Cleanroom Archives

Ten Labels to Solve Your Engineering Challenges


Put the right one on There’s a right label for every application and Brady has designed a handy cheat sheet to help you on your way. When choosing a label, you’ll want to ask yourself several questions – Will the Read more

Dry Air Static Control and Ionizers


Dry air and ESD control The specifications and devices being assembled determine the recommended humidity range for a manufacturing facility. When the air is dry, static control becomes much more challenging. Although ESD events may be reduced by increasing the Read more

Zero in on Smog with Weller’s Fume Extractors


Weller Zero Smog Fume Extractors Compared   Smog - fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants Weller’s fume extractors remove dangerous gases and harmful particles out of the air, typically while soldering to create a healthier environment. If you’re Read more

The Benefits of ESD-Safe Turntables -Take One for a Spin

Posted on by Barb N. in Cleanroom, ESD News, Product Reviews, Static Control Tips and Tricks, Technical Articles Leave a comment

Remember the lazy Susan?

imagesOnce a staple on every dining room table where with a spin of a wooden disc your salt and pepper shakers suddenly appeared in front of you. The same idea works for an ESD-safe turntable, however this disc does much more than turn.

Just like the revolving server, the turntable rotates to make working on large products and assemblies easier. With an ESD-safe turntable you avoid lifting heavy objects and–potential back injuries. With just a turn of the wheel you can access your next work area with ease—no lifting, lugging or jostling into place. And of course, the turntable eliminates electrostatic build-up.

The devices can be used on grounded or ungrounded surfaces, however on ungrounded surfaces the turntable must be grounded. The sizes range from 12” to 20” and come in different shapes depending on your application and preference.

esd-turntable

ESD-Safe Turntable – Not for use with food. Great for heavy objects.

The ESD-safe turntable can be an invaluable tool in the electronics industry and has become a staple in its own right at many workstations. See a choice of ESD-safe turntables at All-Spec including these brands – Protektive Pak, Fancort, Sovella and Desco.

Summary –

  • Keeps heavy objects grounded and shielded from static
  • Eliminates heavy lifting or transport
  • Protects workers, products and components
  • Useful all kinds of heavy assembly, rework or maintenance jobs
  • Removes charges on contact with grounded ESD surfaces

 

 

SEE HOW IT WORKS – Protektive Pak ESD Turntable


Cleanrooms – Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make

Posted on by Barb N. in Cleanroom, Product Spotlight Leave a comment

Keep Contamination at Bay

You may or may not have ever had to don cleanroom clothing. If you have, you understand the “musts” of putting the multiple layers of protection on yourself to keep contamination at bay. The more critical the application the more clothes you’ll need.

europlaz-technologies-ltd-injection-moulding-cleanroom 1There’s no bones about it; everything is dirty. And even when you think it’s clean, it’s not. That’s why there’s a huge demand for “special” cleanroom apparel for gowning.

Sounds fashionable doesn’t it…apparel, gowning? Nuh-uh, this is not “Project Runway.”

All joking aside, cleanroom gowning is essential to working in the world of electronic assembly and PCBs. Immediately, you are one of the worst sources of contamination at a whopping 80%. And, there are bazillions of other contaminants besides you — supply air, room surfaces, tools, production machinery and processes, equipment and don’t forget your next door neighbors.

Thank goodness most of the bazillions can be sterilized or disinfected – but you can’t. Enter the invaluable sterile cleanroom wardrobe offering endless ways to cover you up, over, around and if needed, upside down.

Just like your dog or cat, you shed skin and hair, constantly. With it come microbes and the more you move the more microbes you make. Also, if you cough, talk, smoke, exhale or use cosmetics, you’re broadcasting particles far and wide.

These particles seem determined to get into the cleanroom with you, even if you believe you’ve worn enough protective clothing and put it on correctly. From the fashionable bouffant cap and beard covers to the myriad of shoe cover types—high traction, heavy-coated propropylene, anti-skid, super track, hypalon soles, meltblown, spunbond—cleanroom product manufacturers have you covered.

You’re Covered

Need a coat or coveralls, aka, bunny suit? All-Spec carries 72 coats and 115 coveralls. Did you say gloves? Take your pick from latex, neoprene, cut resistant, nitrile, vinyl—gloves for extreme temperatures, light-weight, heavy-weight; and what about the cuff – beaded, rolled or straight?

Each glove has been carefully and meticulously designed to work in particular environments and with specific applications to help keep you from contaminating your work and work area such as during assembly and inspection.

