cleanrooms Archives | All-Spec's Official Blog

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?

Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings

Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything

You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

Cleanrooms – Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make

Posted on by Andy 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.

Cleanrooms: Contaminant-Free Environments

Posted on by Andy in Technical Articles Leave a comment

Cleanroom is a term that is thrown around a lot but what does it really mean? Cleanrooms are more than just a clean counter and a swept floor.

First off, according to Global Spec a cleanroom is an environment that is contaminant-free and often used for high-tech assembly and manufacturing.

There are several different classes of cleanrooms, each with their own standards, and these standards limit the number of particles in the air per cubic meter. Cleanrooms are classed from FED STD 209E Class 1 to Class 100,000 or from ISO 1 to ISO 9. FED STD 209E used to be the standard but was replaced with ISO 14644 in 2001 by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA); but FED STD 209E is still widely used.

To put things into perspective, outside air in a typical city may have as many as 35,000,000 particles (size 0.5 μm and larger) per cubic meter but an ISO 5 cleanroom will have a maximum of 3,520 particles (size 0.5 μm and larger) per cubic meter. To give you an idea of how involved these rooms are, here’s an article in which Intel explains the process of entering a cleanroom; according to Intel there are over 40 steps that must be repeated every time someone leaves and re-enters a cleanroom.

So what is a contaminant? Most cleanroom contaminants seem innocuous in every day situations but they do cause problems in contamination-free environments. According to Coast Wide Labs, most contaminants come from five sources; people, tools, facilities, fluids and the product being manufactured. Cosmetics, perfume, floor finishes, aluminum particles and yes, even vibration, are just a few common contaminants.

Controlling contaminants is all dependant of the class of the cleanroom but some key components include:

  • HEPA air filters – this is probably one of the biggest elements to a cleanroom – these filters can remove particles that are as small as 0.3 microns and highly efficient (remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles)
  • Design of the cleanroom – this has to do with airflow; little airflow causes turbulence which can cause particle movement
  • Special garments – these garments range from cleanroom coveralls to masks to booties and gloves – cleanroom garments reduce the lint and particles in the air
  • Cleanroom furniture such as workstations and chairs –this equipment has the same result as the garments mentioned above
  • Cleaning – the specialized rooms must be cleaned with special materials, substances, etc…

This is just a brief overview; cleanrooms are very complex and can vary from company to company.