A single airflow issue found in your cleanroom during a regulatory inspection can cost you valuable time and money, while bringing your productivity to a screeching halt
Regulatory compliance is never really, achieved; it is maintained. Keeping your cleanroom in a constant state of compliance is the only way to ensure all inspections come and go uneventfully. This also ensures you’re constantly protecting the people and processes in your facility.
Here is a checklist of key areas you will need to focus on.
Airflow Rates and Patterns
You need to ensure your system is in control of your airflow, velocities or patterns.
Regulatory agencies look for a few key points to make sure a cleanroom meets regulatory requirements:
- Air Balancing reports showing that adequate volumes and velocities of air are supplied. They will also confirm that the air change rates are sufficient.
- Environmental Monitoring and validation results for both particulate and microbial contamination will also confirm air volumes.
- Smoke Studies providing a visual demonstration of the cleanroom’s airflow patterns.
Also, regulatory agencies need to see critical process locations are protected by unobstructed laminar flow “first-air” over those areas.
Your cleanroom’s air will be filtered through HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) or ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filters.
These filters are rated:
- HEPA- 99.99 percent efficiency on 0.3 micron particles
- ULPA- 0.128 micron particles
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) measures the airborne contamination threats that can pass through a filter. HEPA filters range from MERV 17 at 99.97% up to MERV 20 at 99.999%.
A HEPA filter supplies an airflow of anywhere from 400 to 700 Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM). For example, if your cleanroom is ISO 7 classified and 10’ x 15’ x 8’ in size, it will require 1,000 CFM and 2 HEPA filters, if itneeds 50 air changes per hour.
Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM)
|Number of HEPA filters
(1 HEPA = 500 CFM)
|13 333 CFM||27|
|1 000 CFM||2|
To ensure the accuracy of processes, your temperature and humidity need to be tightly controlled and monitored. They must be as precise as ±0.25°C and ±2%.
Both of these numbers can be heavily influenced by:
- How many staff members are working in the cleanroom
- How staff will move within a zone, or from one zone to another
- The equipment, furniture, and instruments required
- The size of your cleanroom and number of rooms within your cleanroom
- Estimated heat gain
Your Cleanroom’s Walls, Floors and Ceilings
Any cleanroom’s walls, floors and ceilings hold the potential for issues such as leaks, pressure loss and contamination.
Your cleanroom’s walls should be made of an easy to clean and non-shedding material. They can be gypsum board with a seamless coating on metal studs or they can also be modular.
Meanwhile, your floors can be:
- Poured seamless systems
- Seamless sheet vinyl
- Vinyl tile
And finally, your ceiling requires a special factory gasketed (or gel) grid system to support the HEPA filters, lights, and panels.
Your Cleanroom’s Lights
Your cleanroom will need specially constructed and airtight lights. They are usually 70-100 foot candles, and will give off heat that you will have to plan for.
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