Are Modular Cleanrooms Environmentally Friendly?

Are Modular Cleanrooms Environmentally Friendly?

Manufacturers and production facilities across the nation are on a continuous search for sustainable solutions. Of course, sustainable solutions help production facilities, labs, and fabrication plants do their part in protecting our environment and natural resources, but there’s even more to it than that.

Whether it be an increased focus on corporate social responsibility, a push towards sustainable business incentives, and/or an effort to get ahead of changing environmental restrictions, there’s a lot of value in going green.

The good news for any facility looking to build or install a modular cleanroom? Modular cleanrooms are environmentally friendly. Designed with sustainable technologies and materials, cleanrooms are helping everyone from automotive and aerospace manufacturers to pharmaceutical laboratories go just a little more green. Read on for more details.

3 “Green” Aspects of Modular Cleanroom Design

Modular cleanroom design has always been less wasteful than other construction methods, but over the years, modular cleanroom design has evolved to include more sustainable features. Cleanroom manufacturers and suppliers have taken initiatives to eliminate excess waste, conserve natural resources, and build for long lasting performance. Here, we’ll explore three green aspects of modular cleanroom design:

1. Recycled Air

Modern cleanroom technology uses fan filter units to continuously reuse and recirculate air. Originally, these fan filters were designed to ensure consistent air temperature, humidity, and cleanliness, but they were soon recognized for their sustainable features as well. Instead of the air being disposed of as waste, it’s now recycled, cutting down on environmental impact as less air has to be treated and conditioned to keep your cleanroom clean.

Another consideration: cleanroom air isn’t free. In fact, it can be rather expensive to treat. Therefore, recycling air through a fan filter unit can be a win-win in terms of sustainability and cost savings.

2. Recycled Materials

Modular cleanrooms are built with a lot of recycled materials, drastically reducing their environmental impact during the construction phase. Some frequently-used recycled materials include:

  • Aluminum framework – Aluminum is almost completely recyclable, and most aluminum used in modular construction today is already made from scrap metal. In modular cleanrooms, this environmentally-friendly material is used to construct cleanroom ceiling grids and other supporting foundations.
  • Gypsum board – Gypsum is a sustainable, durable material that can last up to 50 years, and it’s used to form the wall panels of many modular cleanrooms. Though it may not be right for every cleanroom, it’s an environmentally-friendly option should your ISO Class allow for it.

Apart from those materials, there are a few things modular cleanroom manufacturers may do to keep their services environmentally friendly as well. At Angstrom Technology, we use 100% recyclable packaging designed to protect all parts during transportation, and we ensure our systems are delivered ready for installation. This way, there is no dust, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or construction debris left at the facility.

3. Built for Long-Term Sustainability

Modular cleanrooms are designed for long-term use. They’re highly durable and require very little maintenance, reducing the need for any new replacement materials.

Beyond their durability, modular cleanrooms are also designed to grow with your facility. Modular cleanroom components can be broken down and reassembled easily, making reconfiguration, addition, and relocation of your cleanroom easy processes. As your facility grows and changes, you don’t need to construct an entirely new cleanroom. Save time, money, materials, and even the environment by opting for a modular option you can reconfigure for decades to come.

Why Choose Environmentally Friendly Modular Cleanrooms?

From natural resources to transportation to materials, modular cleanrooms are guaranteed to reduce waste. If you’re looking to build a more sustainable production facility, modular cleanroom components deliver a sustainable solution that will grow with your business and display exceptional performance over time.

If you’re interested in learning more about modular cleanroom design, check out our Cleanroom Design Guide or get in touch with one of the cleanroom design engineers at Angstrom Technology.

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4 Questions to Ask Before Starting Automotive Cleanroom Construction

4 Questions to Ask Before Starting Automotive Cleanroom Construction

There’s a lot of planning involved in automotive cleanroom construction. From layout design to operational components, you need to figure out what you need and how to implement it before you start building.

