What is Clean Room
A clean room is a controlled working environment where the concentration of airborne particles and contamination is carefully regulated and maintained within specified limits. It is an essential requirement in various manufacturing units, including semiconductor production, pharmaceuticals, PCB manufacturing, scientific research, manufacturing centers, testing facilities, and other critical environments where even minimal contamination can have detrimental effects.
A clean room can minimize the presence of particles, such as dust, dirt, bacteria, and other contaminants, that could potentially interfere with the manufacturing or research processes. These particles can negatively impact the quality and reliability of electronic components, particularly in the PCB industry, where precision and cleanliness are crucial.
To ensure the required level of cleanliness, any contamination generated by human movement, manufacturing or research processes, and equipment must be effectively controlled or removed. This involves implementing various measures, such as air filtration systems, proper gowning procedures for personnel, regular cleaning and maintenance of equipment, and strict adherence to cleanliness protocols.
Clean rooms are classified based on the maximum allowable number of particles per cubic foot of air at various particle sizes, with Class 1 being the most stringent. The Federal Standard 209E is a widely followed clean room standard and guideline that provides specific classifications for clean rooms and outlines requirements for air filtration, air change rates, and other parameters to maintain the desired cleanliness level.
Clean rooms in the PCB industry are typically equipped with specialized HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems that incorporate high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These filters are capable of removing particles as small as 0.3 micrometers in size, ensuring a clean and controlled environment.
In addition to air filtration, clean rooms may also feature other measures to minimize contamination, such as anti-static flooring, controlled access systems, and strict protocols for material handling and waste disposal. These measures help prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD) and ensure that only authorized personnel with proper attire and equipment can enter the clean room.