Plastic Industry Cleanroom Design Tips: How to Choose Cleanroom Tables

Plastic Industry Cleanroom Design Tips: How to Choose Cleanroom Tables

When it comes to choosing the right cleanroom furniture for your plastics industry application, you have many options. Cleanroom tables come in a large selection of shapes, sizes, and materials, but not every table is a good fit for your cleanroom. Understanding the difference between common types of cleanroom tables could help you find the best option for your plastics industry cleanroom.

Cleanroom Tables, Workbenches, and Workstations

Cleanroom tables are just one type of surface you can use in your cleanroom. Other similar cleanroom furniture includes workbenches and workstations. What’s the difference? Tables, workbenches, and workstations are often used interchangeably, and the furniture itself could be used to serve a variety of purposes within your cleanroom design, but they do have small differences which could make one a better choice for you.

Workbenches are typically made to withstand a greater weight capacity. Built with sturdy, powder-coated steel frames, these surfaces are great for applications involving manual labor, such as in manufacturing and assembly.

Cleanroom tables are often used for lighter purposes, though not always. Cleanroom tables are versatile pieces of furniture, and can be used to hold equipment, serve as a desk, or a work space for conducting detailed tasks.

Workstations are typically for focused work, assembly of small parts, or as standing desks. They can also be used to support equipment like microscopes or vision systems for quality control. Workstations often have adjustable height options, so the user can decide what’s most comfortable for them.

Types of Cleanroom Tables

Cleanroom tables are made of sturdy materials that won’t shed particles or contribute to contamination of the controlled environment. The most common types of cleanroom tables are laminated, stainless steel and perforated.

Laminated Cleanroom Tables

Laminated cleanroom tables are coated with an epoxy resin or polypropylene to create a non porous, chemical-resistant surface that’s easy to clean and sterilize. These cleanroom tables are great for cleanrooms in ISO Class 5 or greater. Many laminate tables can be made conductive or electrostatic dissipative if the application demands anti-static properties.

Stainless Steel Cleanroom Tables

Stainless steel tables are a popular choice for cleanroom tables because they are easy to clean and sterilize, and are corrosion-resistant and non particle-shedding. These tables will work with any cleanroom classification standard, even the stringent requirements of ISO Class 3.

Perforated Cleanroom Tables

Perforated cleanroom tables are typically made of stainless steel, and offer all the same benefits, but have the added advantage of laser-cut holes across the table’s surface. This allows air to pass through the table without interrupting the cleanroom’s laminar flow or creating turbulence. Perforated cleanroom tables have powder-coated steel bases for great load bearing capacity.

Choosing the Right Cleanroom Table

To choose the best cleanroom tables for your application, you should also consider how you’ll use the furniture, and any other features that would make your work easier. These might include:

  • Size: Consider how you’ll use your cleanroom tables: for working on larger tasks, or small, focused work. Keep in mind that larger tables also take up more space in your cleanroom.
  • Height: Cleanroom tables with an adjustable height feature are ergonomic for employees and can be adaptable to a variety of uses.
  • Storage: Some cleanroom tables have built-in storage in the form of drawers or shelves.
  • Weight-Bearing Capacity: Consider what types of projects your cleanroom is involved in, or the weight of equipment cleanroom tables will be required to support.
  • Anti-Static: Some plastics industry cleanrooms require conductive laminate or electrostatic dissipative materials for cleanroom furniture.
  • Material: Your cleanroom classification will dictate which materials are acceptable within your cleanroom, but it should be a material that won’t corrode, shed particles, or be sensitive to chemicals used for cleaning.

Although there are many options to consider when choosing cleanroom tables, this gives you a great opportunity to find the ideal furniture for your application. If you’re still not sure which table will suit your needs best, talk to the cleanroom design experts at Angstrom Technology. With your industry requirements and cleanroom classification in mind, we can help guide you toward the best tables for your cleanroom design.

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.

Why You Should Hire A Professional for Cleanroom Maintenance

Why You Should Hire A Professional for Cleanroom Maintenance

Cleanroom maintenance is an important aspect of running an efficient and effective cleanroom. Since cleanroom operation can be costly, from the specialized design and construction, equipment, and energy requirements, you may look at maintenance as a place to cut costs by keeping it in house. But there are some good reasons to leave cleanroom installation and maintenance to the pros. Here’s why you should hire a professional for cleanroom maintenance.