Many experienced cleanroom designers and engineers have streamlined this process. However, it’s important to be certain that you’ve got all the details in line so you can get production started without any hiccups. From the experts at Angstrom Technology, here’s a checklist of four questions to ask yourself before starting your automotive cleanroom construction project.

1. What Processes Will Be Housed Within My Cleanroom?

Within an automotive cleanroom, there are various applications that ensure automotive parts are produced, cleaned, and packaged safely. Some of these applications include.

  • Research and development
  • Component manufacturing
  • Assembly
  • Testing
  • Packaging

Each of these applications include different manufacturing processes, which also call for differences in humidity, temperature, pressure, and particle contamination. These differences can change the type, design, and level of cleanliness of the cleanroom you choose to construct.

Other process-related elements that could alter your cleanroom plan include: how many personnel access it, how often they access it, and what protective gear they wear when they access it.

2. What Are My Automotive Cleanroom’s ISO Class Requirements?

Automotive cleanrooms are controlled environments where air and surface particle contamination is limited. They’re grouped into various cleanliness classification groups created by the International Standards Organization (ISO). Based on the allowed size and number of particles, rate of air change, and percentage of ceiling coverage with fan filter units, cleanrooms are placed into an ISO Class.

ISO Classes are ranked 1-9, with Class 1 having the most stringent regulations and Class 9 having the most lenient regulations. Most automotive cleanrooms fall into ISO Classes 5-8, but this could vary depending on your application’s specific cleanliness and worker safety requirements. By determining which ISO Class you need, you can make a more informed choice of which type of cleanroom will give you the best results.

3. How Much Space Do I Need for My Automotive Cleanroom?

Your cleanroom will only work if it provides the allotment of space necessary for your application. While some cleanrooms are relatively small in size, automotive cleanrooms occasionally require larger equipment clearances. You’ll want to plan for that ahead of time.

It’s also valuable to keep in mind that cleanrooms are built for long-term use. This means that they’re able to grow and adapt based on your facility’s changing needs. You can add to them, reconfigure them, and relocate them as you need, as long as your changes comply with U.S. building and safety codes. With that in mind, it’s best to plan and design for the space you need now, and have peace of mind knowing you can always expand down the road.

4. What Type of Air Pressure Does My Cleanroom Need?

Cleanroom air pressure is divided into two categories: positive and negative air pressure. Basically, the type of air pressure determines what is being protected by installing a cleanroom.

Positive air pressure is achieved by pumping clean, filtered air into your cleanroom. This makes the air pressure inside your cleanroom greater than the pressure outside of it. It’s meant to protect whatever is inside the cleanroom from being contaminated by the surrounding environment.

Negative air pressure is achieved by filtering air out of the room. This makes the pressure inside your cleanroom lower than the pressure outside it. It’s meant to keep possible contamination from escaping the cleanroom.

Some automotive applications like electronic manufacturing require positive air pressure to ensure products are clean and safe for us. On the other hand, some automotive manufacturing applications, like applying special paints and part coatings, can be harmful to human health. In these situations, you may prefer negative air pressure to ensure those VOCs and harmful chemicals aren’t released into the rest of the facility.

Have more questions about designing and constructing a cleanroom for your automotive application? Give the experts at Angstrom Technology a call or contact us online! We’d be happy to walk through your specific requirements and help you get the best cleanroom installed in your space.

4 Biggest Threats to Semiconductor Cleanrooms

4 Biggest Threats to Semiconductor Cleanrooms

To ensure the highest levels of quality, safety, and repeatability in semiconductor chips and the devices they’re installed in, semiconductor manufacturers must carry out processes in a controlled cleanroom environment. But while the right cleanroom can achieve this control and minimize risks, there are still a number of potential threats to be mindful of. 

Let’s take a look at some potential threats to semiconductor cleanrooms in the manufacturing process, as well as how to design a cleanroom that defends against them all. 

Why Do I Need a Semiconductor Cleanroom?

