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HIRING A CLEANROOM SYSTEMS PROVIDER:
LISTEN CAREFULLY TO THE QUESTIONS POTENTIAL PROVIDERS ASK
Summary: Hiring a cleanroom systems provider is a critical step towards achieving manufacturing success. Many companies offer cleanroom installation services and products. Knowing which company to hire can be confusing because not all companies offer the same types of services. A successful selection strategy involves listening to the kinds of questions they ask, instead of focusing on the products they want to sell...
Cleanroom companies can be as different as night and day. Some companies offer only installation services, while others offer turnkey solutions from design to equipment installation. Some push the products coming from their own tightly controlled manufacturing facilities while others offer a wide range of product solutions. Which approach is best for your facility?
Manufacturing processes that require cleanrooms are also as different as night and day. One process may require strict particle cleanliness at submicron levels while another may require attention to viable vs. non-viable particles. One room may need levels of absolute temperature control while others may allow brief times spent outside the temperature as defined in GMP needs. The term cleanroom can apply to various types of rooms and environments.
Our suggestion: Listen to the kinds of questions your potential cleanroom providers ask. Do they ask all the right questions? Salesmen will often be too quick with product options and approaches, while a professional cleanroom provider will probe for your specific needs. At a minimum, here are a few of the types of questions they should ask…
What is your product and why does it need the benefit of a cleanroom environment? The answers you supply to this most basic understanding of your project will enable a qualified professional to then follow up with other pertinent questions.
Is room cleanliness the driver for manufacturing success, or do you require a combination of many different environmental characteristics?
Do you have a process layout that you are trying to fit into a clean environment, or will your process fit into any standard cleanroom bay? By far, the vast majority of cleanrooms are built to fit either a 2’ x 4’ or 600mm x 1200mm cleanroom standard filter size…but not all.
Will your tool set change constantly, or will you work within a specific tool layout for years with only slight changes? Your answers here will give an experienced cleanroom provider clues as to what types of products will be most appropriate for your needs, especially where cleanroom wall systems are concerned.
Is your process itself clean, or does your process create room contamination as a by-product of the manufacturing process itself? A related question might refer to your worker cleanroom protocol: How clean are your employees when they enter and work in the cleanroom itself?
Is cleanroom cleanliness certification necessary due to government or other manufacturing needs? How have you arrived at your determination of that cleanliness level… or have you?
Does your process involve tools or processes that may be termed monuments? How do they relate to various value streams within/without the cleanroom envelope?
These questions are only a few of the most basic concepts that a cleanroom provider must consider. If your provider doesn’t ask similar questions, you just may be dealing with a salesman.