning and sanitizing. The design eliminates the potential buildup of contaminants within the environment. All of the advantages of these systems serve to meet the unique requirements of the specific industries mentioned above.

One of the most reliable and advanced modular cleanroom systems is the AireCell line created by Gerbig Engineering Company. This specialized line of aluminum and PVC extrusions are quickly installed and cost-effective. Contact Gerbig to discuss whether the AireCell system is right for your application: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

ESD Flooring Options for your Cleanroom

If you are controlling ESD in your cleanroom, you need to choose the right protection for your floor. Here is a comparison of basic options.

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can cause damage to electrically sensitive equipment and analytic processes as well as cause a fire or explosion near flammable materials. Using ESD flooring helps ground personnel in an effective and economical manner.

Your ESD flooring selection process should begin with an evaluation of both your intended use and possible future uses. Your intended use includes:

  • Evaluating devices or processes most sensitive to ESD events
  • Chemical resistance
  • Aesthetic requirements

Every type of material used for ESD flooring will have advantages and disadvantages in each specific environment and application, so consider the following options with that in mind.

  1. Resilient ESD tile and sheet goods. If there is neither danger of liquid spillage nor presence of heavy point loads, these products offer good general service. They’re fairly economical and come in a variety of colors and finishes.
  2. ESD carpet. Carpet offers ergonomic value and sound reduction, but non-ESD carpet is a major source of electrostatic discharge. With conductive fiber and backing, this option provides effective grounding of potentially damaging charges. ESD carpet finishes are typically reserved for administrative areas.
  3. Two-component ESD epoxy floor paints. These are water-based products applied in thin films. This makes it inappropriate for applications under heavy physical use, but it’s an economical option for flexible spaces or large areas with light to moderate levels of use.
  4. Polymer ESD coatings. These provide a seamless surface resistant to liquid spills. Variations are available for chemical resistance and/or slip resistance. As the options get more advanced, they provide better protection under heavy loads .

There are also temporary solutions best used as a stop-gap measure, like ESD waxes and other topical treatments. Again, your evaluation of current and future uses will determine which option is right for you.

When you need cleanroom validation, certification, or expansion, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We provide expert solutions and thirty years of experience. Call 888-628-0056 or email info@gerbig.com today.

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