Semiconductors are highly sensitive materials, vulnerable to even the tiniest speck of dust or the slightest increase in temperature. Therefore, any task that involves the production, manipulation, installation, or packaging of semiconductors must be done carefully in a cleanroom. The value of cleanrooms for semiconductor applications is indisputable. 

If not handled properly in a controlled environment, semiconductors and the devices they’re installed in can easily face product failure — which can lead to disastrous consequences depending on the type of product in question.

4 Biggest Threats to Safe Semiconductor Manufacturing

Particulate matter, static electricity, humidity, and outgassing. Although they may seem relatively low-risk when encountered in day-to-day life, these environmental conditions can pose significant threats to semiconductor manufacturing. These threats can go on to harm workplace productivity, disrupt the quality of end products, and endanger the safety of workers and consumers alike. 

Here’s some more guidance on the damage these factors can cause, as well as how to prevent it. 

1. Particulate Matter in the Semiconductor Cleanroom

Just like with any other cleanroom, particulate matter poses an incredible risk to semiconductor applications. This can include airborne particles like dust, viruses, and bacteria — but one of the most common threats here is human contamination. It’s also one of the most difficult to control.

Things like shedding skin cells, breaking fingernails, and coughing can all disrupt the semiconductor manufacturing process. Cleanroom operator gowns, gloves, and other PPE work to protect semiconductor processes from the human element, but they also protect workers from dangers in the cleanroom setting (in accordance with ANSI and OSHA requirements). 

How to Control Particulate Matter in Your Semiconductor Cleanroom

There are a few main ways to lessen the risk of cleanroom operator contamination: proper gowning (PPE) and air shower walkthroughs. In addition to that, your cleanroom should be equipped with powerful HEPA filters to continuously filter any dangerous particles out of the cleanroom environment.  

2. Static in the Semiconductor Cleanroom

Electro-static discharge (ESD), even at a microscopic level, is another leading cause of defects in silicon wafers and semiconductors. Static corrupts materials by drawing and adhering fine airborne particles to the products’ surface, ultimately resulting in product rejection or failure. 

Static can also pose a threat to semiconductor cleanroom operator safety. When static charges are allowed to build up, they can release suddenly in an uncontrolled manner and harm workers, either through electric shock or involuntary movement. 

How to Control Static in Your Semiconductor Cleanroom

Preventing static from harming your semiconductor cleanroom and manufacturing process starts with intentional cleanroom design and material choices. The most important thing to understand is that conductive materials are often more effective than insulative materials in sensitive applications like this one. Conductive materials allow electrons to flow quickly away from areas where they could build up, directing them safely to the ground. 

3. Humidity in the Semiconductor Cleanroom

Many products that are manufactured and tested in semiconductor cleanrooms are sensitive to moisture, so control of relative humidity (RH) is crucial. Most semiconductor cleanrooms must maintain RH at 35-65%, in addition to temperatures at 70°F or lower. 

Fluctuating humidity and temperature levels — even within that range — can present many threats to both productivity and product quality. From inconsistent bake-out times to evaporation of solvents to surface swelling and corrosion, any inconsistency in production control can have a negative impact. 

How to Control Humidity in Your Semiconductor Cleanroom

To control and maintain relative humidity, semiconductor cleanrooms require powerful HVAC systems to treat air before it’s filtered and released into the space. These HVAC systems are often independently dedicated to the cleanroom (rather than being integrated with the larger facility’s system) to allow for total control and boosted power. 

4. Outgassing in the Semiconductor Cleanroom

Outgassing is the release of gas that was previously trapped or stored within a solid material. It’s a common concern with electronic equipment and high-frequency circuit boards — the exact products that semiconductors help function. 

All the machines within a semiconductor cleanroom can experience outgassing, and the gas released can harm the manufacturing environment and process.

How to Control Outgassing in Your Semiconductor Cleanroom

There’s not a proven way to fully avoid outgassing. Instead, you can only do your best to prevent and control it from reaching harmful levels. A powerful cleanroom HVAC and filtration system can help to circulate and filter the air regularly so that any contaminated air is quickly taken care of and replaced with cleaner air. 

