Not all cleanrooms are created equally. Depending on the particular industry, cleanroom classifications and specifications vary, as different manufacturing processes have unique standards and sterility requirements. Here, we’ll take a look at the various industries that rely on cleanrooms and how each one differs.
Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Cleanrooms
In the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, cleanrooms are specified at ISO Class 5 through Class 8. ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, is responsible for providing the requirements, guidelines, characteristics, and specifications that are used to ensure services, products, and processes are suitable for the intended purpose.
Particulate matter is the primary concern for any cleanroom, specifically when it comes to viable particulate contamination. It’s possible to prevent viable particulate contamination by installing cleanrooms with cove corners, cove ceilings, and cove bases in stick-built or modular designs, all of which help to maintain cleanable surface conditions. These design elements are especially crucial for meeting cleanroom standards for biotechnology and pharmaceutical applications.
Cleanrooms in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries prioritize the prevention of cross-contamination, filtration of indoor and outdoor air, and pressurization control. Because these cleanrooms are used to produce drugs and other pharmaceutical products, they must meet stringent guidelines and comply with regulations set forth by the FDA, including Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements.
According to the CGMP requirements under the FDA, cleanrooms facilitating aseptic processing must include:
Controls for temperature and humidity
Highly cleanable walls, flooring, and ceilings with hard and smooth surfaces
Filtered air supplies using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters under positive pressure for both nonlaminar and laminar flows
Cleanrooms in medical and hospital applications must meet many of the same requirements as those in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to avoid contamination. Medical and hospital cleanrooms are specifically designed with cross-contamination in mind, incorporating cleanable surfaces and filters that prevent particulates from entering. In addition, professionals working in these cleanrooms must wear the proper apparel, including gloves, plastic clothing, hairnets, and shoe coverings. This protective gear can help maintain a safe environment that prevents bacteria from infecting patients.
Many cleanrooms in the medical industry function as isolation rooms for patients. These spaces require negative pressure that prevents the spread of contaminants between rooms caused by breathing, coughing, or sneezing. To avoid contamination, medical cleanrooms don’t allow for circulating air, and they utilize HEPA filters, alarms that detect any loss of pressure, and hands-free toilets and showers. The HEPA filters in these applications can remove dust and other particles as small as 0.3 µm.
Some specific applications for medical and hospital cleanrooms include the following:
RNA / MRNA research
Laboratory, veterinary, and hospital pharmacies
T-cell and gene
Medical equipment, devices, and tooling
Aerospace & Automotive Industry
The automotive and aerospace industry uses various manufacturing processes to produce parts and components, many of which require the use of cleanrooms to maintain better quality and prevent defects. These industries utilize cleanrooms to perform processes such as glass coating, painting, and the production of various electrical components. Because humidity, pressure, and temperature control are especially important for these processes, cleanrooms are typically specified at ISO Class 7 or Class 8.
Many vehicle components require specialized manufacturing processes that can’t be performed on factory lines. As vehicles become more technologically advanced, their components become increasingly delicate and small. These tiny components are critical to vehicle safety and operation; therefore, defective parts can lead to costly and dangerous accidents. As such, the need for automotive and aerospace cleanrooms has grown.
Cleanrooms in these industries not only can reduce errors but also allow for temperature and humidity control as well as the reduction in particulate, pressure, and static levels. Reliable cleanrooms also maintain foreign object debris (FOD) control, which has become increasingly critical in this industry.
Compliant Cleanrooms from Liberty
If you need dependable, high-quality cleanroom products and contamination control supplies for your application, Liberty Industries offers numerous solutions to meet the needs of nearly any industry. As contamination control experts, we provide various products to solve your critical environmental challenges. We offer softwall cleanrooms and modular cleanrooms as well as a wide range of cleanroom supplies and accessories.
Contact us today to get started with the ideal cleanroom solution for your industry.
Air showers are an essential part of any cleanroom operation, addressing the biggest potential containment breach at its source. These chambers or tunnels are a key preventative measure that any cleanroom manager should consider. In this blog, you’ll learn more about air showers and why they’re integral to critical cleanroom applications across many industries.
How Do Air Showers Work?
