How Much Cleanroom Furniture Do I Need?

How Much Cleanroom Furniture Do I Need?

From the layout of your cleanroom to the procedures you follow to keep it clean, every part of your cleanroom’s design is crucial to its function. This also includes the materials and furniture inside its walls that help you create or test your products. 

Furniture inside a cleanroom serves many purposes. It not only provides spaces for you to develop your work or to support the equipment you use, it also provides comfort and support to your employees and controls excess movement that could be detrimental to your processes.


Too Much or Not Enough Cleanroom Furniture?

Generally, the fewer things in your cleanroom the better. Any furniture you use should be streamlined to maximize space and to allow for easy movement of people and air. That being said, you should have enough furniture to ensure your workers are comfortable and they have everything they need in the space to work effectively. Constant exiting and reentering of the cleanroom poses a higher risk of contamination than keeping a clean environment with all of the necessary materials already within the room.


Planning Your Cleanroom Furniture

When selecting cleanroom furniture, you’ll need to think about how many people you have working in the cleanroom at any given time who need tables to work at and places to sit. You’ll also need to keep in mind the ways your workers will interact with the furniture, pre-planning paths to doors, cabinets and counters. Every good cleanroom design will include a workflow around your furniture that is obvious and efficient.

The cleanroom furniture itself must comply with the needs of your work. It has to meet standards determined by your class type, be sturdy enough to hold any machinery or equipment you need and be able to withstand the chemicals you work with or use for cleaning.

The furniture you include might be specific to your application, but many types of furniture are needed by most cleanrooms: pieces like tables and chairs, countertops and cabinetry, shelves or other types of storage.


Surfaces and Work Areas

Almost every cleanroom will require a table or work surface for employees to use for note-taking, performing detailed work or to support equipment. Tables can either be fixed or moveable with casters. Depending on your cleanroom’s design, countertops may be the best work area because they double as storage, but they must be built into the cleanroom itself. Some cleanroom-specific furniture can be designed to be put away when not in use, which frees up a lot of open space in the room.


Chairs or Stools

When deciding on seating for your cleanroom, you’ll need to consider space as well as function. Stools take up less room, but chairs might provide more support and comfort to your workers if they have to remain at their stations for extended periods. Cleanroom seating should be ergonomic for workers as well as your space. Selecting adaptable furniture is a great choice because you can adjust settings to have the piece work for different employees or serve multiple purposes within your cleanroom. Multi-purpose furniture also cuts down on the amount of furniture you need to get the job done.


Storage Systems

Proper storage in a cleanroom is essential. Your cleanroom’s storage needs may differ if you must have special containers for cleaning supplies or hazardous materials. Having ample and accessible storage in place will help your cleanroom function effectively. Additionally, places to store materials and extra cleanroom furniture you don’t use all the time can help to keep your space clear of obstacles, which further maximizes the efficiency of your space.

Cabinets and shelves are great storage options that are easy to install and keep materials off the floor. They capitalize on vertical space and can help you keep your work areas clutter and contaminant-free.


Your Cleanroom Furniture Should Work For You

Knowing all of the pieces that need to come together within the cleanroom will affect the choices you make during its design. Your cleanroom furniture should enable your workers to be comfortable without getting in the way of important processes. Don’t forget to factor in furniture that supports your equipment such as fume hoods, gowning racks or HVAC vents. You should try to have a general idea of what furniture you’ll need prior to construction. Or, if you’re updating your current furniture, look at the space you’re using to determine how much and what kind of furniture works best.

Is it time to furnish your cleanroom, but you’re not sure where to start? As a cleanroom design, service, and installation company, we can help you choose the furniture that’s right for your classification and your budget. Reach out to Angstrom Technology to get started.

Anti-Static Cleanrooms: What’s the Deal?

Anti-Static Cleanrooms: What’s the Deal?

There’s a cleanroom type for every application. Many industries have specific requirements in order to perform their work successfully and without any contaminating — or dangerous — interruptions. Anti-static cleanrooms are an important type of cleanroom for industries where a stray spark or electric current could prove disastrous to projects. Let’s take a closer look at what an anti-static cleanroom is and how it serves special applications.


