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  • Writer's pictureCleanroomsUSA

Cleanroom Components and Classification Part 2

Cleanroom Classifications

To classify a cleanroom, it must meet the standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), founded in 1947. The ISO, a voluntary organization, aims to establish international standards covering various aspects of scientific research and delicate business practices. Despite its voluntary nature, ISO standards have become the foundational principles that organizations worldwide adhere to. Over the years, the ISO has created over 20,000 standards for member nations to guide them in working with chemicals, volatile materials, and sensitive instruments.

Class 100 Cleanrooms

Class 100 cleanrooms represent the third-highest classification under Federal Standard 209. To meet these regulations, a Class 100 cleanroom must not exceed 100 particles per cubic foot, with each particle being 0.5 microns or larger. To put this in perspective, the average human hair is approximately 75-100 microns in width.

Due to stringent standards, the materials used to construct Class 100 cleanrooms are limited to those that ensure minimal particle generation. Common materials include white acrylic, steel or stainless steel, aluminum, and polycarbonate. Additionally, the materials entering these cleanrooms are also strictly regulated to maintain cleanliness.

Class 1,000 Cleanrooms

Class 1,000 cleanrooms are environments where the concentration of airborne particles is controlled to never exceed 1,000 particles per cubic foot. This classification is the second-lowest under Federal Standard 209, with the equivalent ISO standard being ISO 6.

Class 1,000 cleanrooms are used in applications such as inspection, patterning, and integration tools, including non-contact profilometry, flip-chip integration, thin-film deposition, and laser micromachining. These cleanrooms are essential in industries like pharmaceuticals, scientific research, medical, electronics, semiconductors, food processing, and industrial manufacturing.

Class 10,000 Cleanrooms

Class 10,000 cleanrooms maintain an airborne particle concentration that does not exceed 10,000 particles per cubic foot. These cleanrooms, like other classes, are named after the maximum number of particles allowed.

The primary function of Class 10,000 cleanrooms is to continuously filter air to protect highly sensitive technologies from contamination. In these cleanrooms, air changes 40-60 times per hour. While this class has fewer stringent regulations regarding cleaning, movement, and clothing, special procedures must still be followed to prevent contamination.

Cleanroom Equipment

Cleanroom equipment includes movable items that are not attached to the walls, floor, or ceiling. This equipment can encompass shoe cleaners, showers, containment hoods, cabinets, monitoring systems, particle counters, spray guns, flow hoods, pass-throughs, and UV disinfection units. Smaller items, such as bottles, dispensers, bags, sheets, disinfectants, gloves, and tape, are also essential and must be sourced from cleanroom suppliers.

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