Environmental Concerns When Designing your Cleanroom: Internal

Don’t build a cleanroom without first understanding all of the environmental factors that can cost you time and money later.

Maintaining a compliant cleanroom is a complex process. Indoor air quality is fairly fragile because even the best air filters can’t prevent all influences from tainting the system. The design process is the perfect place to evaluate potential threats. You can avoid certain contaminates and know what to be watchful for once the facility is operational. One of the most important factors to evaluate is the environment.

Environmental factors are twofold:  internal and external.

Let’s first look at internal environmental concerns.

Humidity is among the most difficult to completely control, and it can cause a heap of problems. Too little humidity, as you can imagine, can spark electrostatic buildup and discharge. Electrostatic discharge is a major issue in a cleanroom, especially in one that has any electrical components in it.

Too much humidity can lead to numerous other disasters. Photoresist processes are among those that are very sensitive to humidity. Just a little too much can destroy components, samples, and/or equipment – setting you back in both time and money.

Humid conditions also encourage bacteria and microbe growth, which will corrode sensitive materials. It also manifests into condensation and water absorption – two more processes that can ruin equipment and samples.

People working in the cleanroom are also sensitive to humidity. Sweat, fatigue, and other heat-related discomfort can increase the chances of human error, not to mention compromise employee safety.

It’s important to prepare for humidity monitoring and control when you design your cleanroom. Some of your risks to relative humidity will depend on the external environment. Next week we will focus on how the air quality is influenced by the facility’s surroundings.

When it’s time for certification or validation of your cleanroom, it’s imperative that you select a credible company. Gerbig Engineering Company has thirty years of experience, promising the best service you can find. We will help you understand anything you’re struggling with: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

4 Common Reasons Cleanroom Employees are Not up to Par

Before you take disciplinary action against an underperforming employee, make sure you investigate the reason behind poor work performance.

It’s frustrating when employees don’t meet expectations. We’ve all encountered situations where training doesn’t seem to stick, rules are not followed correctly, or employees don’t seem to be doing everything they are supposed to. Whatever the situation is with your employee who isn’t quite up to par, it behooves you to determine if the problem can be fixed before you let the person go.

As a leader, consider these four possibilities when addressing employees about poor work performance:

  1. The work is impossible to accomplish. When we don’t actually perform the tasks assigned to a position, it’s easy to ask too much of the person doing that job. If a person is given more to do than there is reasonable time to accomplish it, work is going to get left undone. Take an honest look at what is expected of the employee and whether it’s even possible to perform the way you expect.
  1. Training was missed and nobody noticed. Just because a person held a similar position with another company does not mean he or she is aware of how you execute workflow at your facility. A lot of people get thrown into jobs to learn on the fly and have to wing it. This provides a lot of opportunity for failure, especially over things that are so second nature to other employees, it doesn’t occur to a trainer to cover them.
  1. It doesn’t seem important. What kind of verbal and nonverbal message are you and other employees sending about following the rules? Not only should training be consistent for all, but also everyone should be modeling the kind of behavior you expect to see. If one person shows up a few minutes late every day and is not reprimanded despite a clear policy on punctuality, others will get the impression that the rule doesn’t matter.
  1. The person doesn’t know he/she isn’t doing something. There are many reasons a person can miss instructions. He or she can misunderstand or misinterpret them. Often, training is so complex that it’s impossible to remember and/or catch everything. Sometimes the information just wasn’t given in the first place. Make sure the person really understands his or her obligations.

When you need cleanroom certification or validation, you never have to second-guess the expert services that Gerbig Engineering Company provides. We have over thirty years of experience in the field, and it shows. Contact us at 888-628-0056 or info@gerbig.com.

Quick Checklist for Building a Test Chamber for your Cleanroom

What do you need to know before building or buying a test chamber?

Test chambers allow us to see the long-term impacts of extreme environmental conditions on product or equipment in a short period of time. This is useful to be able to make changes to the manufacturing process. Some of the conditions tested include:

  • Vibration
  • Humidity
  • Temperature
  • Weather conditions (e.g. UV degradation)
  • Environmental impacts (e.g. salt water)
  • Emissions and by-products

The test chamber you would need to test your requirements will be unique to you and your product. Often times you will need to have a new chamber built. However, there may be existing test chamber that you can buy used that will provide you what you need.

Either way, before you can purchase or build a chamber, you need all the right information to get what you need. Here is a quick checklist:

  • Understand your size requirements (product) as well as your size restrictions (facility).
  • Understand your performance parameters like getting it hooked up correctly. Talk to operations, R&D, and manufacturers to gather all the information.
  • Consider all the details, like when the product needs to be handled, if you need to observe it visually, and if light is needed inside the chamber. Additionally, would light or other surrounding conditions impact the chamber operation or the efficiency of the controlled room?
  • Know the required life expectancy.
  • What are your networking requirements?
  • What is the required level of user control and programming?
  • Know the calibration requirements for installation and ongoing use.
  • What other workflow and process considerations are there?

Armed with these answers, you can choose the appropriate test chamber for your facility. Make sure you oversee installation, calibration, and hook-up, and make proper arrangements for maintenance and repair.

When you need cleanroom validation or certification, only use trusted resources. Gerbig Engineering Company has thirty years of experience. Contact us for help today: 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

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