Cleanroom Services Industry
The cleanroom services industry comprises of cleaning, testing and certification, environmental monitoring as well and management of cleanroom supplies, laundry services, validation services, training and consulting, HEPA filtration, isolator units, tooling and manufacturing equipment, clean-build construction and protocol. While more than 30 different industry segments utilize clean rooms, 70 percent of U.S. clean room floor space is in the semiconductor and other electronic components, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries.
The following are just a few of the amazing applications that cleanroom technology fosters;
Almost all of today’s technology involves the use of semiconductors, with the most important aspect being the integrated circuit (IC). To create an ideal semiconducting material, chemical purity and cleanroom technology is paramount. Any small imperfection can have a drastic effect on how the semiconducting material behaves due to the scale at which the materials are used. Strict cleanroom cleaning protocols keep the cleanroom environment used for manufacturing semiconductors dust free to limit contamination that could cause product failure. Some examples of devices that contain integrated circuits include laptops, scanners, cell-phones, etc.
The cleanroom is an integral part of the manufacturing process required to produce sterile drug products, vaccines and bio-medical devices. The majority of pharmaceutical process operations involve significant interaction of the cleaners and knowing the GMPs for disinfecting. The cleaning and personnel are validated on a regular basis. The industry is engaged in discovery, development, manufacture, and marketing of prescription drugs.
The aerospace industry relies on the cleanroom environment and its state-of-the-art enhancements to perform experiments as well as create items like space-flight lasers, the space shuttle, satellites, missiles and space exploration vehicles. Creating aerospace tools require controlled environments so that no contaminants or pollutants can compromise the tools used in the manufacturing process or the product itself. In the case of space-flight lasers, absolute accuracy is essential. Some of these lasers are used to charge the batteries of aerial vehicles. Other aerospace lasers have been designed with an eye toward ablation; that is, the laser is used to vaporize space debris in the earth’s orbit.
Many medical devices are surgically placed in living bodies. For example, when manufacturing pacemakers, it is critical to manufacture them in a cleanroom that is routinely disinfected to eliminate harmful bacteria or pathogens to which a living body would be vulnerable. To ensure that good quality assurance practices are used for the design of medical devices and that they are consistent with quality system requirements worldwide, the Food and Drug Administration revised the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements by incorporating them into the Quality System Regulation, 21 CFR Part 820.
Most people are delighted when they snap a great picture on their smartphone, but those lenses and, of course, the high end lenses of professional cameras must be manufactured using cleanroom technology. Lens manufacturing requires strict particle contamination cleaning and controls as well as humidity and temperature control and vibration isolation protocols. The cleanroom environment enables technicians to create the lenses that allow us to capture the timeless smiles of the ones we love or those great views we photograph while on vacation.
While some people regard the nanotech cleanroom as a boutique version of cleanrooms devoted to electronics and the manufacturing of semiconductors, the nanotech cleanroom is actually used for multi-type industries and its applications are used for food as well as fuel cells to name a mere few. Nanotechnology is even more susceptible to contamination than semiconductor chips (IC). Cleaning is even more important in this industry with technology 100 to 1000 times more sensitive than the IC industry. In a world getting greener all the time, cleanrooms devoted to nanotechnology are now involved in producing nanotech solar cells. These cells may have a substantial impact on sustainability initiatives world-wide as these cells will be considerably less expensive to manufacture than traditional solar cells.
University Labs & Research Facilities
It can be mind-boggling to fathom, but the mere presence of a few extra particles can throw the most carefully wrought experiments off kilter. All variables that could affect an experiment must be removed for clean results. The cleanroom nurtures this contaminant-free environment so that experiments relative to multiple sciences and technologies can be conducted and cleanroom cleaning adds assurance. The cleanroom and continuous cleaning provides the constant that helps researchers reduce and even eliminate cross-contamination or those variables that might impede accurate results.
Scientists and their staffs are finding themselves in need of safe environments increasingly as their work may often involve harmful biological agents. The cleanroom environments protects the outer areas of a facility from harmful biological agents and interior equipment designed for technicians like biological safety cabinets protect the scientists while they conduct their procedures that involve hazardous materials. Designing a new drug, for instance, may involve a dangerous virus or bacterium that the drug must be tested on. The cleanroom and the routine disinfecting processes are integral to this type of work in order to provide safety for personnel.
The military as well as various government agencies rely upon cleanrooms and their technology for many projects and experiments. In fact, if the James Bond character were real, his various gadgets would likely be created in the cleanroom environment. Today the military uses cleanroom laboratories to develop the technology systems of the future as well as to enhance technological devices today. Creating a new and innovative material like a barrier that protects training pilots from excessive noise exposure, for instance, is just one small aspect of how the military uses cleanrooms.
Fill and Finish
Biopharmaceutical products are subject to stability problems and thus require more care in manufacturing than other products being manufactured in cleanrooms. Most biopharmaceutical formulations are aqueous, and protein products have limited stability in their liquid state. GMP Cleanroom cleaning and disinfecting practices are critical to manufacturing a product safe for human and animal use.
The container that touches the product or the label are parts of filling and finishing a product that require cleanroom manufacturing controls.
All production lines must be validated for cleanroom cleaning and disinfecting methods and approved by FDA (or regulatory bodies in other countries) before they can be used to manufacture drugs. The approval process involves documenting and demonstrating that the cleanroom disinfecting and cleaning as well as the line functions as designed are within established criteria for cleanliness and sterility. The manufacturer is responsible for providing that documentation.
The cleanroom is vital to many industries as well as for tomorrow’s new products. These are just a few applications for cleanroom environments. There are many more—and more still likely to be dreamed up in the future.
Computers rooms are similiar to cleanrooms in that the environment is controlled. In a computer room air is supplied from the bottom up, rather than top down or horizontally as in a cleanroom. Computers produce heat raising the temperature in the room. Clean and cool air is supplied from under the raised floor to cool the equipment and keep it working at its peak performance. ACM cleaners clean under the raised floor to ensure dust and particles due to gravity fall-out do not blow up and contaminate the computer electronics.
Today, renewed interest in environmentally sustainable energy supplies, has drawn attention once again to solar power.
Solar cells are essentially semiconductors, conveying electrons from one place to another. As the industry continues to expand and costs continue to drop, just as the semiconductor industry has pushed for smaller and thinner geometries, so too will the solar industry. Silicon is expensive so you want to cut the wafers thinner to generate more revenue and less waste.
With the thinner wafers, processes, contamination control strategies, and environmental controls to get stricter. The environment is less forgiving about contamination. Any mistake can affect yield.
When it comes to contamination, ACM is here to ensure controls and methods are in place for maximum yeilds.
Scientists have developed a process to grow produce in a perfectly sterile environment without any exposure to outside air. The sterile environment removes the risks of dirt, chemicals, pesticides, insects and bacteria being on the produce, essentially meaning that it’s unnecessary for the customers to even wash the food. The customer can also buy the produce knowing that it is completely contaminate free. These cleanroom farms are know as plant factories, and every element of the plant’s environment is controlled from the temperature, to lighting, humidity, water and carbon dioxide level.
ACM is here to put in controls and methods to ensure a contamination free environment for the foods of the future.