What is an anti-static cleanroom?

An anti-static cleanroom is a type of cleanroom in which every part is designed to minimize or eradicate static electricity — from flooring panels and anti-static wall material to gowning garments and procedures. Anti-static cleanrooms are especially useful in applications that involve electronics or electrically-sensitive substances. Errant electricity can interfere with experiment results or alter the readouts of important machinery, compromising the scientific process. By controlling the effects of static, you can avoid being electrically charged, and stick to just being in charge.


What makes a cleanroom anti-static?

It takes careful planning to make a cleanroom anti-static. Anti-static cleanrooms use electro-static dissipative finishes and equipment whenever possible. Their components include anti-static flooring, wall panels, and furniture as well as specific garments that dispel or minimize the buildup of electricity. 


Anti-Static Flooring

Static electricity builds naturally in most environments, but it is especially dangerous in certain cleanroom applications. Anti-static flooring minimizes electricity by grounding or dissipating any buildup of charges. Anti-static cleanrooms use either static-dissipative flooring or conductive flooring. 

Static-Dissipative Flooring

Static-dissipative flooring uses rubber or vinyl sheets that disperse electricity. This type of flooring is common in cleanrooms for electronics and manufacturing. Since it can allow more charge to build up before releasing, static-dissipative flooring is not recommended for extremely sensitive cleanroom applications, particularly those that involve flammable liquids or sensitive electrical parts.

Conductive Flooring

Conductive flooring uses a copper strip which is connected to a grounded outlet. It allows less charge to build up before grounding, which is more effective in applications where even minimal charges could be hazardous.


Anti-Static Wall Panels

A variety of wall panels are compliant with anti-static requirements. Aluminum rigid wall panels make a great anti-static option that is lightweight, noncombustible and non-particle-shedding. They are made with a “honeycomb” core which helps control static buildup. Modular stainless steel panels can also be anti-static and have conductive properties which are useful for cleanrooms with sensitive materials.

For a softwall option, flexible vinyl sheeting can be treated to be anti-static. It is an excellent choice for compact or temporary cleanrooms that require efficient static-dissipative applications.


Anti-Static Furniture

Even the furniture in an anti-static cleanroom must be static-dissipative. Special non-conductive mats can be used on top of anti-static flooring for problem areas, adding an extra layer of protection for employees. Chairs, tables, and other surfaces must also be made with materials that are non-conductive or static-dissipative. 

Depending on the specific equipment your cleanroom holds, your tools should also be chosen with the intention of minimizing static. Some machines may need modifications that allow grounding of static electricity or be reconfigured within your cleanroom to promote dissipation. 


Anti-Static Clothing 

Garments worn within an anti-static cleanroom are selected specifically for this use. Static-dissipative clothing is made from electro-static discharge (ESD) fabric. Depending on your cleanroom’s use, you may need to outfit your employees completely to protect them from electric shock. ESD fabric and materials can be used to make many types of clothing, including gowns, coveralls, shoes, hoods, sleeves and gloves.


Air Ionization

Anti-static cleanrooms also make use of air ionization to remove particles that might attach and contaminate cleanrooms. Ionization neutralizes static electricity in the air, which is useful for removing particles and contaminants that could attach during gowning, for example. Ionization systems are more effective than air showers because they counteract static, making particles easier to remove, unlike air showers which are unable to remove particles that are too strongly attracted.

Ionization systems are also very effective at reducing particle counts when installed in gowning areas. They are only effective on non-conductive materials, so it’s recommended to combine them with additional static control methods.


Why do I need an anti-static cleanroom?

In cleanrooms where static poses a high risk, static-dissipative finishes, equipment, and procedures are essential to protect products and employees. In some settings, sparks from static electricity buildup could cause significant damage, from small fires to explosions of flammable chemicals. It’s better to prepare a safe environment with an anti-static cleanroom and minimize the dangerous accumulation of electricity than wait until an accident happens.

Interested in an anti-static cleanroom? Let us know. We’re here to help design the cleanroom that’s best suited to your application.