Air showers are tunnels or chambers containing air jets that blow off personnel entering or departing a cleanroom. The pressured jet nozzle air streams drive dirt and dust particles away from the people or objects in the chamber. It then filters out contaminants and redirects them out of the chamber.
Air showers are positioned at the entrances and exits to cleanrooms or other highly controlled environments. As entrances and exits can be the biggest source of containment breach or contamination, having air showers as an extra layer of security for products and workers is a worthy investment.
A one-person air shower has two doors that cannot open simultaneously. When the employee enters the air shower chamber from the outside, both doors lock, and then the air jets blow air in high-velocity streams for 4 to 8 seconds. This process blows potential contaminants to a low-pressure section of the chamber. After waiting another 2 to 4 seconds for the room to be cleared of contaminants, the second door leading to the cleanroom will be unlocked and allow the employee to enter.
Why Air Showers for Cleanrooms
Cleanroom entrances and the people entering through them pose the greatest risk of contamination and must be managed accordingly. Air showers reduce pollutants that stick onto personnel and equipment despite prior gowning or disinfection procedures. Entrances and pass-throughs with an air shower act as a barrier between critical and non-critical regions.
By dislodging particulates before they get into the cleanroom, air showers also minimize particle accumulation to reduce cleanroom maintenance needs. They help to decrease energy consumption because HEPA filters do not have to work so hard. In fact, the filters last considerably longer when personnel utilize air showers.
Applications of Air Showers
When utilized correctly, an air shower can eliminate the majority of harmful contaminants before they even enter your cleanroom, ensuring your product stays safe and uncontaminated. Here are examples of where air showers can be applied.
Aerospace Cleanrooms: The aerospace industry consists of complex aircraft that require failproof components made to the highest standards. Excess particles may degrade an aerospace sensor or cause electrical equipment to malfunction. To guarantee worker safety and project success, all equipment must be made in optimal cleanroom conditions. Aerospace cleanrooms utilize large air showers at the entry and exit to remove particles from people and components, keeping the production area clean and free of contaminants.
Pharmaceutical Cleanrooms: Pharmaceutical cleanrooms are essential for developing, testing, and manufacturing life-saving drugs. Contamination in pharmaceutical processes might influence test results or consumer health. Since these cleanrooms must meet stringent cleaning standards, they frequently rely on air showers. The extra degree of security guarantees that individuals passing from outside to inside the compounding room do not bring in potentially harmful contaminants.
Medical Research Cleanrooms: Air showers are often found in medical research cleanroom applications involving sensitive equipment. In research studies involving toxic fumes or biohazards like infectious diseases, the inside of the cleanroom may pose more of a threat than the outside. In addition to negative pressurization, air showers are key to removing particles from workers as they exit the cleanroom.
Precision Manufacturing Cleanrooms: Although not all production environments have strict particle control specifications, sensitive products like sensors, radar systems, and computer hardware must be produced in a controlled environment. For example, producing defense industry components like weapons, security devices, and other complex equipment requires a highly controlled cleanroom environment.
Air Showers From Liberty Industries
Air showers are worth the investment in safeguarding your cleanroom operation. The method is highly effective at addressing the source of the most major potential containment breach—the entrance to the cleanroom. Liberty Industries offers a comprehensive selection of air showers made of different materials and for various cleanroom applications. Our air showers are optimized for low traffic areas, high traffic areas, height restricted areas, and other operational conditions.
Dirt and other contaminants carried on the bottom of workers’ footwear can build up on floors and eventually transfer onto work surfaces, equipment, and products. Tacky Mats®, also known as cleanroom sticky mats and tack mats, clean shoe soles as people walk overtop them to prevent such particles from entering sterile or cleanroom environments.
Utilizing Tacky Mats® at the entrance of your facility or cleanroom improves the efficiency of daily operations since employees won’t need to change into disposable shoes or booties before passing into a workroom. Read on to learn about other benefits and applications of these adhesive mats.
Benefits of Tacky Mats®
In appearance, Tacky Mats® may be similar to welcome mats you might find outside any typical doorway. You should place your mat in an area with high foot traffic for best results. Tacky Mats® use peelable layers of sticky adhesive that easily remove dirt and other contaminants as they come in contact with footwear to safeguard against polluting a sterile or cleanroom environment.