Another suggestion is to ensure your cleanroom equipment is properly taken care of. Well-maintained equipment often results in less outgassing. 

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Basic Semiconductor Cleanroom Design Considerations

Semiconductor manufacturing is highly sensitive and requires that all cleanroom systems work together to comply with strict cleanliness standards. Most semiconductor cleanrooms fall within ISO Class 4-6 requirements, which means they have some of the most stringent particle count requirements of any other industry. 

As factors like human contamination, static, humidity, and outgassing continue to threaten cleanroom processes and personnel, semiconductor cleanroom design must be able to address each one using: 

Contact Angstrom Technology for a Reliably Controlled Semiconductor Cleanroom

For a semiconductor cleanroom that eliminates all environmental threats, trust Angstrom Technology. Since 1989, our cleanroom experts have been designing, building, and installing high-quality cleanrooms for a variety of industry specialties and service areas. We’re now recognized as one of the top manufacturers of modular, turnkey cleanrooms in the country, and we’re continuing to expand services overseas as well. 

We can guide you through the design process and deliver the cleanroom solution you’ve been searching for. Contact us to get started today.   

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3 Cleanroom Applications that Use Seamless Cleanroom Solutions

3 Cleanroom Applications that Use Seamless Cleanroom Solutions

There are endless types of cleanrooms out there, each with their own cleanroom design, layout, features, ISO classification, and more. With all of the available customizations, each cleanroom application can have a modular cleanroom that is completely tailored to their project needs and goals.

Seamless cleanrooms are a type of modular construction that can be fully customized to any application and built within a facility’s existing structure. They have unique strengths and capabilities that make them ideal for many common cleanroom applications. Let’s take a look at a few industries that use seamless cleanroom solutions to conduct their work.

3 Cleanroom Applications that Use Seamless Cleanroom Solutions

Three common industries that use seamless cleanrooms to provide the ideal, controlled environment for their work are semiconductor , pharmaceutical , and medical device. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits this cleanroom type offers these diverse applications and why seamless is the perfect cleanroom solution.

Seamless Semiconductor Cleanrooms

Semiconductor cleanrooms require a high level of control during the manufacturing and handling of semiconductors, due to the sensitive nature of the material. They must be able to limit contamination by air and surface particles to an extreme degree, which is why they must comply with ISO 14644-1 Class 5 or lower classification standards. 

Seamless cleanrooms are the best fit for semiconductor applications because their construction prohibits the settling of particles in any crevice where they could build up and contaminate the work in the room. The durable wall panels of a seamless cleanroom are sealed with a resistant shell that won’t corrode or shed particles during cleaning or in case of impact. 

Semiconductor production facilities rely on seamless cleanroom solutions to protect delicate work with fine electronics, silicon wafers, sensors and more.

Seamless Pharmaceutical Cleanrooms

In a pharmaceutical cleanroom, control is key. Even the slightest contamination or stray particle could skew test results, corrupt pharmaceutical products, or put employees at risk. Cleanrooms used in pharmaceutical applications require strict maintenance of air quality protocols. The materials of the cleanroom must be able to withstand thorough and robust cleaning chemicals and procedures without shedding particles or sacrificing environmental control.

Pharmaceutical cleanrooms often use seamless modular construction for the processing and development of beneficial medicines and products. For the critical applications of pharmaceutical research with sensitive substances, a seamless cleanroom solution is able to reach an extreme level of environmental control — protecting both the work and the workers.

Seamless Medical Device Cleanrooms

Medical device cleanrooms require environmental uniformity in order to manufacture, test, and package sensitive devices and medical technology. If particles contaminate medical devices or their packaging during any part of the process, the device could fail and put lives at risk. To avoid this, a seamless cleanroom can be used.

Seamless cleanrooms provide medical device applications with the ultimate control over air and surface particles. With no seams for particles to settle and collect, the cleanroom HVAC and filtration system can be fully effective at removing particles according to stringent ISO classifications. 

