Everything You Wanted to Know about Cleanrooms

For decades, the team at CritiCore has manufactured high-performance garments worn by professionals in cleanrooms. A cleanroom isn’t a room that’s no longer dirty; it’s a necessity and a standard across many industries, including electronics and pharmaceuticals, for keeping contaminants out of products that are being manufactured.

What exactly is a cleanroom?

Cleanrooms are facilities used in manufacturing or scientific research, consisting of controlled environments without contaminants such as dust, airborne microbes, chemical vapors, or aerosol particles. The environments are contaminant-free as a result of air quality control, exceptionally high cleanliness standards for equipment and surfaces, and specific operational protocols, such as limitations on the amount of people who can enter or exit at any given time.

What are the standards?

Standards for cleanroom setup and operation are laid out by the International Organization for Standardization, but design standards vary by industry and by hazards associated with the products being handled. The following special features are essential to a functional cleanroom:

  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to filter out tiny particles, removing any possible contaminants and keeping air fresh
  • Strong ventilation to maintain air quality and maintain high static pressure to prevent wind from entering the room
  • Temperature and humidity control to maintain stable conditions for materials, preventing corrosion, condensation, and other potential factors that might damage products
  • Architectural design and equipment measurement to ensure unrestricted air flow
  • Electrostatic discharge protective materials to prevent damage from electrical charges
  • Appropriate materials that are resistant to breakdown, don’t shed particles, and are compatible with cleaning products
  • Shower and laundry facilities for decontamination before entering and special considerations such as negative air pressure and protection for hazardous materials
  • Equipment measurement to ensure all the above factors are applied correctly

Cleanrooms can either be constructed in a modular or conventional style. While the conventional style might take months to complete, modular construction is more straightforward, as components are pre-manufactured to save time.

Beyond cleanroom-appropriate garments, cleanrooms require unique furniture so particles and contaminants can’t adhere to surfaces. The materials used in this furniture must not allow dust and other particles to adhere to them. They also must be easily sterilized, including polypropylene, various other plastics, and stainless steel. The substances they’re coated in are an important consideration, as well.

Which industries use cleanrooms?

Cleanrooms are used across within industries that have a big impact on daily life. Semiconductor cleanrooms, for example, are used for semiconductor manufacturers. The semiconductor devices they manufacture are used in integrated circuit chips that exist in many electrical and electronic devices.

Several medical industries depend on cleanrooms. They’re crucial to the success of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, who need them for manufacturing as contamination can be a matter of life and death. The key with these cleanrooms is open architecture to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.

Cleanrooms are also used to build medical devices to ensure that product surfaces and packaging remain uncontaminated. People are often top perpetrators of contamination in this field, so medical device cleanrooms often have strict and thorough dress codes.

Another important industry that relies on cleanrooms is critical process manufacturing, which is often used by the Department of Energy and is a part of aerospace, optics, and military. Whether companies in this industry are making radar and electronic parts, biological parts for vaccines and test agents, missile-controlling chips, or lasers for guidance systems, their cleanrooms are always highly secure and closed off.

So many important industries rely on cleanrooms to manufacture products that are up to standard, it’s no wonder that CritiCore works so hard to produce materials and garments for them. It is an honor for us to serve these industries and help make a positive societal difference by helping provide the materials needed to produce perfectly constructed medical devices, life-saving drugs, and intelligence electronics that are critical to American health and defense.

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