Despite its straightforward name, a cleanroom is more than a sanitary room. In fact, in order to qualify as a cleanroom, it must meet stringent sanitation requirements. Hospitals, pharmacies, and companies in the biotech, electronics, and food industries rely on the peace of mind reputable cleanroom systems provide to keep their patients and customers safe. They manufacture their products in the controlled environment of a cleanroom to eliminate the possibility of contamination from airborne particles.
One of the main sources of such contamination is walls, floors and ceilings. Cleanroom system walls and panels are the means by which manufacturers do away with such threats lurking in their surroundings.
Some standard, typically the Standard 209E, governs the level at which contaminating particles must be kept from a cleanroom. According to Staples Inc.'s "Basic Introduction to Clean Room," the Standard 209E "establishes standard classes of air cleanliness for airborne particulate levels in cleanrooms and clean zones."
The Staples report goes on to point out that "The only way to control contamination is to control the total environment." And in order to accomplish this "cleanrooms are planned and manufactured using strict protocol and methods."
Among the work called for in a cleanroom program is removal of trash, sweeping and mopping of floors with appropriate cleansers, wiping down tables and refreshment areas, cleaning walls and recycling cans. All of these activities should take place every single shift to eliminate the possibility of contaminants. In addition, all walls and trim should be wiped down once per week.
Those facilities that would like to keep the tediousness of undertaking such work and adhering to such standards to a minimum would be wise to engage the services of a cleanroom systems expert. That way they can guarantee that they are meeting all the current guidelines and standards of cleanroom technology. They can also ensure that the panels they are installing in their cleanroom are class 1/A flame spread, meet cleanroom class 10 guidelines, are flame retardant, resist chemical contamination and, perhaps most importantly, stand up to these traits for the long haul.
Controlled Environments Magazine outlines a list of questions that encompass "The Bottom Line on Buying a Cleanroom System." The most important of these is: "As a future cleanroom system owner, "what information will I need to provide the cleanroom contractor to ensure compliance with my cleanroom requirements and to get a performance guarantee?"
To achieve such a guarantee, the publication recommends following these four basic steps when discussing the matter with a cleanroom system expert:
- Have your cleanroom temperature, humidity, pressure and cleanliness requirements handy.
- Bring along a 3D blueprint of your cleanroom area, with all your workflow, equipment and utilities properly laid out. This will ensure your cleanroom system walls and panels conform to the way you work.
- Consider whether conditioned air will be necessary for your operations.
- Present your cleanroom system provider with a finalized version of your user requirement specification (URS).
Armed with this information you and your contractor can devise a cleanroom system that's right for you.