5 Commonly Overlooked Cleanroom Dangers

It seems like in a cleanroom, it’s almost impossible to overthink every move and decision you make. Sometimes people make mistakes they couldn’t have anticipated until they happen. Here are 5 common dangers that not everyone is cognizant of when working in a cleanroom.

Poking holes in the HEPA filter

Take a look at your HEPA filter. Are there any round holes in there? It is not uncommon for someone to get a little too aggressive when pulling the mop out of the bucket, sending the handle straight into the HEPA filter.

Improper gowning and face mask use

Without proper training and awareness, it’s really easy to, for example, let parts of the gown hit the floor when putting it on. It is also possible to wear your facemask inside out. Make sure everyone knows how to properly dress and undress in and out of cleanroom attire.

Touching furniture

If you’re wearing a sterile glove and adjust the height on your chair, you can pick up contaminates from the movement of the adjusting cylinder. Remember that any time you’re dealing with moving pieces, that movement can create electrostatic discharge or release particles.

Outlets

If outlets are not sealed properly, they can become a portal for bugs. Enough said.

Tacky mats

These are great for capturing contaminates off the bottoms of your feet. However, if the mat is too sticky, it can be a tripping hazard. Additionally, if your sticky mat is too small, it’s easy to only hit one foot on the mat when walking across it.

As you can see, the little things can lead to big problems when you’re working in a controlled environment. It’s the things that are easily overlooked that can make compliance very frustrating. Hidden problems are very difficult to fix. If you need cleanroom validation or certification, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. Not only do we perform these services, but also we have been in this business for thirty years and can help you identify potential problems. 888-628-0056; info@gerbig.com.

Considerations for ESD in Cleanroom Packaging

Static control in packaging has been around for centuries. In its earliest years, it was used to prevent the electrostatic discharge (ESD) ignition of gunpowder stores. Today, there are many kinds of devices, parts, and pieces manufactured in cleanrooms that are vulnerable to ESD. Since basic motion and activity can create a static charge, it’s important that these items are packaged in ESD protective materials. Here are a few options.

Conductive Totes

Conductive plastic is achieved through the compounding of carbon particle material into plastic resin. This permanently changes the surface resistivity, transforming it from an electrical insulator to an electrical conductor.

A conductive tote prevents ESD because when grounded, it bleeds the charge off to the surface it’s in contact with. When enclosed with a cover, it becomes a Faraday cage, providing an electrically continuous conductive enclosure.

Static dissipative

This kind of resistivity can also be accomplished by compounding carbon particles into plastic resin. The rate of discharge is slower with this material, and it needs to make direct contact with the ESD-sensitive components.

Antistatic

This material prevents triboelectric charging when two dissimilar components are separated because it resists high amounts of charge accumulation. These don’t need to be grounded, but the antistatic property may not be permanent. It can depend on the relative humidity to attract moisture because an antistatic additive can evaporate.

Corrugated paper/cardboard

This is the lowest cost option. The paper or cardboard is coated with carbon black and sometimes laminated with foils or other materials to become ESD protective. The down side is that paper emits dust, fibers, and corrosive sulfur contaminates that can destroy electric components.

When you’re deciding what kind of packaging material is best for you, consider the overall time and cost of the project, whether you prefer reusable or recyclable materials, and what will best protect your components from other damage.

For cleanroom certification or validation, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We have thirty years of experience in cleanrooms. We also manufacture AireCell cleanrooms. Contact us at 888-628-0056 or info@gerbig.com.

Effective Cleaning to Remove Dense Dust from Cleanrooms

While the advanced air filtration systems in modern cleanroom HVACs trap most dust particles, cross-contamination from dust is still a concern. Dense dust, which has a high water content, and metal-containing dust can easily find its way into cleanrooms via things like the corrosion of faucets and plumbing or technician clothing. A careful protocol is necessary to remove these dust particles and avoid spreading contaminates during cleaning.

Cleaning Cleanroom Floors

Do not sweep or mop cleanroom or lab floors. Sweeping loosens dust particles and circulates them through the air. They then settle back onto other surfaces. Traditional mopping will simply spread contaminates from one place to another.

Instead, replace brooms with high-filtration vacuum cleaners. These are available as both canisters and backpacks, provide high and low vacuuming, and they offer the flexibility to access hard-to-reach areas. Mops should be replaced with auto vacs. With these machines, you apply cleaning solution directly to the floor and the vac provides agitation to help loosen contaminates and vacuums them up.

Cleaning Other Cleanroom Surfaces (desks and counters)

Traditional cleaning for these surfaces includes sprayers and cleaning cloths. With dust, it is important to follow a few special rules to avoid spreading particles around. Always use a microfiber cleaning cloth. Additionally, only use cloths and pats of cloths that are clean. Smart towels can be folded into quadrants to provide more fresh cloth surfaces.

With dust, it’s also important to spray the solution on the cloth rather than the surface to avoid sending particles airborne. Once you’ve removed the dust, you will clean the surface again by applying the solution to the surface and wiping it with a clean, dry microfiber.

Flat-surface cleaning systems are also available as an alternative to sprays and cloths. These systems have a chemical injection system that delivers a cleaning solution to a microfiber wipe and then a squeegee removes excess liquid from the surface.

The biggest difference in cleaning dust versus other cleaning is that you have to avoid sending the dust airborne. With a few adjustments to your regular cleaning routine, you can effectively capture the dust first. When there is no dust present, applying a cleaning solution to the surface before wiping is still recommended.

If you have questions about cleanroom cleaning, contact Gerbig Cleanrooms. We provide cleanroom certification and validation as well as construction. Our thirty years of experience will ensure that you have what you need to remain compliant. Contact us at 888-628-0056 or info@gerbig.com.

The 5 Time and Money Saving Qualities of a Cleanroom

Cleanrooms are incredibly complex. Without the right amount of planning when building one, you can encounter one time and money-sucking challenge after another. You can’t just think about your needs now, but also in the future. Situations like expansion, repairs, and upgrades can be an enormous headache if you’re not set up for it when the time comes for change. When you’re building a cleanroom, here are 5 characteristics you want to ensure it has to avoid costly, time-consuming obstacles.

  1. Located on the first floor. Everything you want to build, install, or renovate requires access to the room, and the easier you make that, the faster it will get done. Additionally, the first floor is ideal when you look at all the HVAC and other necessary equipment – you need room for everything, and you need space in the correct location within the room.

 

  1. Your clear height should be at least 10 feet. Another reason for a first-floor location, you need to ensure that you have enough space in the room for all the equipment. In some cases, those are large units needed for manufacturing, and in others, proper air and temperature control systems.

 

  1. Provide enough HVAC capacity to accommodate necessary airflow. This is not a measure you want to have to compensate for later when you find out your system is not sufficient for your compliance. Pay close attention to what you need and might need so that you are set up for a smooth operation.

 

  1. Ensure there is sufficient electrical amperage to operate the air handlers. If your electrical system is compromised, so is your entire operation. Check what you have and what you need before committing to a location.

 

  1. Check that the building’s roof can handle any existing and new HVAC handlers. As you can imagine, you never want to find out that your roof can’t support your critical equipment. Choosing the right location is a total evaluation from top to bottom.

 

Throughout your process of building and running your cleanroom, you will need certification and validation. These services are paramount to your success. To ensure that you continue to thrive, contact Gerbig Engineering Company. We provide expert cleanroom services, including validation, certification, and construction. Connect with us at 888-628-0056 or info@gerbig.com.

The health and safety of our employees, customers and communities is our top priority.Read about our response to COVID-19.