The Challenge of Working in a Cleanroom
Typically used in manufacturing or scientific research where small particles can adversely affect the processes, a cleanroom is a controlled environment that has a low level of pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles and chemical vapors. Cleanrooms maintain particulate-free air through the use of either High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) or Ultra-Low Penetration Air (ULPA) filters employing laminar or turbulent air flow principles.
Proper cleanroom design encompasses the entire air distribution system including provisions for adequate downstream air returns.
Most cleanrooms are difficult to work in, and prior to entry require specialized knowledge and training in contamination control theory, ensuring the integrity of the room remains in compliance during normal operation. Entering and exiting a cleanroom is done through airlocks, air showers and/or gown rooms, and personnel must wear specialized clothing designed to trap contaminates that are naturally produced by the skin and body. Exiting the clean room is just as important and challenging as getting in because you don’t want to carry something out of the cleanroom that is not intended to leave.
A particularly challenging aspect of maintaining cleanroom integrity arises when emergencies, alterations or maintenance on specialty systems is required and contractors are called for support. Along with repairs and maintenance to laboratory & cleanroom HVAC systems, projects such as valve repair and maintenance, as well as process piping additions and alterations requiring orbital welding may be utilized.
Technicians, such as those at Fraser Engineering, visit many facilities and receive training to work in many different types of cleanrooms.
Once trained, these individuals can move freely around the cleanroom space and complete the required tasks. Particular attention is paid to material handling and transferring material and tools into the clean room. It is vital that these technicians follow proper procedures and maintain tools and equipment to ensure that they are clean and working properly when called upon to work in this tough environment.