Every one of the hundreds and hundreds of cleanroom clothing items have a reason for existing–to stop particles from escaping from you. And cleanroom clothing has an enormous impact on reducing contaminants.

It’s in the Air

Keep dirty air out cleanroomThink of cleanroom clothing as a barrier between you and cleanroom air. An enormous amount of time and money have been spent to clean the air space you’ll be entering and working in. Properly suiting up for electronic assembly environments can be critical and if not done right, costly and potentially unsafe.

Those rascally particles, although your cleanroom apparel works hard to filter them, will still get out wherever they can–through neck, wrist or ankle openings, pores, holes and tears in the fabric and through your face mask. Everything around you, including the gowning bench you sit on while dressing, works to lessen contamination.

Additionally, every fabric that goes into the construction of a piece of cleanroom clothing has been carefully designed and constructed to minimize contamination as well as adhere to gowning protocols. For each cleanroom garment listed, All-Spec provides the “Standards Met.” For example, this KleenGuard coverall is listed ANSI/ISEA 101-1996, so that you can determine whether the apparel meets requirements.

Some cleanroom garments can be washed, however, most will be disposed of after use. How and where they’re disposed is also important; and sometimes users change one piece of clothing several times in a day depending on the cleanroom requirements.

The goal is to keep the sterile cleanroom clothing sterile including through the gowning process. Also, the order in which you don each item of clothing, down to the most minute detail, must also be considered to produce the most efficient and effective result, that is, the least amount of contamination possible.

Remember, every breath you take, every move you make introduces the potential for contamination. So be sure to “police” your own efforts.


A Swab for Every Job

Posted on by Barb N. in Cleanroom, swabs Leave a comment

Whoever thought there could be so many different kinds of swabs, aka, tipped applicators?

Trace_Evidence_vs_Blood_EvidenceMost people only know of the kinds of swabs used to clean ears. Invented in the 1920s, Leo Gerstenzang thought to attach wads of cotton to toothpicks (Q-Tips). This little idea has since grown into a billion-dollar industry and evolved far beyond swabs for cleaning ears.

Most likely you’ve used some kind of swab or at least seen them used; for instance, swabbing the inside of someone’s mouth to get a cell sample for DNA testing.

Today, there are hundreds of different kinds of tipped applicators being used in various areas including medical, diagnostic, industrial and forensic, to name just a few. To further the point, the largest manufacturer of swabs, Puritan, presently makes 1094 different types of swabs.

A swab is not just a swab anymore.

Work-bay-2Highly specialized swabs can actually be quite complicated to make, depending on the environment in which they’ll be used. Considerations such as length, width, color, scored or not scored, flexible, foam, or polyester must be decided upon, as well as, the manufacturer’s capabilities, i.e., machinery, workforce and equipment needed to produce them.

In the electronic assembly industry, workers use a multitude of different kinds of tipped applicators every day to perform very defined jobs and sometimes critical tasks, such as those performed in cleanrooms.

What may seem like mundane actions, like applying glue or cleaning a particular area of a circuit board, suddenly become critical operations. Should the wrong kind of swab for the job be used, the consequences can be extensive and expensive. An entire cleanroom can be jeopardized by just one little swab.

The standard of all things.

critical-environments-qsource1Furthermore, using the right kind of swab can potentially determine the difference between life and death, certainly when collecting samples of life-threatening viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specifically states the kind of Puritan swab that must be used during the Macrofoam Swab Procedure when sampling Bacillus anthracis –

Macrofoam swab, sterile, 3/16 inch thick medical-grade polyurethane foam head, 100 pores per inch, thermally bonded to a polypropylene stick (such as the Sterile Foam Tipped Applicators Scored with Thumb Stop [Puritan, Guilford, Maine; catalog number 25-1607 1PF SC] or equivalent)

Because of the myriad of industries needing swabs and the critical nature of some of the jobs they perform, different entities have created stringent standards to safeguard against irrevocable and possibly deadly mistakes. For instance, the kinds of swabs used in cleanrooms, where levels of all kinds of contamination must be continually controlled.

The implications of saying something as simple as, “I’ll probably need a swab for that,” become much more intricate when considering where, how and why it will be used.

puritan_foam_swabs_industrial_useWant to sample some swabs?

Receive a free sample of Puritan swabs to try on your cleanrooms and assembly applications. Log in to All-Spec and  “Claim Your Free Swabs.”