By trapping particles in the adhesive as people walk over the mat, the mat’s surface minimizes potential contaminants as part of a two-step process. First, the adhesive holds dirt in place, preventing workers from tracking it into a room or facility. Then, once the sticky mat surface has collected a large amount of dirt and becomes ineffective—typically at around 50 walkthroughs—you can peel away the saturated layer to uncover a fresh one.
These mats offer economical dirt control and come in varied sizes, making them applicable in different spaces and situations. Typically, the ideal size requires workers to take at least two to three steps across the mat in order to make contact with both shoes and achieve a comprehensive clean. Given their light weight and compact size, these adhesive mats are easy to position and install on tile, vinyl or concrete surfaces.
Tacky Mats® Applications and Uses
Tacky Mats® are best suited for areas where cleanliness is important, or for locations containing sensitive materials and equipment. Some common applications include:
Cleanrooms and other sterile environments
Hospitals & Pharmacies
Factories and other industrial or manufacturing facilities for healthcare devices, aerospace components, etc.
Tacky Mats® From Liberty Industries, USA Made product
Tacky Mat® is a registered trademark to Liberty Industries Inc. Our company invented the Tacky Mat® and has been manufacturing and distributing high-performance contamination control products since 1953 for cleanrooms and other related applications. We have a wide range of USA made Tacky Mats® for industrial, manufacturing, and commercial environments. Our company designs our Tacky Mats® to ensure that products and processes stay clean and free of contamination. Liberty Industries couples top-quality products with the superior customer service that only an industry leader can provide.
Since 1953, Liberty Industries has been manufacturing and distributing high-quality cleanroom and contamination control supplies and accessories across the globe. We are your one-stop source for all your cleanroom needs, offering products designed to meet the requirements of various critical environments.
Stainless steel offers a range of properties that are specifically beneficial to cleanroom environments, making it an ideal material for various equipment. We offer stainless steel air showers, pass thrus, and laminar flow equipment that can be customized to fit your specific cleanroom needs.
Why Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel equipment and furniture are mostly preferred for cleanroom environments because they meet stringent hygienic requirements and safety standards. Stainless steel is not only robust and sturdy, but it can also withstand even the most rigorous cleaning processes. Some of the advantages of stainless steel equipment in cleanroom environments include:
Versatility. Stainless steel is versatile when it comes to design, allowing stainless steel equipment manufacturers to provide tailor-made solutions complying with various regulatory criteria.
Corrosion resistance. High-grade austenitic stainless steel, such as Grade 304, offers unmatched corrosion resistance to various chemicals, acids, and alkali.
Easy to clean. Stainless steel is easy to clean and disinfect without the risk of losing its robustness and other properties. Grade 304 steel has no pores or cracks that could house dirt, grime, or bacteria. It cleans easily with soap and water, and it can also withstand more rigorous cleaning processes without corroding.
Which Stainless Steel Grades Are Used for Cleanrooms?
Some of the grades of steel often used for cleanroom equipment include:
Grade 304 is arguably the most common type of stainless steel used for cleanroom equipment, as it offers a cost-effective option that resists oxidation and corrosion. It contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel but no molybdenum. Cleanroom furniture and equipment made from this material can withstand rigorous cleaning processes without wearing away. Grade 304 stainless steel is known to maintain structural integrity even when exposed to high temperatures of 870° C. It also holds up well when exposed to chloride content up to 200/mg/l.
Grade 316 stainless steel is the second most common type of stainless steel in cleanroom equipment. It contains 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum. Molybdenum protects against specific forms of corrosion and pitting that result from industrial solvents and cleaners. The big difference between Grade 316 and grade 304 stainless steel is that 316 stainless steel resists chloride corrosion and other harsh chemicals.
Cleaning Stainless Steel in a Cleanroom
Some of the tips for cleaning and caring for stainless steel in cleanrooms include:
Use warm water and a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge to clean normal spills and small stains.
Where necessary, use a mild soap or detergent to clean stainless steel surfaces.
