Ensuring Contamination Control in Clean Manufacturing Environments
In clean manufacturing environments, two aspects of molecular contamination need to be understood: (1) the background levels of contamination existing under stable conditions, and (2) the elevated concentrations that occur during contamination events.
A new approach to monitoring both aspects of molecular contamination is presented. Recent technical advances have made it feasible to perform continuous, real-time monitoring of critical locations in clean manufacturing environments with significant advances in sensitivity and stability. These improvements are realized by using a small, low-cost monitor that is dedicated to continuously monitoring a single, critical location.
Additionally, a distinction needs to be made between critical and non-critical environments. Critical locations are those where either processes or products are directly at risk for damage from molecular contamination or where a known potential contamination source exists. Non-critical contamination areas are typically cleanroom environmental monitoring and return air monitoring. Contamination levels in these areas do not have as direct of an impact on products and processes, but are indicative of general cleanliness. Optimal monitoring solutions for critical and non-critical locations need to be implemented as part of a complete facility monitoring system.