This cleanroom application is also susceptible to static electricity, so a seamless antistatic floor material is often used with a seamless cleanroom solution to prevent charges or sparks from corrupting devices or harming employees.

Seamless Cleanroom Design and Construction

Seamless cleanroom solutions are fully customizable and can be built to any cleanroom classification, which makes them an ideal choice for a wide range of applications. 

Your seamless cleanroom includes integration with your cleanroom systems and trades, such as cleanroom HVAC, filtration, lighting, and more. It can be installed in your existing structure and outfitted with all the special features you need to make your project a success.

If you think a seamless cleanroom would be perfect for your application, give the experts at Angstrom Technology a call. We specialize in seamless cleanroom solutions with modular construction, and we consistently deliver industry-leading cleanrooms across the country. Yours could be next.

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5 Advantages of Rigidwall Automotive Cleanroom

5 Advantages of Rigidwall Automotive Cleanroom

RigidWall cleanrooms make an excellent cleanroom option for many industries. Their sleek appearance, excellent control, and customizable features make them especially suited for automotive cleanrooms. Let’s take a look at 5 advantages RigidWall cleanrooms offer your application in the automotive industry.

#1 RigidWall Cleanrooms Have an Attractive, Minimalist Appearance

Compared to other types of cleanrooms, RigidWall cleanrooms may be one of the most attractive. Their clear, flat panels give your cleanroom a sleek, professional look. They look great, and they also serve another important function: Large, crystal-clear panels are perfect for monitoring activities in the cleanroom while minimizing traffic in and out of the controlled environment. They also make an attractive showcase of your work to investors, executives, and visitors.

#2 RigidWall Cleanrooms Offer Excellent Control of the Cleanroom Environment

RigidWall cleanrooms make an excellent choice for many types of automotive cleanroom applications. Their sleek panels provide flawless floor-to-ceiling protection from outside contaminants, and integration with powerful cleanroom systems helps establish a highly controlled environment you can rely on to maintain your cleanroom classifications. 

RigidWall cleanrooms are recommended for automotive cleanrooms with ISO Classes 5-8 standards, which means they can reach incredibly stringent requirements with ease, and be adjusted to conform to your automotive industry standards.

#3 RigidWall Cleanrooms Have Versatile Layout Options 

While not as lightweight or flexible as SoftWall cleanrooms, RigidWall cleanrooms are incredibly versatile and easy to expand, condense, or reconfigure — and even more flexible than HardWall cleanrooms. Because the panels are modular, they can be removed or added with ease, allowing you to grow your operations seamlessly, or reuse the panels for other purposes in your facility. 

If your automotive cleanroom needs space to evolve, RigidWall cleanrooms can offer custom layout options while maintaining strict cleanliness standards. Talk to a cleanroom designer about building a cleanroom that suits your needs now, and in the future.

#4 RigidWall Cleanrooms are Highly Customizable

Building a modular cleanroom doesn’t mean your cleanroom looks like everyone else’s. RigidWall cleanrooms are built to your exact specifications — your cleanroom classification, your industry standards, and your custom requests. Constructing a modular RigidWall cleanroom gives you the freedom to customize your automotive cleanroom as you see fit. 

As part of your cleanroom design, the RigidWall cleanroom is already built to integrate seamlessly with your cleanroom systems and trades like a powerful cleanroom HVAC, multi-stage filtration, and more. From there, you can add special features to your cleanroom design that will ensure success for your automotive cleanroom application, like flow-through lighting modules, security panels, intercom systems, and safety features such as fire suppression and electro-static discharge materials. 

#5 RigidWall Cleanrooms are Easy to Install

RigidWall modular cleanroom panels are prefabricated with the wiring, insulation, and all the customizations your facility needs to be successful. Once designed and built, the cleanroom panels fit together easily and quickly — the speedy turnaround time for a RigidWall cleanroom is one of the great advantages it can offer your automotive cleanroom application. In just 2-3 days, you can have a fully operational, top-of-the-line, beautiful new RigidWall cleanroom for your automotive facility.