Use recommended solvents such as non-sterile or sterile 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean more stubborn messes such as grease, oil, stains, and fingerprints.
Use a clean cloth over all surfaces to prevent water spots.
Stainless Steel Equipment Available from Liberty Industries
Liberty Industries provides various stainless steel cleanroom equipment designed to meet your specific needs. These include:
Pass Thrus. Our stainless steel pass thrus are constructed of 304-#4 stainless steel. They also feature stainless steel hinges and acrylic doors. Our engineers can tailor-make your product to include custom sizes, an optional interlock system, fire-rated doors, and more.
Laminar Flow Equipment. We offer stainless steel peripheral laminar flow cleanroom hoods and table top laminar flow fume hoods to protect against harmful fumes and contamination.
Air showers. Our air showers are constructed from 304 #4 – 16 gauge stainless steel and come with heavy-duty anodized aluminum doors featuring 3/16″ safety glass. The doors are equipped with magnetic interlocks, and you can choose either left or right door swings.
Stainless Steel Cleanroom Equipment from Liberty Industries
Stainless steel is a very popular material option for various cleanroom equipment due to its many desirable properties and ability to withstand rigorous cleaning processes. At Liberty Industries, we offer durable stainless steel air showers, pass thrus, and laminar flow equipment that can be tailor-made for your specific cleanroom application. To learn more about our stainless steel cleanroom equipment, contact us today. You can also view our full catalog for more information about our other products.
As one of the leading contamination control experts, Liberty Industries has been known for providing high quality cleanroom and contamination control supplies to companies across the globe since 1953. We offer a large selection of products for many industries, including manufacturing facilities, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare companies.
John J, Nappi, Sr, founder of Liberty Industries, invented the shoe brush cleaner in the late 1960’s. It continues to be one of our most popular products since it can be used outside of cleanrooms as well as industrial applications. We were able to streamline the production process because we only source parts from US manufacturers instead of offshore suppliers. We proudly manufacture the shoe brush cleaner in the United States inside our state-of-the-art Connecticut facility.
Shoe Brush Cleaners for Your Cleanrooms & Controlled Environments
Labs, cleanrooms, and similar facilities require a clean environment that is free from contaminants. They are designed to maintain extremely low levels of particulates, including dust and airborne particles. Cleanrooms also usually have a level of cleanliness based on the number of particles per cubic meter at a predetermined molecule measure.
Facilities must follow certain protocols and buy multiple products to ensure that a specific room is clean enough. A motorized shoe cleaner for cleanrooms is an excellent investment, because it can remove dirt, dust, and other foreign substances from the soles of a worker’s shoes so that potentially dangerous contaminants can’t enter a cleanroom or laboratory environment. The innovative machine can also be placed either inside the gowning room or just outside of the cleanroom entrance. Many companies prefer shoe brush cleaners because they can efficiently clean the bottoms, sides, and tops of a person’s shoes.
Liberty Industries offers three primary models of shoe brush cleaners:
Shoe Brush 2010SC
The Shoe Brush 2010SC model, which includes an optional Tacky Mat®, is a fully self-contained system that uses a timing belt between the gear motor and bottom brush assembly. The unit includes a HEPA filter exhaust system that allows it to operate at a 99.99% efficiency rate and is best used prior to entering a cleanroom area. It features an enclosed fan-cooled gear motor and a floating, weight-loaded top brush with a round belt drive and four motor-driven brushes. Workers are notified whenever the HEPA filters are dirty and the easily accessible contamination bag, pull-out dust drawers and filters make them easy to empty or replace.
Shoe Brush 2001 – TB
The Shoe Brush 2001-TB model has four motor-driven brushes that allow it to clean both the sides, top, and bottom of a worker’s shoes. The 132-pound item, which can be used in a variety of settings both on and off-site, uses a transmission drive and an enclosed, fan-cooled motor.
Shoe Brush 351 Bull Dog
The Shoe Brush 351 Bull Dog is a heavy duty machine that can quickly and efficiently clean mud, leaves, sand, and other debris that may stick to the bottom of someone’s shoes after they have walked around outside. Visitors and anyone else can use this machine when they come in and before they enter the facility’s office area.
