There are certain cleanroom services that labs in healthcare, research and biotechnology will inevitably need. For example: repairs, testing, and certification are some of the most essential procedures. Of course, for many lab managers, these services and their benefits are fairly routine. But, what exactly is a cleanroom?
At SEPS, cleanrooms are one of our primary areas of expertise. For over eighteen years, we’ve mastered each facet of cleanroom repair and maintenance. In addition, we specialize in biosafety cabinet certification, laminar flow hoods and far more. We deliver these services and assist labs all over the Long Island/Tri-State area. Ultimately, we maintain a firm commitment to providing high-quality services within the controlled environment field. In this post, we’ll explore cleanroom fundamentals and explain what they are. Also, we’ll explore where and why they’re necessary and their history.
Originally published on September 6, 2019, this post has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.
The Cleanroom, In a Nutshell
Mostly, scientific and manufacturing industries use cleanrooms. Basically, a cleanroom is an environment which limits pollutants like dust, aerosol particles or airborne organisms. Using laminar airflow, fan/filter units and other devices, cleanrooms eliminate common allergens and other contaminants.
Labs in which these small, airborne particles can damage the research or samples use cleanrooms. Additionally, they vary in size. Some are on the smaller side, no larger than one individual room. Conversely, others are (sometimes) thousands of square feet wide. In fact, several facilities have entire floors that are cleanrooms.
What’s Inside a Clean Room?
Each cleanroom’s contents vary depending on the work and the level of traffic within. Naturally, different industries require different features and devices. In order to enter a cleanroom, the staff must enter through airlocks. Sometimes, they have to step through an air shower prior to entering. An air shower is a pressurized chamber stationed at the entrances of cleanrooms.
After dressing in PPE (personal protective equipment), the staff enters the air shower. Using high-pressure air, the air shower removes contaminants like dust or aerosol particles. Also, some cleanrooms have air showers in between separate sections of the same clean room.
The equipment inside varies depending on the industry. However, the equipment within each cleanroom is engineered for minimal contaminant output. Basically, this means the equipment generates little to no airborne particles. Similarly, the furniture produces very little airborne debris. Often, facilities prohibit materials that create contaminants like fabrics, pencils, and paper. Anything made from natural materials will likely produce airborne particles best left out of the cleanroom.
Cleanroom staff must complete rigorous training before they can enter. Any personnel must learn the correct protocol regarding contamination control theory. The uniforms prevents particles from the body contaminating the room. Like many lab essentials, cleanrooms should receive regular certification.
The History of Cleanrooms
Willis Whitfield, a notable physicist, invented the cleanroom as we know it today. Whitfield was an employee of Sandia National Laboratories in 1960. Sandia Labs was a nuclear research facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and this is where he first conceived the cleanroom.
Before Whitfield’s cleanroom, earlier prototypes ran into frequent issues with uncontrollable airflows. Of course, these brought pollutants and contaminants into the room. Whitfield’s vision included constantly ventilated/filtered, uniform airflow to remove impurities from the lab. Within a few years of Whitfield’s original plans, his more cost-efficient cleanroom generated $50 billion in global revenue.
Cleanroom Testing & Certification
At SEPS, we offer unbeatable cleanroom services. And that includes testing, decontamination and certification. Of course, there are ways to clean and sterilize your cleanroom yourself. However, you should always view these as temporary solutions. In order to maintain high standards, you should always find a professional decontamination service.
Our technicians follow strict IEST (Institute of Environmental Services and Technology) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) guidelines. They perform a diverse range of techniques in each of our cleanroom repair and testing methods.
Cleanrooms are a critical part of research and manufacturing for a variety of industries. At SEPS, we even offer cleanroom test reports for you on the spot. SEPS can provide analysis and guidance on your facility. This applies to health care, research, manufacturing and more.
Our accreditations and affiliations are a testament to our commitment to quality. In addition to numerous other lab staples, we can help you maintain optimal standards and long-term efficiency in your cleanroom.