Cleanroom Design Tips: Choosing Cleanroom Flooring

Cleanroom Design Tips: Choosing Cleanroom Flooring

When designing the perfect cleanroom, every element has to fit together. Working from head to toe, each component has a part to play in keeping your cleanroom running efficiently. When it comes to flooring, you’ll need to pick the type that best fits the work you’re doing, the materials you’re using, and adds to the cleanliness of your space. 

Before choosing your cleanroom flooring material, consider what requirements your cleanroom has to meet and the type of traffic and wear it receives. Maybe you need a material that can handle harsh chemicals for cleaning or manufacturing processes. Or perhaps your industry deals with electronics whose main enemy is static electricity, and you need flooring that will dissipate static and protect your work. 

There are several common flooring materials for cleanroom design, each with advantages and qualities that make them more qualified for certain applications over others. Here are some of the most common flooring types for cleanrooms:

 

Cleanroom Flooring Types:

 

Rubber Flooring

 

Rubber flooring is installed in sheets and then cold welded into place. It can stand up to heavy wear, making it one of the most durable choices of cleanroom flooring. Rubber sheet flooring is also anti-static and easy to maintain. It’s a low-cost option that is available in many colors that can match any cleanroom design. Rubber flooring is the favorite of many cleanroom designers because it is easy to install and can meet a large variety of operational requirements.

 

Vinyl Seamless Flooring

Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest to clean because of its seamless construction. It can also be used to cover walls in a smooth transition, meaning fewer crevices for contaminants to build up. Vinyl flooring is a very economical option for low-traffic cleanrooms that don’t have to meet high weight requirements. Consistent traffic will wear out vinyl flooring quickly.

 

Epoxy Coating

Epoxy is a coating that is installed over a solid concrete substrate, preferably one that has no cracks and is structurally solid. Epoxy will fill in small imperfections on the floor’s surface, so some leveling is required. Epoxy’s advantage is its dense coating which has a low porosity, making it strong and durable under heavy traffic as well as easy to clean and maintain. It can be applied in a variety of color and performance options that can stand up to corrosive chemicals and dissipate static.

 

Urethane System

Polyurethane flooring exhibits a glossy or satin finish that is maintained even under heavy traffic and use. It is highly resistant to harsh chemicals and substances like gasoline, fuels, hydrocarbons, acids, and alcohols, making it an excellent cleanroom design choice for manufacturing cleanrooms. It also has light-reflecting properties that aid in illumination and can have applications that prevent skids.

 

Others:

Another cleanroom flooring type is Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT). VCT has many seams that require consistent maintenance but is a cost-effective option that complements applications in electronics because of the electrostatic dissipative feature.

Raised flooring panels can be used to improve airflow within a cleanroom. They also increase conductivity and may be static dissipative. Raised panels can be solid panels, grated or perforated.

Depending on the unique specifications of your facility, some flooring types will be better able to accommodate your needs than others. If you’re planning the design for your new cleanroom and are still unsure which flooring type to go with, let the experts at Angstrom Technology help. Our design experts can help you make the tough choices, and ensure you get the cleanroom that’s perfect for your application.

Designing a Cleanroom on a Budget

Designing a Cleanroom on a Budget

Designing a cleanroom is already a challenge. Add onto that the challenge of limited funds, and your cleanroom design project may seem almost impossible. But even with budget constraints or limitations, you can still design an efficient and effective cleanroom for your application. Here’s everything you need to know about designing a cleanroom on a budget:

 

How to Determine Your Cleanroom Design Budget

Before you can even begin designing, you need to determine your cleanroom design budget. This blog post breaks down how to do that and what factors you need to consider when making that budget, including cleanroom classification, construction type, and more.

 

Hidden Cost Benefits to Modular Construction

Anyone who’s pinching pennies on their cleanroom design should look into the possibility of a modular cleanroom. This post outlines the cost benefits to modular construction, from lower sticker price to tax benefits from quicker depreciation, that you may not have considered when writing your initial cleanroom design budget.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Cleanroom Design

This post has all the information you’ll need to begin your cleanroom design project, from understanding ISO classifications to that all-important consideration: budget.

 

Cutting Cleanroom Costs

A tight budget doesn’t just affect your cleanroom design project, it can affect the day-to-day operations of your cleanroom as well. And with expensive, state-of-the-art equipment, constant purification and filtration of the air, temperature and humidity controls, and necessary personal protective equipment and cleanroom apparel, operating a cleanroom isn’t cheap. This post outlines a few of the ways you can reduce cleanroom costs during the operation and design phases.

 

How Does Cleanroom Classification Affect Your Cleanroom Budget?

