Keeping your cleanroom operating properly is a key factor in making sure your manufacturing processes and company can meet the demands to produce value to your customers as well as maintaining a high yield in your throughput. A common place where bottlenecks can occur is when your cleanroom is not properly maintained. Here are 4 major issues where your cleanroom can become the source of contamination, resulting in lower yields:
1- Starting with a poor design One of the most overlooked aspect of cleanroom failure is in the design stage. It is very important that as you plan out your cleanroom and the requirements it will need to meet you also want to think about the process or workflow your employees will use while performing tasks within the cleanroom and make sure the room is designed and set up properly to allow this workflow to occur without interruption.
Is the space the proper size and dimensions for the workflow?
Do we have enough resources for the stations and demand of the workflow?
How will we handle proper airflow and temperature when our workflow is running at its peak?
2- Building/constructing your cleanroom while maintaining a clean environment Building clean while constructing your cleanroom is one of the fundamental aspects of cleanroom construction. Keeping a clean environment during construction can save you many hours of trouble shooting the source of contaminants in your existing cleanroom. This follows by constant daily cleanup, use of proper HEPA vacuums, and maintaining the proper cleanroom protocol level during construction.
3- Hygiene practices of the personnel The number one issue that causes cleanroom misuse is the personnel who are using it. Studies show they account for 70-80% of the issues around contamination. Make sure they not only follow proper procedures when entering and exiting the cleanroom but also think through their personal hygiene habits.
Are the washing themselves properly?
Do they smoke or use hygiene items that give off odors?
How do we know if proper procedures are being followed?
Are they following proper gowning procedures?
4- Keeping up with the cleanroom protocol and housekeeping It is common over time that materials used to construct your cleanroom can wear out over time or degrade on their own. A common example would be adhesives or caulks used to seal parts of the room can break down with exposure to light or heat.
Make sure you have a routine check of the cleanroom to determine any updates/repairs that will need to be completed to ensure your cleanroom will function properly.
Even with the best efforts it is common for cleanrooms to end up with an accumulation of dust or other particles due to uses in the room as well as outside environmental factors such as wildfire smoke or dust. Making sure your company has a well thought out cleaning procedure to make sure the room is cleaned and maintained will limit the issues caused by these contaminants.