While these three terms sometimes are used interchangeably they can also be used to classify three different types of research and manufacturing facilities that your company may need.
Laboratory- Little to no environmental control
A laboratory is often used to describe a facility where research, experiments, and testing can occur. Sometimes laboratories do not need to follow rigorous guidelines for cleanliness or air quality and could be used in a more normal way. Laboratories at schools sometimes qualify for this designation.
Controlled Environment room- Strong control of key aspects of the environment
A Controlled Environment room is a room where the airflow, temperature, humidity, air pressure, etc is being specifically controlled to prevent issues with the work going on inside. Laboratories built to this standard are high quality labs and can provide a higher quality product or research. It is very common to find Laboratories in Manufacturing, semi conductor, Pharmaceutical, University Labs, and other related industries.
Clean room- Total control of all factors of the environment
A Clean room is a room that not only controls for the same factors as a controlled environment but will also work to control particles of any type down to a certain size as well as prevent the contamination of chemical or biological agents within the room as per the standards and guidelines that need to be met. Clean rooms are designed for maximum control of the environment to make sure the results of the work in the room will not be affected from outside influences to increase the overall production yield.
So which level of environment control do you need?
The answer to this question must be first looked at from a standpoint of regulations and laws as well the processes involved. Many industries require certain standards to be met for their facilities. For example, packaging medical devices must meet an ISO standard of class 7 or 8 to be allowed to operate. This is a high standard where a clean room is the better option.
Another example is a metal plating operation does not have to meet the same requirement so having a Laboratory level may be the best.
Checking the laws and regulations that you will be required to meet will be the first best step to decide which level of controlled environment you will need.
Using a Clean room can provide a high degree of quality to your research and manufacturing which can be very beneficial to your business and customers. The high standards of air filtration/contaminant control, personnel requirements for appropriate attire and odors and makeup, waste management, etc can be a large benefit in making sure your business can operate at a high level of quality and offer a competitive advantage to attract more customers and increase the production yield at your facilities.
In some instances using a combination of these three rooms can help you gain the benefits of them while also being budget conscious. The best way to understand what part of your research and manufacturing process can benefit from each of these is to talk with our team of experts who can work with you to design the best way to get the most from your operations.