Your required cleanroom classification has a huge effect on the budget for your cleanroom, both in terms of design and operation of the cleanroom. For many reasons, the more stringent your classification, the more you’ll need to allocate to your cleanroom budget. This post outlines why that is and what it means for your cleanroom and budget.

 

Designing a cleanroom on a tight budget? A modular cleanroom may be the right solution! Contact Angstrom Technology to discuss how our cleanroom offerings can work for you.

Considerations for Open Cleanroom Design

Considerations for Open Cleanroom Design

Open concept offices are the new thing in corporate design, and the idea of the open workspace is expanding into cleanrooms and laboratories as well. There are many benefits to open concept workspaces, like increased transparency and cooperation, but also some downsides, like the noise level. Besides these factors, there are additional considerations for open cleanroom design, due to the nature of the processes and requirements of cleanrooms. If you’re interested in open cleanroom design, here’s what you should consider.

 

Benefits of Open Cleanroom Design

 

Transparency and Collaboration

In an open laboratory workspace, everyone can see what everyone else is doing. This can mean that chemists and product engineers are working together in the same space. These different groups can interact with each other in an open setting, offering each other ideas and solutions based on their unique insight and expertise. You’ll also get transparency across teams, so that everyone is aware of what’s going on and what other teams are working on or exploring.

Flexibility

An open floor plan allows for the layout of your cleanroom to change as your organization’s needs and applications change. New equipment can be added to accommodate a new process, additional workspaces can be added for new staff, and furniture and equipment can be rearranged to best serve the needs of the cleanroom at the time.

Cost Savings

Open concept cleanrooms can save money in three major ways: they can save space in your facilities, freeing it up for other needs; they allow teams to share equipment, resources, and support staff because they are co-located; and have lower construction costs than creating smaller, application-specific cleanroom spaces.

 

Disadvantages of Open Cleanroom Design

 

Ventilation and Filtration Challenges

With the larger space that open cleanrooms present, getting ventilation and filtration right so that the space is adequately ventilated and meets particulate contamination standards can be difficult. 

Loud Equipment

Noisy equipment can create a lot of noise pollution in an open cleanroom, and that noise may be disruptive to sensitive processes as well as disruptive to personnel.

Sensitive Work and Processes

Some processes and tasks are extremely sensitive or are at great risk for factors like cross-contamination. These processes need dedicated space, and likely have more stringent cleanroom standards and procedures that other cleanroom applications.

 

Solutions for Open Cleanroom Design

One way to solve some of the challenges of an open cleanroom is modular design. The flexibility of modular cleanrooms allow for changes to the layout of the space as needed. For applications that need dedicated space because of the delicate nature of the processes, a modular design allows you to create that necessary space within the open cleanroom. Soundproof modular rooms for noisy equipment can solve the noise issue in the otherwise open space.

 

Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom to meet all your requirements and design considerations. Speak with one of our design engineers to get started.

How to Control Static in Your Cleanroom

How to Control Static in Your Cleanroom

Many applications require limited static:  electronics manufacturing, air traffic control, chemical labs, and semiconductor are just a few examples. If your cleanroom application involves sensitive, specialized electronics, hazardous chemicals, or other delicate equipment or processes that may be sensitive to static, you’re going to want to ensure that your cleanroom environment controls static. Here are things to consider when designing your cleanroom when you want to control static.

 

Anti-static flooring

There are several flooring options for static control. They work by grounding the static charge that naturally builds up in any environment, moving it through the floor to the ground and preventing it from building up and affecting your processes.

There are two main types of anti-static flooring, dissipative and conductive, and these are both available at varying levels of resistance (measured in ohms). The resistance and type of anti-static flooring you need will depend on the risk of electrostatic discharge as well how critical the effects of electrostatic discharge would be for your application.

 

Anti-static wall panels

Anti-static wall panels are also available for controlling static within a cleanroom. Cleanroom-specific anti-static wall materials are crucial, as cleanroom wall materials will also control particle shedding, preventing particulate contamination in the cleanroom environment. Additionally, wall panels with picking bins or storage for ESD components can protect static-sensitive items.

 

Clothing and gowning procedures 

In addition to the gowning procedures already in place for your cleanroom, if your aim is to control static, you may want to implement new clothing and gowning protocols. These may include anti-static garments or ESD cuffs, low-static shoes, or even equipment such as an air shower before entry to the cleanroom environment.

Even if anti-static garments aren’t necessary, you may want to prohibit wearing static-prone and high-static clothing articles, like those made of fleece and similar fabrics, in the cleanroom environment, or require basic gowning in a lab coat.

