5 Key Principles of Cleanroom Particle Counting

courtesy of Particle Measuring Systems 

Cleanroom particle counting is essential for accurate functioning and meeting certification criteria in controlled environments. In this blog post, we take a look at five key principles
of cleanroom particle counting, exploring the significance of each principle and how it contributes to maintaining the safety and quality of products manufactured in such environments.

 

1. Understanding Particle Sizes and Concentration Limits

To start with, the concentration of particles in the air must be kept below accepted limits to meet cleanroom certification requirements. The cleanroom class, particle size being tested,
and cleanroom operation all influence these limits. In most cases, particle sizes range between 0.1 µm and 5 µm, posing unique challenges for maintaining controlled environments.

Cleanrooms are classified according to the ISO 14644-1 standard, which provides a standardized approach to how the cleanliness level of a cleanroom is defined. These standards
allow us to set appropriate particle concentration limits for each cleanroom class, ensuring uniformity and consistency across various industries.

2. Selecting the Right Particle Counter

The particle counter model used plays a crucial role in accurate cleanroom particle counting. Different types of particle counters are available, including handheld, inline, and
portable models, each catering to specific cleanroom requirements.

Handheld particle counters offer ease of use and mobility, allowing operators to quickly perform spot checks at various locations within the cleanroom. Inline particle counters,
offer continuous monitoring capabilities, providing real-time data for immediate action. Portable particle counters are ideal for flexible monitoring setups, capable of covering
larger cleanroom areas.

When selecting a particle counter, factors such as flow rate, location sampling, and compatibility with the cleanroom’s classification must be considered.
Proper matching of the particle counter to the specific cleanroom requirements enhances the accuracy and effectiveness of particle counting processes.

3. Continuous Particle Counting

Many cleanroom facilities measure particle counts periodically, but continuous non-viable particle counting is essential for maintaining stringent cleanroom standards.
Non-viable particles can act as carriers for airborne bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants, posing potential risks to both products and personnel.

Continuous monitoring provides real-time data on particle counts, allowing immediate detection and response to any deviation from cleanroom standards.
By adopting continuous particle counting, cleanroom operators can swiftly address any contamination issues, ensuring a consistently clean environment.

4. Proper Sampling Techniques

Accurate particle counts are heavily reliant on proper sampling techniques. ISO 14644-1 guidelines offer comprehensive direction for determining
the required number of sampling locations, sample volumes, and more.

At each sampling location, an adequate volume of air must be sampled to ensure that a minimum of particles would be detected. Following these guidelines
enhances the reliability of particle count data and allows for meaningful comparisons across different cleanroom areas.>

5. Monitoring and Diagnosing Contamination

Particle counters play a vital role in monitoring and diagnosing particle contamination within cleanrooms. By regularly analyzing
particle counts, operators can identify potential sources of contamination and validate the efficiency of filtration systems.

Continuous monitoring supports establishing trends and patterns, enabling the timely implementation of corrective actions.
Proactive contamination management ensures consistent adherence to cleanroom standards, minimizing the risk of product
defects and ensuring the safety and quality of the products produced.

 

Particle Measuring Systems and Cleanroom Particle Counting

Integrating these relatively simple principles into cleanroom practices can yield numerous benefits across the entire product chain. Better and safer industry
standards enable manufacturers to safeguard product integrity to assure the highest quality levels for end-users. 

At Particle Measuring Systems, we offer complete cleanroom contamination monitoring solutions. We aim to empower users to gain critical insights that
ultimately drive process efficiency and quality. This means offering a portfolio of remote and portable airborne particle counters specifically designed for
the stringent demands of cleanroom environments.