Manufacturing products like medical equipment, electronics and pharmaceuticals often require clean, sanitary spaces to protect them against potentially contaminating airborne particulates. Clean rooms and controlled environments are areas specifically designed for this purpose. While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important differences between the two settings.
A controlled environment, also known as a critical environment, is an area established to fit specific parameters. These spaces can include a segregation-, pressure- or temperature-controlled environment. They typically do not need to meet strict particle contamination requirements. A warehouse cooler or freezer room are examples of controlled environments. Read the Hansen Storage Case Study on how high-speed doors reliably control freezer temperatures.
A clean room is also an environmentally controlled room, although it must meet more stringent particle contamination standards. Like controlled environments, these areas must be isolated from the rest of the facility. However, they require further classification by a maximum number of airborne particulates, generally measured in the concentration of materials per cubic meter.
In short, the purpose of a clean room is to keep all potential contaminants away from the products or materials within them. They require regular testing at designated intervals to ensure the air maintains the desired cleanliness levels. These rooms also need additional resources like air, energy and technology to maintain their sanitary condition.
Combining these spaces with washdown environments is often necessary for manufacturing equipment used for food, beverage and pharmaceutical industry applications. Washdown techniques entail cleaning the machinery by hand or via mechanized processes consisting of a precise mixture of water and chemicals.
Examples of the most appropriate materials for washdown processes include 300 and 400 Series stainless steel, aluminum and electroless nickel coatings, and various polymers, plastics and fillers. Equipment used in washdown environments must meet the applicable rating standards. High-speed doors are crucial when separating and controlling access to these environments. Products such as FASTRAX WASH DOWN or LITESPEED WASH DOWN set the standard in washdown door performance.
While clean rooms and controlled environments are similar, the appropriate choice between the two depends on several factors. Because controlled environments place more of an emphasis on atmospheric conditions, they’re better suited for manufacturing applications where maintaining precise temperature or humidity levels is essential. These areas let you maintain the stable environment your processes demand.
A clean room is the better option for applications requiring a predetermined level of decontamination or filtration to comply with specific standards. These spaces can help ensure you maintain a safe and sterile environment throughout the process and meet all applicable regulatory requirements.
At King Materials Handling, we represent Rite-Hite’s industry-leading selection of cold storage, clean room and washdown doors. You can trust us to meet your company’s manufacturing standards. Our products come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, enabling you to purchase with confidence and peace of mind.
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