Cleanroom environments – protection against particle damage

Aug 9, 2013

​Cleanroom robots are the perfect solution to manufacture a quality product in a cleanroom environment. Cleanroom robots are able to help control the particles or other contaminants that may become released during the application process.


Clean­rooms are envi­ron­ments that are con­trolled against par­ti­cles and oth­er con­t­a­m­i­nants. Prod­ucts that may become com­pro­mised by too many con­t­a­m­i­nants in the air are man­u­fac­tured in these clean­room environments.

Accord­ing to an arti­cle from Coast­Wide Labs, con­t­a­m­i­nants are gen­er­at­ed by peo­ple, process­es, facil­i­ties and equip­ment, and they must be con­tin­u­al­ly removed from the air. That is where the envi­ron­ment of a clean­room comes into play.

The clean­room has scrub­bers that do not let the air get above a cer­tain lev­el of par­ti­cles that are 0.5 microns or larg­er per cubic foot of air. Usu­al­ly, a clean­room will be a class 10, 100, or 1000, mean­ing it only allows up to that many microns per cubic foot of air. To give you a com­par­i­son between a clean­room envi­ron­ment ver­sus an uncon­trolled envi­ron­ment, a typ­i­cal office build­ing has any­where from 500,000 to 1,000,000 par­ti­cles in the air, 0.5 microns or larg­er, per cubic foot of air.

Why do these clean­room envi­ron­ments pro­tect against par­ti­cles that are 0.5 microns or larg­er and lim­it the num­ber in the air? And what is a micron, any­way? Well, to give a com­par­i­son, the arti­cle stat­ed that a human hair is about 75 – 100 microns in diam­e­ter. So, the par­ti­cles that the clean­room pro­tects against are 200 times small­er than a human hair. But, they can cause major disaster.

Prod­ucts made with­in the envi­ron­ments of clean­rooms are sen­si­tive to par­ti­cles in the air, which is why they must be made in this con­trolled envi­ron­ment. When one of these prod­ucts is con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed, it can lead to loss of prof­it for the man­u­fac­tur­er, as well as down­time to inves­ti­gate why the prod­uct was con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed and an increase in pro­duc­tion costs. An exam­ple of a par­ti­cle that did bil­lions in dam­age? Accord­ing to the arti­cle, the par­ti­cle that dam­aged the Hub­ble Tele­scope, mak­ing it unable to per­form, was small­er than 0.5 microns.

It is also impor­tant that if robots are used in clean­room facil­i­ties, that they be spe­cial­ized for clean­rooms. Clean­room robots are spe­cial­ly designed with parts that do not put as many par­ti­cles into the air as their oth­er robot kin.

Robots​.com, a cer­ti­fied inte­gra­tor of clean­room robots from Fanuc, Motoman and KUKA, has sev­er­al mod­els avail­able for use in clean­rooms from class 1 to class 10,000 and beyond. For more infor­ma­tion about automat­ing your clean­room process­es with Robots​.com, con­tact us today online or at 8777626881.

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