 

Professional cleanroom companies have crucial expertise

The company who designed your cleanroom is going to understand it even better than you and your employees do, and will, therefore, be able to perform all necessary maintenance activities with ease and efficiency. Additionally, a cleanroom company that specializes in cleanroom design and maintenance is going to have years of experience that will ensure that all necessary maintenance is performed on schedule and that any issues are identified and addressed in a timely manner.

 

Cleanroom maintenance is more than just equipment testing

Maintaining your cleanroom environment takes more than just equipment testing (which is already a lot, we know). Cleanroom maintenance also includes ensuring that there’s the right setup for the tasks and activities performed in the cleanroom and that all necessary supplies from gowns to testing equipment, are on hand at all times. A cleanroom maintenance provider can ensure that you have all necessary testing supplies in good supply, as well as providing project-specific equipment and storage to meet your application and classification requirements.

 

Cleanroom maintenance is too important to get wrong

If you’re not maintaining your cleanroom properly, you’re going to run into all kinds of issues. This could be failing to meet your desired ISO classification because of particulate contamination, equipment issues, old filters in need of replacement, or other problems. If you’re not adequately maintaining your cleanroom, not only will you fail to meet your classification requirements, which could put you in legal trouble or lose you important clients, you could also be energy inefficient. This is an issue not just because of our responsibility to protect the environment but because energy costs money. And wasting energy by faulty equipment running your cleanroom inefficiently is simply wasting money.

 

Not only do we design and install cleanrooms, we also service them. If your cleanroom is in need of maintenance, contact Angstrom Technology.

 

What Cleanroom Supplies Do You Need?

What Cleanroom Supplies Do You Need?

Designing and building a cleanroom is one thing, but knowing what you need to buy to keep that cleanroom clean and within the environmental controls for your desired cleanroom classification is another. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the supplies you might need for your cleanroom.

The cleanroom supplies that you need will generally depend on your classification. An ISO Class 1 cleanroom will have the strictest cleanliness and gowning procedures, because that is the most stringent classification, whereas an ISO Class 8 cleanroom may require fewer garments with a more infrequent replacement schedule.

Additionally, your industry and the specific tasks and processes performed in your cleanroom will affect the supplies you need. If your process includes the use of hazardous materials, you’ll need more PPE than a cleanroom of the same ISO or Federal Standard 209E classification. Check out our guide to cleanroom classifications for more information on cleanroom classifications and standards here.

General list of cleanroom garments:

  • Hoods
  • Hair Covers
  • Coveralls
  • Intersuits
  • Boots or Shoe Covers
  • Facial Covers
  • Gloves
  • Frocks

General list of cleanroom cleaning supplies:

  • Brushes & Brooms
  • Buckets
  • Mops & Mop Handles
  • Scrub Pads
  • Sponges
  • Squeegees
  • Wringers
  • Disinfectants
  • Detergents
  • Solvents

If you’re designing a cleanroom, get in touch with Angstrom Technology to see how our modular cleanroom designs can work for your application.

How Much Cleanroom Furniture Do I Need?

What to Think About When Choosing Cleanroom Furniture

Designing a cleanroom comes with a huge set of unique challenges: controlling the temperature, air quality, static, water purity, etc. What can get overlooked during a cleanroom design is the fixtures and furniture, which are extremely important to the efficiency and ergonomics of your cleanroom space. Here are the questions you should ask when selecting casework and furniture for your cleanroom:

What types of chemicals and materials will be used?

Depending on the substances that you’ll be using in the cleanroom, you may need to ensure that you select work surfaces that are chemical resistant, heat resistant, stain resistant, or non-conductive. This will also inform whether you’ll need fume hoods or chemical or hazardous material storage.

What processes will be performed?

This determines the number and types of workstations you’ll need, as well as their layout. If your cleanroom is used for clean storage of sensitive materials, you’ll probably need cabinetry, shelving, and casework, but if your cleanroom is used for quality control testing, you’ll likely need workstations with storage, sinks, electricity and more.

How often will things change?

If you need flexibility for when processes change, or your cleanroom houses multiple different operations. You may need to consider the flexibility and changeability of the furniture you choose. This can be accomplished with adjustable height tables, workstations or casework on wheels, or adjustable cabinetry that allows you to reconfigure the drawer and cabinet locations.

