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Cleaning FAQ

 
 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO MY COMPANY AND ULTIMATELY ME?

Manufacturers concerned with “viable” particles such as the Bio-medical, cosmetics and Pharmaceutical industries know the benefits and necessity of daily decontamination of their cleanrooms. It is not an option, it is a requirement to ensure a product safe for the human body. A Clean product ensures higher production yields that directly relate to higher profits. In companies concerned with non-viable particles, one needs to weigh the benefits of a cleaner room against the potential yield increases. A 1% increase in yields in the semi-conductor process may be worth 50 million annually in revenues. Computer rooms depend on a dust free plenum from which clean cool air is introduced into the rooms. Gross contamination may lead to clogged circuitry, down time and fire risks. ACM’s staff of trained particle technicians clean and disinfect your cleanroom and controlled environments to ensure that you realize maximum potential. This service includes daily, weekly and monthly cleaning and disinfecting, construction cleaning and super-cleans. ACM Associates are skilled in writing your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for you; effortless control.

WHY CLEAN THE ROOM, AFTER ALL, IT’S A CLEANROOM ISN’T IT?

This was the most popular question when Ford started the business to clean cleanrooms in 1980. The accumulation of dust that one sees even after a day is a combination of factors. Humans contribute a large amount of the contamination in a cleanroom. Manufacturing Processes contribute contamination. And particles smaller than what the filters filter add particles. Small particles are charged and combine with other charged particle to form particles that are eventually large enough for the human eye to see.

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HOW DOES ACM REMOVE PARTICLES?

ACM technicians thoroughly clean your cleanroom and controlled environments to remove particles and bacteria on cleanroom surfaces. The size particle and the type of microorganism to which the product is vulnerable and the mechanism of particle retention to the surface must to be considered when developing a cleaning program to remove particles. Small particles are more difficult to remove because of electro-static charges, ionic attraction, humidity, gravity, and Van der Waal molecular forces, adhesion and entrapment. Particles greater than 25 microns in diameter are usually at rest and may be removed with a vacuum cleaner featuring adequate efficiencies unless the particles are trapped in an uneven surface or a surface that was contaminated by an oil or adhesive. Particles that are 25 to 10 microns in diameter are removed by using solutions that will wet the particles. Smaller particles may require more attention such as; physical force, ultrasonic waves or solvents or a combination of methods to remove them. Whatever your decontamination requirements, ACM Technicians find the best application for particle removal.

HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET LOW PARTICLE COUNT READINGS WHEN DUST IS PRESENT ON THE LEDGES?

Currently, this is the most popular question asked. Particle counts are taken perpendicular to the air stream, usually at working height. Some systems actually monitor the particle counts within 6 inches of the filter face. In either case, only clean undisturbed air is sampled. Particle generation occurs with movement. Humans, temperature and humidity, earth movements and molecular activities cause the particles on surfaces to move and become potential contamination.

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WHAT ROOM SURFACES ARE CLEANED?

To eliminate potential contamination, all cleanroom surfaces; rafters, interstitial spaces, duct work, plenum areas, ceiling panels, T-bars, lighting, ionizing grids, return air vents, walls, windows, work stations, equipment surfaces, cabinets, sinks, shelves, furniture, doors, pass-throughs, air locks, floor mats, floors and raised floors, and sub fabs require periodic cleaning.

HOW IS THE CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT CLEANED?

ACM Technician’s have been trained to clean all cleanroom surfaces using its cleaning methodology; top-down starting at the cleanest end of the cleanroom space to the least clean, and working your way out of the room. ACM Technicians’ methods ensure that the maximum amount of particles are captured and the least amount of cross-contamination occurs.

AND WHAT ABOUT SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT?

Cleanroom supplies must be selected to meet the cleaning and disinfecting demands and eliminate recontamination. Cleanroom detergents are ULPA filtered to .1 microns. Disinfectants are selected based on bio-contamination, rotation and the commodity produced. The vacuum cleaner exhaust is filtered .1 microns. Wipes are cleanroom approved and chosen for surface compatibility. ACM associates makes suggestions and select the most compatible products that will perform best in your environment in an effort to avoid recontamination.

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HOW DO I KNOW THE SURFACES ARE CLEAN?

There are several ways to know if your room is clean. Visual and surface counts are the most commonly used. By looking at the surface at an angle of approximately 10% with the human eye, one can easily see any particles that exist that were not visible at a glance. When appropriate, ACM uses the Q111 surface particle counter. This counter electronically measures particles on the surface down to molecular levels. ACM’s quality control inspectors perform this work and provide you with documentation.

 

EXTENSIVE CLEANING IS REQUIRED BEFORE FOGGING

Fogging is the vaporization of a solution into the air in an environment where  surface sanitization is a concern. Fogging may be performed in air-ducts, HVAC systems, in labs, equipment and cleanrooms. There are several sanitizing solutions that may be used for fogging. Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), familiar to most people, is one such solution. In short, the technology utilizes the free radicals generated from hydrogen peroxide vapor to kill micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. The process relies on kinetic energy to ensure that the vaporized H2O2 superoxide and hydroxyl radicals are able to effectively contact and deactivate the microorganisms. Once the bio-deactivation process has finished the hydrogen peroxide vapor is catalytically converted to water and oxygen, H2O and O2.

Cleaning and physical characteristics of the room must be taken into account when considering fogging as an element of the sanitization process. As mentioned above, fogging is a surface sanitizer. The vapor must make contact with the microorganisms. Fogging does not clean a surface. The surfaces must be cleaned prior to fogging. If there is gross contamination – e.g. dust, debris, or papers, boxes, wet or moist areas or anything covering a surface to be sanitized – then the efficacy of the fogging process will be compromised. It should also be noted that certain bacteria can remain viable in dust and debris for long periods. The dust and debris act as an umbrella and protect the microorganisms from direct contact with the vapor. For the fogging to work well, the rooms should be subject to both a Superclean as well as a good Spring cleaning; it is not possible to over-emphasize the importance of a thorough cleaning of the room prior to the fogging process. Likewise, if the vapor cannot penetrate into a particular place then no sanitization will occur. As a result, any unnecessary items should be disposed of and drawers and cabinets cleared. Where items cannot be removed, they should be raised to ensure an air path is available around and underneath them. Equipment such as safety cabinets, fume hoods, laminar flow benches, incubators, freezers, refrigerators, or other equipment will need to be identified to ensure that provisions are made so adequate vapor reaches these areas.

In summary, a thorough cleaning must be performed prior to any fogging actions. Fogging is no substitute for cleaning. If there is gross contamination – e.g. dust or covered surfaces – then the efficacy of the fogging will be severely reduced. It should also be noted that certain bacteria can remain viable in dust for long periods. Hence, for the sanitization to work well, the rooms should be subject to a Super and Spring clean. It is not possible to over-emphasize the importance of thorough cleaning of the room prior to the fogging process.

 

THIS SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK, HOW DO I CONTACT ACM?

Whether your concerns are viable particles or potential yield increases, ACM Associates will develop a program for you to give you effortless control. Call now and let our team of experts keep your cleanroom operating at peak performance. From three to ten times cleaner, effortlessly!

 
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