Cleanrooms are essential for ESD environments. Dirty air and tiny particles can cause static discharge and damage sensitive electronics. But when designing a cleanroom for ESD environments, it’s crucial to know what you need to be successful. This article will go through all the considerations you should remember when building a cleanroom for ESD environments.
What is an Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)?
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two objects when they are brought into contact. An ESD event can occur when two objects with different electrical charges come into contact.
For example, a person wearing an antistatic wrist strap touches a circuit board that has been grounded to minimize static charge buildup. However, it creates an imbalance in electric potential between the two objects that result in current flowing through them.
A common misconception is that it’s always necessary to wear proper grounding equipment when working around sensitive electronic components. However, while it’s true that maintaining proper grounding practices can help reduce ESD events, they aren’t always necessary if you’re working in an ESD environment.
Location of a Cleanroom is Crucial for ESD Environments
The location of your cleanroom is the most important factor in ensuring that you will not experience damage from ESD. It is because it should be placed where there is no possibility of electrostatic discharge (ESD) damage to other equipment.
ESD cleanrooms should also be located away from air conditioning, HVAC, and other electrical equipment and near non-conductive floors and walls to avoid creating static electricity on these surfaces. If you have high-humidity areas in your manufacturing or office building, ensure that these areas are at least 20 feet away from ESD cleanrooms.
Cleanrooms are becoming one of the essentials in many industries like pharmaceutical companies, health centers, and food manufacturing units. It is why the cleanroom technology market in North America is surging to new heights. According to Business Market Insights, the market is expected to reach approximately $3024 million by 2028 with a CAGR of around 7%.
Select Antistatic Flooring
Antistatic flooring is a product that meets the stringent requirements for ESD environments. Antistatic flooring used in cleanrooms and other ESD environments provides an appropriate surface for workers to stand without causing static electricity discharge or accumulation.
It is the responsibility of the facility or the organization to take care of their workers and provide them with all the safety tools required during work. The working fatality rate in the US is relatively lower than in other developing countries, but still, it was 3.6 per 100,000 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To prevent static electricity buildup and discharge, you should ensure that your walls are grounded with high-quality material. The standard paper products found in most office buildings are insufficient since they do not conduct electricity well enough to be considered safe.
Consider Installing an Ionization System in Your Cleanroom
If you are about to build a cleanroom, you must consider installing an ionization system for your facility. You can use ionization systems in several ways, but the most common use is for removing static charges from sensitive electronics.
It is crucial when it comes to ESD control since these cleanrooms require electrostatic discharge (ESD) prevention measures to protect the products being manufactured or stored there.
You can install ionization systems in many different ways depending on what kind of environment they’re being used in. However, most of them employ corona discharge wands that help remove static charge from people entering and exiting rooms containing sensitive equipment. It ensures no damage is caused while they move around inside those areas.
Be Sure to Choose the Correct Work Surfaces for Your Cleanroom
It’s also necessary to choose the correct work surfaces for your cleanroom. Work surfaces should be made of materials resistant to static electricity since static can cause particles to stick to them and get blown into the air onto other objects. They should withstand repeated cleaning with chemicals and high-pressure steam cleaning. Finally, they must be easy to clean.
To ensure these requirements are met by your chosen work surfaces, consult an ESD cleanroom design and construction expert.
Another important consideration is the cleanliness of the environment. It includes factors such as dust levels and temperature, and air quality. The contamination in your cleanroom will determine how often it needs to be cleaned.
Don’t Forget to Design an Efficient Air Filtration System for Your Cleanroom
It’s important to remember that the air filtration system is one of the most critical parts of your cleanroom environment. As per the EPA, a HEPA filter will go best because it can filter 99.97% of pollen, bacteria, dust, and mold of size less than 0.3 microns.
Air filters are essential for any ESD control strategy and must be changed regularly to ensure they remain effective.
Additionally, filters should also be cleaned regularly, so there is no buildup of dust or debris on them that could prevent them from doing their job. Filters should also be tested regularly using particle counters to ensure that they work effectively before being replaced.
Use Wire-Reinforced Fabric for the Walls and Ceilings
One of the most significant features of ESD cleanroom wall and ceiling coverings is that they are made from wire-reinforced fabric. This material consists of synthetic fiber, which has a high resistance to electrostatic discharge.
Wire-reinforced fabrics are also fire retardant, which means they have a low smoke generation rate in case combustible materials are contained inside them. Using this material as an ESD room covering will help prevent sparks from igniting any flammable substances inside your cleanroom space.
Wire-reinforced fabrics come in different shapes and sizes. Some are used as wall coverings, while others are designed for ceiling surfaces or flooring purposes. You should select the right kind based on where it will be applied inside your custom cleanroom design project.
Fire Issues in ESD Environments
When you’re working in an ESD environment, the fire risk is higher than in other work environments. It is because there’s a lot of static electric charge in the air, which can cause sparks if two materials are rubbed together. It also means that you should consider how to reduce the risk of fire when building cleanrooms for ESD environments.
If you have a very high level of static electricity on your cleanroom floor and walls, then cleaning them regularly may be one way to help control those levels. Another thing that might help is using antistatic sprays or powders during cleaning sessions.
These will allow any electrical charges on surfaces to dissipate safely rather than build up until they reach dangerous levels.
Cleanrooms are Essential for ESD Environments
When it comes to ESD environments, cleanrooms are an essential part of the process. Cleanrooms are specifically designed to be free from particles and contaminants. They are used in manufacturing and research because they can maintain a controlled environment that keeps out particles and contaminants.
A cleanroom is a safe environment where workers can work on electronic components without being affected by static electricity. Cleanrooms help to prevent electrostatic discharge from damaging sensitive electronic equipment, helping to maintain the quality of electronic goods.