How many chairs do you actually need?

This seems trivial, but can be a major issue for efficiency. Too many chairs mean there’s always one in the way, and that space is wasted. Too few seats leave your employees playing musical chairs all day. Consider ergonomics with chairs and ensure they are the right height and comfort level for their application. Stools may be the most appropriate choice for cleanrooms where technicians sit for short periods of time at counters; however, if your employees are sitting at workstations for long periods of time for certain operations, they’ll need more comfortable seating.

How much storage is needed?

No matter your cleanroom application, you’ll need storage of some kind, whether for materials, packaging, or the tools and equipment used in your processes. Ensuring that you have the right kind of storage for these items is also important. While shelving may work for bulk storage of boxed items, you’ll need cabinets for chemical storage or racks and drawers for tools.

How much space do I have?

If you’re working with limited space, it’s critical that you maximize that space. Too much furniture can impede movement and therefore,  the efficiency of your cleanroom operations. Consider how spaces can be made flexible for multiple operations or how the furniture can be best laid out for process flow, as well as the movement of people within that space.

 

When designing or upgrading a cleanroom, don’t forget the furniture. Using your cleanroom space inefficiently or having the wrong furniture or materials, or simply not having enough storage or seats can make a cleanroom into a chaotic mess. Ask yourself these questions when selecting cleanroom furniture to ensure a well-designed cleanroom for your application.

 

If you’re designing a new cleanroom, make sure you have the right space to meet your needs. Angstrom Technology can design, construct and install the perfect cleanroom

3 Essential Cleanroom Supplies You Should Always Have on Hand

3 Essential Cleanroom Supplies You Should Always Have on Hand

Whether you’re new to cleanrooms, or you’ve been working with them your entire career, there’s no doubt that they can be a finicky part of your business operation. You have to maintain exact standards, and when your cleanroom is down, so is your company. So, what can you do to make sure your cleanroom is functioning to its required standards at all times?

Though it might sound obvious, keeping it well stocked with necessary cleanroom supplies is the best way to keep your cleanroom performing to standard. Below is a list of the three most important cleanroom supplies you should always have on hand, and why they’re so important:

Replacement Filters

Filters are what keep the air in a cleanroom clean. Without clean filters, your cleanroom has little to no hope of performing to standard. So, it’s good to always have backup filters on hand, both HEPA, ULPA, and pre-filters. But how many should you have?

Prefilters: Depending on the standards your cleanroom has to meet, you probably change your pre-filters once every few months. Every time you change them, you should make sure you have enough replacements to get you through at least one more change. If not, you risk putting your operation behind.

HEPA/ULPA: Same goes for HEPA or ULPA filters. You should have at least one replacement for each operating HEPA/ULPA filter at all times. Though you change these very infrequently, sometimes even years apart, HEPA /ULPA filters much more important than pre-filters. They are responsible for filtering the greatest amount of tiny air particulate, so it makes sense to always have replacements on hand, in case of an emergency.

Gowning Materials

If you regularly order cleanroom supplies, you know that you go through boxes of gowning materials in no time. Hoods, bunny suits, booties, and cleanroom gloves of all varieties, are crucial to your everyday operations. It’s important that your company develop some sort of system so that you never run out of these essential cleanroom supplies.

For example: You may have employees alert the person in charge of ordering cleanroom supplies every time you have less than two weeks worth of a certain gowning material. Whether it’s gloves or cleanroom suits, a good rule of thumb is that when you open the last box of cleanroom supplies, you order another shipment.

Cleanroom Cleaners

While this might sound like common sense, it’s surprising how quickly you can run out of cleaning supplies. Maybe you’ve experienced that feeling of dread when an employee reports and says that there aren’t any more bottles of cleaner. There’s nothing worse than frantically trying to find the right cleaner, and then making sure it gets shipped overnight so your cleanroom can continue to function at standard for the next business day.

Similar to gowning materials, it’s a good idea to have a system in place so that this sort of situation doesn’t happen. Make sure you always have at least one full bottle of any disinfectant or cleaner.

If you are in need of cleanroom supplies, or if you are looking into designing your own cleanroom, give the experts at Angstrom a call at 888-768-6900. We can design a cleanroom that functions to your exact specifications and standards, and we also carry replacement cleanroom supplies!