Cleanrooms are specially designed environments that control the level of contaminants such as dust, bacteria, and other particles in the air. They are commonly found in industries that require a high level of cleanliness. In addition to controlling the level of contaminants, cleanrooms are also used to control electrostatic discharge (ESD) to prevent damage to sensitive electronic components.
Cleanrooms have become necessary for industries like food manufacturing units, health centers, and pharmaceutical companies. It is the reason behind the surging cleanroom technology market in North America. According to Business Market Insights, the market for cleanrooms in North America is expected to reach approximately $3024 million by 2028 with a CAGR of around 7%.
Here, let’s discuss a few key things to consider when building a cleanroom for ESD environment. By understanding these key considerations, you can ensure that your cleanroom is properly designed and equipped to meet the needs of your specific application.
1. Height of the Cleanroom
One major factor to consider when building the ESD environment is the height of a cleanroom, as it can greatly impact the overall performance and efficiency of the room. In addition, it provides ample space for equipment and personnel to move around and for installing air filtration systems and other necessary components.
The air filtration system is a crucial part of a cleanroom environment. It is recommended to have a HEPA filter for a cleanroom because, according to EPA, it can filter 99.97% of dust, bacteria, pollen, and mold of size less than 0.3 microns.
A higher ceiling can help reduce the number of particles that settle on surfaces. As a result, they are more likely to be captured by the air filtration system. Higher ceilings also allow for the installation of additional lighting fixtures, improving visibility and reducing the risk of contamination from dust and other particles.
2. Cleanroom Air Flow
In a cleanroom for ESD environment, the airflow must be under control to minimize the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD) and other potential hazards.
The two main types of airflow used in cleanrooms are unidirectional and non-unidirectional. Unidirectional airflow is when air is forced into the cleanroom from a single direction, typically through a ceiling-mounted supply plenum.
Non-unidirectional airflow, on the other hand, is when air is introduced into the cleanroom from multiple directions, typically through a combination of supply and return diffusers.
In addition to the type of airflow, it’s necessary to consider the velocity of the air within the cleanroom. In general, the air velocity should be low enough to avoid disturbing particles and high enough to ensure that contaminants are removed quickly from the room.
3. Cleanroom Design and Customization
The design and customization of a cleanroom are crucial aspects of building an ESD environment. It allows you to tailor the room to the application’s specific needs.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is a prime concern in industries like semiconductor and electronic device manufacturing, and ESD cleanrooms are specially designed to minimize the risk of ESD and protect sensitive electronic components.
When designing a clean room for an ESD environment, it’s crucial to consider the room’s layout. The layout should be designed to minimize the risk of ESD by providing separate areas for different processes or equipment. For example, it can include designated areas for assembly, packaging, and storage and separate areas for clean and dirty work.
Customization can also include the selection of materials that are appropriate for the cleanroom environment. For example, it’s necessary to select materials that are non-shedding, non-outgassing, and non-particulating to minimize the number of particles in the air.
The materials used in the cleanroom should also be easy to clean and maintain and should resist corrosion or damage from chemicals or other contaminants.
4. Cleanroom Materials and Equipment
When building a cleanroom for ESD environment, you must carefully select the materials and equipment used in the room. It’s necessary to minimize the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD) and other potential hazards.
One of the key materials used in cleanrooms is stainless steel. Stainless steel is a non-shedding and non-particulate material that is easy to clean and maintain, and it’s also resistant to corrosion and damage from chemicals. Stainless steel is commonly used for work surfaces, storage racks, and shelving.
Another important material used in cleanrooms is plastic. Plastic is a non-shedding, non-particulating, and non-outgassing material that is lightweight, durable, and easy to clean. In addition, you may use plastic for storage bins, trays, and carts.
When it comes to equipment, selecting items specifically designed for cleanroom use is crucial. It includes cleanroom-compatible tools and equipment, such as vacuum cleaners and mops, and cleanroom-compatible furniture, such as chairs and tables.
It’s also necessary to select ESD-safe materials and equipment resistant to electrostatic discharge, such as ESD-safe workstations, chairs, and tools.
5. Ceiling Tiles
Another necessary component of a cleanroom is ceiling tiles. They play a crucial role in controlling the level of contaminants in the air. Selection of the right ceiling tiles can help maintain the cleanliness of the room and prevent the buildup of dust and other particles.
When selecting ceiling tiles for a cleanroom, it’s necessary to consider factors such as the type of material, the level of cleanliness required, and the ease of maintenance.
One popular ceiling tile used in cleanrooms is PVC (polyvinyl chloride) tiles. The global polyvinyl chloride tiles market is growing substantially due to its multipurpose usage, including cleanrooms. According to Reports and Data, the market worldwide was valued at approximately $33 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% in the coming years.
PVC tiles are also resistant to damage from chemicals and temperature changes, making them suitable for cleanrooms.
Proper lighting can help to reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge (ESD) and other potential hazards. Lighting is a crucial aspect of building a cleanroom for the ESD environment, as it plays a vital role in maintaining cleanliness and visibility within the room.
One type of lighting commonly used in cleanrooms is fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting is energy-efficient and produces minimal heat, which helps to keep the room cool and reduces the risk of ESD. It also has a long lifespan and is easy to maintain.
It’s also important to consider the placement of the lighting fixtures, as they should provide the best visibility without creating shadows. Additionally, the lighting fixtures should be easy to clean and maintain, to ensure that they do not become a source of contamination.
Make Sure the Cleanroom is Well Equipped to Withstand Potential Hazards
Building a cleanroom for ESD environment requires careful consideration. By understanding key considerations and taking the necessary steps to address them, you can ensure that your cleanroom is properly designed and equipped to minimize the risk of potential hazards.
With the right design, materials, and equipment, you can have a cleanroom that is safe, efficient, and capable of meeting the demands of the industry.