Whether lab technicians like it or not, cleanrooms are exposed to contaminants. Adulteration can occur from personnel, equipment, or even incorrect decontamination processes. Since many cleaning methods exist, it’s important to select one that’s best for your application; an careless technique may redeposit contaminants onto surfaces rather than take them away. Understanding particle-to-surface bonding (electrical, physical, or chemical) is one of the first steps to optimal cleaning efficiency. Keep reading for more tips that ensure your cleanroom remains clean.
Controlled environments act as secluded clean spaces for performing select applications in a manner that protects the internal samples or materials and/or the workers involved. Air pressure is a key component of a cleanroom. The internal pressure and, by design, the differential pressure, are closely regulated and maintained. Basic chemistry tells us that high pressure air has greater mass than low pressure air, and given the opportunity, will flow into the less dense environment.
Ascending or descending pressure differentials are part of the foundation of most controlled environments. Maintaining a specific differential between adjacent areas reduces the inflow of airborne particulates and/or prevents hazardous materials from escaping. The type of application dictates whether a positive or negative pressure space is required. So, how do these two pressure types differ?
High-tech industries have long been plagued by an unseen foe. From semiconductors to medical devices, manufacturers are forced to accept high product rejection rates due to particle contamination or critical defects. Oftentimes, contamination issues and product damage in these industries can be traced back to uncontrolled static electricity. When static is allowed to build-up, it becomes a double threat to a cleanroom, increasing the chances of ESA-induced contamination and electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage.
Biological safety Levels (BSLs) are prescribed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to inhibit contamination of a work environment and ensure worker safety by outlining operating procedures and atmospheric controls. If you’ve read the BSL guidance document, you may have found the infection-rate distinctions and cabinet classes hard to conceptualize. Here, we summarize section IV of the Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition.
Terra Universal specifically designs environments and furnishings to meet the needs of aseptic operations that must conform to strict FDA, cGMP and other standards involving potential microbial contamination. Bio-pharmaceutical applications require this level of sterile environment for successful disease research and drug development. We call this special line of products BioSafe. What makes Terra’s BioSafe solutions clean enough for sterile operations? The answer hinges on high-grade materials and easy-clean designs.
It may not come as a surprise that most clean room contaminants begin with employees. Dead skin cells and hair fragments constantly shed from our bodies. And according to one cleanroom expert, viable bacteria emissions from normal activity by an un-gowned individual could release several hundred colony-forming units per minute; therefore, personnel, above all else, should be properly covered before entering the controlled environment. Otherwise, all efforts and costs to maintain your clean room are negated.
With a well-designed gowning area, proper cleanroom garments, and a strict gowning procedure, particle dispersion is minimized and the cleanliness specifications of your contained space remain uncompromised.
Below are seven tips for maintaining an optimal gowning routine. Note, the first two practices prevent most contamination during the gowning process: