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.
There’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.
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
Think 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.