 

No matter the environmental factors you need to control, Angstrom Technology can design and install a cleanroom that works for your application.

 

Do You Need A Soundproof Cleanroom?

Do You Need A Soundproof Cleanroom?

A cleanroom can be designed to meet the needs of almost any application with any requirements, from controlling static and humidity to even controlling sound. You probably know whether your application requires control for things like humidity and static, but what about sound. Do you need a soundproof cleanroom? Here are some conditions where you might.

Loud Manufacturing Environments

If your facility is a manufacturing environment that requires protective hearing equipment like earplugs ear, soundproofing your cleanroom is a good idea, especially if hearing protection isn’t necessary for your cleanroom processes. Hearing protection might even hinder those processes, as foam from earplugs and earmuffs can hold and shed particles.

If your cleanroom contains the loud equipment and the rest of your processes outside the cleanroom don’t require hearing protection, it can be worthwhile to soundproof your cleanroom so that hearing protection is only required inside. This can greatly reduce hearing-related injuries to your personnel and reduce the cost of hearing protection for your company.

Loud Equipment Containment

If you have a piece of equipment or pieces of equipment that are particularly loud, rather than creating a soundproof cleanroom, a more efficient solution might be creating a soundproof containment room for that equipment. A modular soundproof room can be created around a loud piece of equipment. The benefit to this is reduced noise and need for ear protection in your facility. Additionally, modular containment rooms can be freestanding or can incorporate your existing structure, so no matter where a piece of equipment is housed, it can be soundproofed.

Sensitive Processes

If your cleanroom operation is a particularly sensitive process, a soundproof cleanroom may also be beneficial. Sound is vibration, and delicate operations may be affected by loud noises and strong vibrations, which a soundproof cleanroom can reduce.

Proprietary Information

If your cleanroom operations are top secret or deal with proprietary information which should not leave the walls of the cleanroom, a soundproof cleanroom can also prevent the unplanned and unwanted spread of information by containing sound within the cleanroom.

 

Angstrom Technology’s modular cleanrooms and in-plantinplant buildings can be customized to control sound, if your application requires. Get in touch with one of our design engineers to discuss your project.

 

Cleanroom Terminology: Pass-Through Chambers

Cleanroom Terminology: Pass-Through Chambers

When designing a new cleanroom or planning an upgrade of an existing cleanroom, it can be easy to get bogged down in the terminology. One such piece of cleanroom terminology is pass-through chamber. Here we explain what a pass-through chamber is and its important features and benefits for cleanroom design.

What is a pass-through chamber?

A cleanroom pass-through chamber has a seemingly self-evident name: it’s a chamber through which you can pass materials. More specifically, it is a chamber that allows you to pass materials into and out of your cleanroom without your employees having to exit and enter the cleanroom and gown. Pass-throughs allow materials to enter the cleanroom while reducing the contamination entering the cleanroom. 

Pass-through chambers come in many different sizes and can incorporate many different materials, depending on the needs of your cleanroom. Heavy duty sealing locks prevent contamination from passing through the pass-through chamber when it isn’t being used, and double door designs can prevent cross-contamination issues. There are also stainless steel corrosion-resistant designs, fire safe designs, and chemical resistant chamber designs, along with designs that can incorporate HEPA-filtered air blowers. 

What are the benefits of pass-through chambers?

Pass-through chambers, since they allow materials to enter and leave the cleanroom without requiring employees to gown up and enter and exit the cleanroom, have obvious benefits for maintaining a high level of contamination control in the cleanroom environment. Additionally, pass-through chambers increase productivity because they allow employees to work more efficiently—no need to go through the time-consuming gowning and air-showering process every time an item is needed in the cleanroom. 

A pass-through chamber also reduces the number of employees who need to be in the cleanroom environment, cutting down on the potential for contaminants entering the controlled environment. It also means that you’ll need less costly gowns and other PPE on hand. 

What kinds of cleanrooms need pass-through chambers?

Any cleanroom that requires the transfer of materials into and out of the cleanroom on a regular or frequent basis could benefit from a pass-through chamber in their cleanroom design. Pass-through chambers are a feature that can be easily integrated into a new cleanroom design or installed into an existing cleanroom. Research facilities dealing with new and volatile substances, medical cleanrooms dealing with dangerous and contagious substances, pharmaceutical cleanrooms requiring a high level of sterility, and electronic and technology cleanrooms often incorporate pass-throughs in their cleanroom designs to manage contamination and keep productivity high. 

Whether you need pass thru chambers, air showers, or any other specialized cleanroom features, Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom that incorporates those features.