From high-tech manufacturing to the food and beverage, medical, and pharmaceutical industries, cleanrooms make it possible to process sensitive materials under the strictest conditions. As a leader in custom cleanroom crane technology, we’ll cover what goes into a cleanroom, its numerous benefits, and how the cleanroom industry supports the stringent needs of semiconductor manufacturers.
What Is a Cleanroom?
A cleanroom is a highly managed environment with strict controls over particulates, aerosols, humidity, and other environmental factors. It provides advanced filtration of pollutants, such as dust and even gases, to maintain the cleanest work site possible. This is important for companies manufacturing or researching highly sensitive electronics and perishable items. Sensitive electronics such as semiconductors depend on cleanrooms because they’re highly vulnerable to damage.
Depending on the exact thresholds of the instruments or products being fabricated or handled, custom cleanrooms allow control over a range of variables, such as:
This is achieved with an intricate series of fans, HEPA or ULPA filtration systems, and other specialized HVAC components. These components must be calibrated to function together for the tightest possible controls over all relevant environmental variables within the enclosed workspace.
Specialty equipment must also be used in the cleanroom. ISO 14644-2 (previously FS209E) sets the industry standard with several cleanliness classification levels.
The Vital Role of Cleanrooms in Manufacturing
Manufacturing cleanrooms are vital when high-value components depend on contaminant-free manufacturing. Electromagnetically sensitive components must be built to exact tolerances, and this can only be achieved with strict control over the fabrication, testing, and packaging environments.
Even manufacturing equipment, such as cranes and hoists, must be built to similarly strict standards to reduce contamination. NASA contractors are increasingly designing custom cleanroom equipment to both reduce contamination and make stringent manufacturing procedures possible.
With cleanroom hoists and cranes, cleanrooms can be protected further by reducing or eliminating the need for people to work directly in the room. Cleanroom cranes are also capable of lifting and manipulating objects with exacting, replicable precision.
The cleanroom industry serves numerous other industries, most notably:
- Medical technology
- Food and beverage
In the latter two industries, cleanrooms ensure products are free of contamination before being sold for public consumption.
High-tech industries rely on manufacturing cleanrooms to keep sensitive equipment from being tainted by pollutants. Even small particulates or temperature fluctuations could damage devices with extremely low tolerance thresholds and strict operating conditions, such as semiconductors. Wafers, substrates, and other materials must be assembled with extreme delicacy.
Doing so requires an environment free of environmental contaminants such as dust, chemical vapors, and sometimes even airborne microbes. Depending on the cleanroom’s application, assembly parameters can be set according to specific, allowable contamination levels. It depends on the product being used and which ISO 14644-2 cleanroom classification level is appropriate for the intended use.
Benefits of a Semiconductor Manufacturing Clean Room
A semiconductor cleanroom provides many benefits that would otherwise be impossible or greatly reduced, including:
- Reliable Control
- Faster Production
- Consistent Product Quality
- Repeatable Results
- Safer Working Conditions
- Precision Movement
- Cost Savings
Semiconductor manufacturing is more reliable and replicable with proper cleanroom equipment. Product loss is greatly minimized, for reduced costs and material waste. For engineers, more exact manufacturing techniques become possible, leading to greater innovations.
Cleanroom cranes are the key to consistently replicable semiconductor cleanroom processes, due to their programmability and exacting precision. Other semiconductor manufacturing equipment can be calibrated accordingly, reducing the need for inexact manual processes that introduce unnecessary variables and contaminants into the cleanroom space.
Cleanroom Cranes from American Crane
American Crane’s cleanroom cranes are designed with special shields and components that prevent pollutants and debris from contaminating the room in which they reside, as well as other equipment. They’re also designed with silver ion coatings to prevent microorganism growth, supporting even the strictest long-term cleanroom standards.