RigidWall cleanrooms provide a highly controlled, yet versatile cleanroom environment. Think a RigidWall modular cleanroom is perfect for your application? Let Angstrom Technology design, build, and install it! Our cleanroom experts can build a cleanroom to your exact specifications and cleanroom classification requirements. Give us a call or reach out online to get a quote.

How to Test Your Cleanroom Classification

How to Test Your Cleanroom Classification

Every cleanroom requires periodic testing to make sure it reaches the necessary particle count allowances for its cleanroom classification. A cleanroom is initially certified once it’s built, and then needs to be retested every 6 to 12 months to ensure it continues to comply with stringent requirements for cleanliness and control. Let’s go over what your cleanroom needs to test its cleanroom classification and how you can test your cleanroom yourself using a particle counter.

Cleanroom Classification Testing Requirements

Document ISO 14644-2, Cleanroom Testing and Compliance, stipulates that all cleanrooms regardless of classification level must be routinely tested for quality. Particle count tests must be performed annually for cleanrooms ISO Class 6 and above, or biannually for ISO Class 5 and below.

Other recommended tests for cleanrooms include:

  • installed filter leakage
  • containment filter leakage
  • recovery
  • airflow visualization

Acceptable Particle Count for Your Cleanroom Classification

 

All cleanrooms have different levels of cleanliness they must reach, as outlined in their cleanroom classification. Careful monitoring and adherence to particle counts helps to maintain cleanliness and quality across ISO cleanroom classifications. 

Here are the accepted levels of particles in each ISO class, designated by number and size:

ISO 14644-1 Cleanroom Standards
ClassMaximum Allowed Particles (per m3)
≥0.2 µm≥0.3 µm≥0.5 µm≥1 µm≥5 µm
ISO 12.371.020.350.0830.0029
ISO 223.710.23.50.830.029
ISO 3237102358.30.29
ISO 42,3701,020352832.9
ISO 523,70010,2003,52083229
ISO 6237,000102,00035,2008,320293
ISO 72.37×1061,020,000352,00083,2002,930
ISO 82.37×1071.02×1073,520,000832,00029,300
ISO 92.37×1081.02×10835,200,0008,320,000293,000

 

How to Test Your Cleanroom Classification

Whether your cleanroom requires formal testing every 6 or 12 months, it’s important to know how to test the particle count in your cleanroom to make sure you are reaching the levels set by your cleanroom classification. Let’s go through the steps of how to test your cleanroom classification using a particle counter.

  • Step 1: Determine how many sample locations you need by using the volume of your cleanroom in cubic meters. Many particle counters will calculate this for you after entering in the area of the space.
  • Step 2: Set the particle counter to record particles of a certain size, and specify the maximum count allowed and the minimum volume to be sampled at each location.
  • Step 3: Perform measurements at each sampling location. Depending on the device you’re using to measure particles, for example a handheld particle counter or a freestanding monitoring system, as well as the airflow velocity in your cleanroom, it may take varying amounts of time to collect measurements to the right volume. You may even need to take several measurements per location, after which you can average the totals.
  • Step 4: Once you have collected an average measurement for each sampling location, add the measurements together and divide by the number of locations to find an average for the entire cleanroom. 
  • Step 5: Determine if your cleanroom meets the requirements of your cleanroom classification by consulting the table above using the number you found from your test. If your cleanroom failed, use your findings from each sampling location to determine where your cleanroom requires improvement.

Your cleanroom requires periodic testing to make sure it reaches the necessary particle count allowances and is effectively maintaining a clean, controlled environment. If you’re concerned that your cleanroom is not reaching the required particle count for your ISO class, talk to the cleanroom experts at Angstrom Technology today. We design, build, and install high-quality cleanrooms that can reach and maintain any cleanroom classification, and would be happy to professionally assess yours and help you meet your standards.