Federal Guidelines for Cleanrooms Provide an Effective Air Filtration Strategy
Camfil is uniquely qualified to partner with cleanroom operators to design a strategy that takes into account all the needs of this type of facility
Cleanrooms were invented to provide a sterile environment in which high tech products are manufactured or tested, but without an effective air filtration system, contaminants can wreak havoc at these facilities.
Federal cleanroom contamination standards point to the need for air filtration systems that can eliminate particulates reports Air Filtration Company Camfil
In fact, the sterility of cleanrooms is vital toward maintaining the integrity of any scientific research.
That’s because a cleanroom that is contaminated by particulates and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cannot present research as being valid.
A review of what these facilities are, and the federal standards regarding the permissible amount of contamination, is vital in understanding how cleanrooms can be compromised by poor air quality, and how air filtration provides a solution.
Purpose of a Cleanroom
Cleanrooms are built in different sizes and configurations depending on the research that will be conducted.
They are often found in industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, semiconductor manufacturing, aerospace and optics.
The main purpose of a cleanroom is to have a confined space where air quality is as good as possible, which includes controlling variables such as humidity, temperature and air pressure.
One of the primary ways to maintain optimal air quality in a cleanroom is to establish entrance and exit protocols that help control the amount of contamination in the cleanroom.
For example, workers in these facilities are often asked to enter through special openings, and must wear protective clothing that prevents skin-borne contaminants from compromising the air quality in the cleanroom.
Some cleanrooms that are used for live-culture research require personnel to wear breathing masks and layered protective suits to ensure that no contaminants can mix with the molecules involved in the research.
This would be applicable to cleanrooms that are involved in genetic testing, as an example.
Cleanroom Federal Classifications
The U.S. government has established federal standards to classify cleanrooms.
Initially, the government used Federal Standard 209E, but ISO 14644-1, an international standard, replaced that standard.
These guidelines are based on the number of particles in the air that are equal to or greater than the baseline of 0.5 micron in one cubic meter of air.
In the ISO standard, the most sterile cleanroom is designated as a class 1, and the least sterile cleanroom is designated as a class 9.
For example, a cleanroom with 35,200,000 particles per cubic meter would be receive a class 9 designation.
Furthermore, cleanroom facility operators are required to conduct particle count tests, air pressure differenential tests and airflow tests every 12 months.
Optional testing includes installed filter leakage tests and containment leakage tests every 24 months.
Importance of Air-Change Rate
One of the most important factors affecting air quality in a cleanroom is the air-change rate (ACR).
The ACR is the number of times in a 60-minute period that filtered air is recirculated within the cleanroom.
Cleanroom ACR is dependent on factors such as size and usage, so it can range from 10 to 600 times in a 60-minute period.
Air Filtration Strategy
It’s obvious that a cleanroom must remain as free of contaminants as possible to maintain research integrity.
Operators of these facilities must understand the importance of filtered air that flows from the cleanest areas of a cleanroom to the least clean areas, to increase the elimination of all contaminants.
In addition, airflow uniformity is vital in cleaning pockets of air where particulates may have accumulated in greater amounts.
Airflow uniformity refers to the consistent flow of filtered air in one direction, typically in a vertical flow.
Camfil Offers Effective Air Filtration Solutions
With 50 years experience in the air filtration industry, Camfil is uniquely qualified to partner with cleanroom operators to design a strategy that takes into account all the needs of this type of facility. Camfil’s advanced air filtration systems are constantly undergoing upgrades, and the company’s guiding philosophy is that clean air is a human right, not a privilege. In the furtherance of this philosophy, Camfil is committed to offering the highest quality products at the most affordable prices.
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