Cleanroom clothing: The buffer against particles

The highest possible standards as met by the cleanroom full service ensure uncompromising compliance with all requirements on cleanroom textiles.

Cleanroom clothing and cleanroom textiles have to satisfy strict requirements in order to guarantee product safety, which is why elaborate systems of rules and the latest cleanroom clothing are required. However, what little known risks can still lurk in the cleanroom? Read on to find out more. 

Cleanroom: Purity of the air, surfaces and clothing

Cleanrooms are required in far more sectors than many people would initially assume: in the pharmaceutical and medical industries, for biosciences, in the research and production of foodstuffs as well as for the production of semiconductors and in nanotechnology. As the name suggests, these are rooms in which very particular cleanliness rules and hygiene regulations apply. After all, cleanrooms must provide a particularly clean environment to prevent products from being contaminated or research results from being corrupted. This means the concentration of particles in the air and on surfaces must be measured regularly and, in addition, the amount of germs on personnel must also be controlled.

Cleanroom clothing assumes a protective function

The staff who work in cleanrooms present the greatest source of hazards. It is they who bring the outside world into the cleanroom and, in turn, to the products via particles which adhere, for example, to the skin, hair and body as well as via bacteria and germs which live on the body or which are exhaled. 
Cleanroom clothing thus performs an important protective function: it acts as a barrier between the person and cleanroom product. The textiles have to satisfy certain specific requirements. Take the material for example: the material must be woven in such a way that it retains particles from the carrier and does not shed fibres into the outside world. This enables a cleanroom suit to function as a buffer.

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Hidden contamination sources despite cleanroom clothing

Yet despite cleanroom suits, risks still lurk in many cleanrooms. Take, for example, the following case: A cleanroom employee gets up in the morning, puts on his trousers and T-shirt, briefly strokes his cat and then goes to work.

In the changing room, he puts his cleanroom suit on over his normal clothing. The particles, e.g., the cat hairs, are thus ‘trapped’ in the suit. Nevertheless, the employee presents a potential hazard source: If the employee makes certain movements, the animal hairs which are stuck to his T-shirt can poke through the cleanroom clothing thereby presenting the risk of contamination. Alternately, his movements at work could create a pump effect which serves to expel the cat hairs out of the neckline of the clothing and into the cleanroom air.

Undergarments as an additional buffer

So how can cat hair be prevented from entering the cleanroom? The answer is: Undergarments. Special items of clothing which are worn under the cleanroom suit instead of normal clothing offer a number of advantages and not just in terms of comfort and convenience. Tests have shown how contamination in the cleanroom is affected by normal street clothing. The result: The particle concentration in the cleanroom can drop by more than half when staff wear cleanroom undergarments. 

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Experts for cleanroom clothing

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CWS-boco/Initial Cleanrooms is an expert in the field of cleanroom textiles. We implement a comprehensive solution from A to Z for cleanroom clothing and textiles: We adapt the clothing together with the team and check it for any defects before decontamination.

As part of our rental service, we also collect the cleanroom textiles and decontaminate and sterilise them as required. In doing so, we ensure compliance with the various rules and standards, e.g., ISO Classes and GMP guidelines.

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Cleanroom clothing: Our gold standard

In addition to this, with the gold standard we have developed our own internal quality standard based on best practices from all European cleanroom sites. Within the scope of this standard, we have defined ideal processes for example for washing machines, measuring devices and test methods. With our gold standard, which we are continually developing, we are committed to operating our cleanroom sites in line with the very highest of standards. Moreover, thanks to our unique European emergency concept, we are able to guarantee that our customers receive their clothing even in the event of a production stoppage at one site. On a day-to-day basis this means: even if a laundry should fail completely, no data is lost. 
These measures ensure that all the requirements for the classification of air purity in cleanrooms as per the DIN EN ISO 14644-1 Classes are met. An efficient quality management system, certified to DIN EN ISO 9001, additionally checks all the ongoing processes in the service cycle.

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