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CAPITAL COST SAVINGS

Do you know the difference between a cleanroom and a controlled room?

 

If your industry requires assembly under cleanroom conditions you will be well aware of it. ISO 14644-1 "Classification of Air Cleanliness" specifies the different levels of airborne contamination permitted under 6 specification levels. Savings can be made by being sure of what stage of a process requires what level of filtration. Further savings can be made by considering where a controlled area or a controlled room can be used in place of a cleanroom.

The difference between a controlled room and a cleanroom can be determined on the basis of the properties of the ventilation and filtration technology. Where a cleanroom filters out air particles with a maximum size of 5 microns using clean air technology, a controlled room can have air with particles of 600 microns and more that are not filtered in the air but settle on components and work surfaces.

The cleanliness of the air in cleanrooms is measured with particle counters, in a controlled room the components must be washed and extracts from the washing solution inspected under a microscope to establish the size of the particles and levels of contamination.

 

Even though this sounds considerably more complicated, it must be remembered that investment in a cleanroom can be more expensive than investment in a controlled room. Cost factors here are the more expensive stainless steel furnishings and higher purchasing and operating costs of the air technology systems.

Companies that need to equip their production rooms should acquire all the necessary information as to how high the cleanroom category needs to be for the intended usage and carefully consider whether a cleanroom or a controlled room is required. The following table gives an overview of how controlled areas, controlled rooms and cleanrooms are structured.

The cleanliness levels

Cleanliness level 0 Work processes that could be separated are nevertheless performed in the same area.
No cleanliness-orientated fittings. Clean air technology superfluous to requirements.

No classification as clean area
Non-separated zone
Cleanliness level 1

Separated
Work processes are separated from other areas by floor markings, strip curtains or partition walls. An emphasis is placed on cleanliness in this separate area. Persons and materials that come into this area must comply with the cleanliness regulations. No clean air technology is in use.

Classified as controlled area
Separate area, freely accessible
Cleanliness level 2

Closed separate area
Work processes take place in structurally separate rooms or buildings that must fulfil important cleanliness standards. Persons and materials that come into the room are subject to these requirements. Clean air technology is not in use.

Classified as a controlled room
Separate zone, closed
Cleanliness level 3

Closed, separate room with air locks and clean air technology
Work processes take place in structurally separate rooms or buildings that must fulfil strict cleanliness standards. Persons and materials that come into the room via air locks and are subject to these requirements. Particles are filtered from the air with the aid of clean air technologies.

Classified as a cleanroom
Zone with air locks and air filters

 

(Orientated to the content of VDA volume 19 part 2)

Helpful customer guideline for the corresponding products

Example applications You can find a usage recommendation on the product pages for items for cleanrooms and controlled rooms. You can see at a glance if the product is suitable for hygiene areas, controlled rooms and cleanrooms.

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