Follow the Proper Maintenance Protocols
The Cleanroom Classification system is based on the number and size of contaminants within a room or space. The cleanrooms are ranked according to their level of sanitation as determined by the International Standards Organization (ISO), with Class 1 being the most sanitary, to Class 9, which is the least. The ISO standards have strict allowances for particles between 1μm and 5μm. The standards for a cleanroom will vary depending on the industry.
Facilities can reduce contamination and better maintain a controlled environment by maintaining strict hygiene measures, using protective equipment, using cleanroom supplies and ensuring that workers cautiously enter and exit the area. For this reason, products like a high quality shoe brush machine are important, because they can help reduce the risk of contaminants entering the work area.
Order High Quality Shoe Brush Machines From Liberty Industries!
Shoe brush cleaners are a smart investment for facilities in various industries. As one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of top quality cleanroom and contamination control supplies and accessories, Liberty Industries can be your main source for all your cleanroom needs. Feel free to view our product catalog, download our free eBook, and contact us for additional information about our high quality shoe brush machines.
Companies spend tens of thousands of dollars designing and building the cleanroom but you can’t stop there. After the cleanrooms is completed it must be maintained properly.
Cleanroom personnel must be made aware of the critical nature of keeping the cleanroom clean. It is essential that personnel are trained in proper cleaning and maintenance procedures that are a must for any cleanroom. Personnel must also follow proper gowning techniques and maintenance procedures for their cleanroom. Liberty Industries offers a Maintenance Protocal brochure that features key points that can assist in maintaining the cleanroom clean, personnel gowning tips and techniques for cleanrooms.
Every cleanroom needs to have proper protocols in place for their specific needs and industry guidelines. General cleaning and personnel awareness is a must to keep the cleanroom running properly.
Although the revised ISO cleanroom standards have been in place for quite some time – well over 10 years, in fact – there remains the potential for confusion over terminology and nomenclature. In addition, it’s also important to keep in mind that, as with any specification or measurement, there are limitations with these standards.
As a quick refresher, what exactly are the ISO standards and what do they mean? ISO 14644-1 classification of air cleanliness and ISO 14644-2 deal with particle size and particle count, establishing a cleanroom rating of ISO 1-9 based on those factors. As you know, cleanroom users and engineers will typically refer to a room as an “ISO 4,” “ISO 5,” and so on. While lower numbered ISO specs require the full complement of coveralls, shoe covers, and similar garments, higher numbered rooms like an ISO 9 can be entered in garments like a frock covering everyday clothes.
On to the more important point: what are the limitations of these cleanroom measurements? They require less information about the cleanroom than Federal Standard 209 did, and allow for fewer tester locations for cleanliness. The ISO standards establish 0.1 micron as the standard particle diameter, create three new cleanliness classes, and aren’t as concerned with airflow velocity, room pressure, room temperature, and the distance from the floor or the filter face when taking an air sample for a particle count. This variability can lead to fluctuations in particulate levels and thus, in ISO classifications.
Because of these limitations, it’s important to be aware of at what state testing was done: at rest, as built, or in operation, and to keep all factors in mind. When you work with Liberty for your cleanroom needs, you can be sure you’re dealing with experts who know exactly what makes for the best possible cleanroom. You can trust that we are aware of everything that’s crucial to the process, and know your cleanroom will be the best possible.
Anyone who uses a cleanroom knows that the process doesn’t end there. Items built in a contaminant-controlled environment need to be shipped and kept in a contaminant-controlled environment. Clean film packaging provides the answer to this problem, applying the same standards of cleanliness to the packaging as to the end product. Clean film packaging can either be purchased to meet certain requirements, or, with the proper expertise, existing film can be cleaned within a cleanroom. Standards to be met take into account airborne particles, humidity, and temperature control, among others. With the right procedures, clean film packaging can also be a very sustainable, “green” way of packaging cleanroom products. Read on for more.
As you might have guessed, there’s no standard film that can satisfy all requirements. What are the steps in choosing and using the proper clean film packaging? Liberty Industries can help you:
Material Selection: Strength, thickness, and static properties are characteristics to consider, as are more intricate aspects like gas and vapor barrier, film density, and sloughing (shedding plastic particles). Common materials are UCF-POLY, Nylon 6, and ACLAR.
