Clean Room Certification – ISO 14644

The number of clean room certifications are vast and vary tremendously. ISO 14644 is the most used standard when looking at electronics and pharma manufacturing controlled environments. With this popularity, it has also undergone revisions within the past five years.

No matter the standard, each is divided into classes. The classes are rated from 1 to 9. The class identifies the maximum limit for particulate size and quantity per cubic meter of air. The chart below showcases the size and the quantity breakdown.

Cleanroom Classification Allowable Maximums.

ISO 9 as you can see is the loosest standard. This standard is equivalent to air quality within a city environment. These environments can fit a multitude of manufacturing and are some of the easiest to achieve and abide by. The opposite end of the spectrum, ISO 1 is the strictest and hardest to maintain. There are three main factors when designing for a clean room. These are surfaces, airflow, and employee access.

When selecting surfaces that will be within the environment it is best to choose a surface that will hold up to the level of use as well as not be damaged by the cleaners or solvents being used to ensure the surface is clean. This should carry over into part fixturing and even machine materials of construction as well. This is not always easy and should be a design element to the process and environment.

Airflow within the room is what helps maintain the concentration levels of particulates. Generally, a clean room is positively pressurized to where the pressure within the room is higher than that outside of the room. This results in a positive air exchange, generally this is provided by the HVAC system. Having a system that does not recirculate the air from inside of the room and a substantial filtration system is key. Another type of airflow that can be found within these environments is a blowoff operation for the part or process. When installing a blowoff within a clean room environment it should be confirmed that the materials of construction are compatible with the environment and cleaning processes and that the airflow will not be introducing particulate into the environment which can result in contamination.

Lastly, employee access should be limited to those employees who are trained and necessary to be within the environment. Sometimes if an employee wears the wrong type of deodorant it can effect an entire environment. Even the wrong type of clothing or soap can alter the state of an environment, let alone using a blowoff incorrectly or bringing the incorrect cleaner inside the cleanroom. Access to these areas should be limited and individuals should be well trained to meet the demands of the clean room.

If you would like to discuss your production environment or blowoff application within a clean room, please contact us.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Hey EXAIR, How Do You…?

Years ago it wasn’t uncommon to post a question you have to a website called a forum in order to get help figuring out how to do something. This of course was back when forums were still the rage and videos on the internet were not nearly as popular as they are today. It wasn’t very long after when trying to learn how to do something has now turned into an internet video search and you generally come up with half a dozen people explaining how to do the task at hand. Notice, I didn’t say that they are explaining how to do it well or do it right.

EXAIR started making how-to and tips and tricks videos back in 2010. We have consistently released new videos that cover the vast reaches of our products. Some are more subject matter expert videos, others are tips and tricks / how-to and finally you have the more in depth product knowledge videos.

The best part of this is that our Application Engineers are the ones that made/make them and so you get to see us, hear us discuss the proper way to proceed with products or situations. You can also call and talk to us if there is anything we may have left out. We always look forward to walking through troubleshooting, new installations, or even theoretical applications of products. If you want to look through the videos, you can search here on our blog, you can review them on EXAIR.com or even our YouTube channel.

Feel free to reach out and let us know, we are always here to help.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Importance of ISO-8573 Air Purity Measurement

EXAIR Accessories

ISO-18573 is a standard that classifies contaminants in compressed air which helps to define purity classes for your compressed air system. This ISO standard is international and effectively a guideline to base your site standards and measurement procedures. Although ISO-18573 helps define the class of air within your system there is no legislation in place for absolute compliance. Some industries may have regulatory targets for compliance and this is why understanding ISO-18573 is helpful in understanding compressed air purity.

There are four (4) general categories that need to be removed or lowered when classifying your compressed air system:

  1. Particulate from pipe scale, wear particles, atmospheric dirt…
  2. Moisture from condensation, vapor, aerosol…
  3. Oil from liquid, vapor, aerosol…
  4. Microorganisms

The international standard ISO8573-1:2010 is a compressed air specification that considers these contaminants by providing a range of purity classes for particulate, water and oil. It does not include class for microorganisms.

When discussing “Clean Air” and the purity everyone involved must use a common standard when discussing clean dry air. ISO 8573-1 Purity Classes will standardize your goals making it easier to accomplish and monitor.

EXAIR has filter separators (5 micron) that come in a variety of sizes along with oil removal filters (3 micron) that are used with our products. EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products are used in just about every industry worldwide using different purity levels. If you have questions please contact any Application Engineer here at EXAIR.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

About OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b) for Compressed Air Safety

In February of 1972 OSHA released a standard to improve worker safety when operating handheld compressed air devices being used for cleaning purposes. This directive focuses around human skins permeability. That is, if you were to take an open ended pipe that had compressed air being discharged over 30 psig it can actually push through the skin and create an air embolism.

OSHA’s Directive 29 CFR 1910.242(b)

Air Embolisms are extremely painful, and in extreme cases, can be deadly. The risk associated with an air embolism can be mitigated by following the OSHA directive and reducing the downstream pressure of an air nozzle or nozzle pressure below 30 psi for all static conditions. Dead ending is when the passageway for the air becomes blocked and turns a dynamic flow of air into a static flow. This is in the event the pipe, nozzle, lance, etc. becomes blocked by a human’s body. This is a directive that all Intelligent Compressed Air® products from EXAIR focus on meeting or exceeding.

Our Air Nozzles and Jets video shows a great depiction of how this can be achieved with our engineered design of nozzles. The recessed holes and the fact that there are multiple passages for the air to exit are easy to see on the nozzle. Products like the Super Air Knife may not be so easy to see but the way the air knife cap overlaps prevents the Super Air Knife from being dead ended in the event an operator comes into contact with the discharge air.

Even though this directive was created in 1972 it continues to be at the forefront of industrial environments. I have even been to a custom artwork facility that was effected by this standard because they would use a handheld blowgun to remove dust and debris before matting and framing artwork with glass. They also removed dirt and dust from the frames before paint. This wasn’t your typical manufacturing environment yet they were still held to the same standards and were made safe by implementing engineered solutions such as our Super Air Nozzle.

If you would like to discuss how we can help increase your operator safety and ensure you meet or exceed OSHA 29 CFR 1910.242(b), please contact an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

1 – OSHA Instruction STD 01-13-001 – Retrieved from: https://www.osha.gov/enforcement/directives/std-01-13-001