Proper Handling: It’s important to be aware of the clothing beneath your cleanroom garments, and the limitations of the garments – and of antistatic agents for the film. The safest method is just to keep clean film packaging as far away as possible from your person. When trimming or opening the packaging, stainless steel scissors should be used, pushing through the material (rather than chopping) for the cleanest cut possible.
Testing: Ensure that thorough and proper testing is carried out to be confident that the packaging can keep the internal environment free of forbidden particulate matter.
Stay “Green:” As we mentioned above, clean film packaging can be cleaned and reused several times, provided the right facilities and cleaning equipment are available, such as cleaning fluid, electrostatic eliminators, and final processing machinery. In addition, proper recycling procedures should be followed with the plastics once they are discarded, further ensuring that sustainability protocols and goals are met.
For a full and detailed testing procedure, and more information on clean film packaging, be sure to visit this page.
The garments worn in a cleanroom environment are as important as the cleanroom itself. Liberty Industries is here to answer all of your cleanroom garment questions.
How are cleanroom garments designed?
Important factors when designing these garments are: loose fitting; a minimum of seams; no pockets, belts, pleated or tucked areas; tight fabric weave; strongest possible fabric filaments; fabric that reduces static electricity and remains non-linting; sewing threads of monofilament materials; they must cover as much of the body as possible, particularly the neck.
Are cleanroom garments “green?”
When washable, reuseable garments are chosen, they absolutely are. Nylon garments can be reused many times, even for the most stringent cleanroom environments, provided the requisite cleaning facilities and protocols are used. Choosing wash-friendly, durable, high-quality garments will ensure that your organization meets is sustainability and stewardship goals, even for the most exacting cleanroom requirements.
How are cleanroom garments laundered?
There are industrial laundries that are skilled at the cleaning of these garments. As per industry standards, they are required to remove lint and particles in addition to cleaning the garments, and they must be completely free from contamination. Please note: it is not suitable to use everyday detergents for cleanroom garments. They must be brought to specialty cleanroom garment launderers.
What types of garments should be worn in a cleanroom?
Fabrics made with synthetic fibers are preferable. Nylon is a good choice wherever acid and static are not a major factor, as it is crisp, durable, washable, and stain-resistant. Dacron, a polyester fiber, is a bit softer than nylon and drapes more smoothly. It retains whiteness and shape, and is highly wrinkle-resistant. When a high acid resistance is necessary, Dacron is preferable because it melts rather than flames when exposed to fire. When synthetic materials are needed for a cleanroom, a blend of continuous filament yarns, such as dacron and rayon weave, are a good choice.
Cleanrooms are great at maintaining a contaminant-controlled environment, with expertly engineered filtration systems, humidity and temperature controllers, and construction to ensure a totally contamination free workspace. Filters in the cleanroom can only do so much, though, and the job of keeping a cleanroom clean really starts well before anyone sets foot in it. The main purpose of filtration in a cleanroom is to keep microscopic airborne particles from entering the space – they’re not designed to eliminate the everyday dirt, dust, and other particles that accumulate on people and objects who are entering the cleanroom. That’s where the air shower enters the picture.
Depending on the application required in the cleanroom, the air shower can be an integral part of the cleanroom setup. Basically, it does the heavy lifting of cleaning that everyday particulate matter off of a person who is properly attired for cleanroom entry, or object, prior to entering the cleanroom space. A system of high pressure air nozzles spray clean air at high pressure on the entrant, literally scrubbing the entrant of forbidden contaminants. Filters trap the dirty air and keep it out, allowing the user to move into the cleanroom as contaminant-free as possible. That initial step of entering an air shower to remove particles from the people or objects entering the cleanroom, allows the cleanroom filters themselves to work at as high an efficiency as possible, ensuring that the cleanliness level of the cleanroom and the project within it are maintained.
We feature a full line of air showers here at Liberty Industries, and we can also build to your custom requirements. Contact us for more information! To see an air shower in operation, watch this video.