The modern-day cleanroom was invented by the Sandia National Laboritories physicist, Willis Whitfield in 1962. Whitfield’s “laminar flow” cleanroom revolutionized the microelectronics, pharmaceutical, aerospace and many other industries who all depend on cleanroom technology.
“By the end of 1960, Whitfield had his initial drawings for a 10-by-6 cleanroom. His solution was to constantly flush out the room with highly filtered air. In that first model, Whitfield designed a workbench along one wall. Clean air entered the room from a bank of filters that were 99.97 percent efficient in removing particles larger than 0.3 microns. For example, cigarette smoke blown in one side comes out the other as clean air, according to a 1962 Sandia Lab News article.
The air is circulated in the room at a rate of 4,000 cubic feet or about 10 changes of air per minute, an amount of air movement that is barely perceptible to the workers inside. The linear speed of air is slightly more than 1 mph, which is about the same as that felt walking through a still room.
In a later modification, the air was passed down over the work area instead of across, getting an assist from gravity in carrying troublesome particles into the floor, which was covered with grating. Filters underneath clean the air and it is circulated back around to re-enter the room. The constant flow of clean air performs a sweeping function.
When the first cleanroom was tested “the dust counters went to nearly zero. We thought they were broken,” Whitfield said in a 1993 videotaped interview at Sandia.” Read the full article here.
Microtek, Inc. now has a certified cleanroom that complies to ISO 14644-1 Class 7 (Formerly 209E Class 10,000). The existing tenant space has been converted to a cleanroom using high efficient terminal HEPA filtration with low-wall returns for vertical, unidirectional air flow. Our employees enter the cleanroom through a single pass gowning area, certified to ISO 14644-1 Class 8. They follow proper procedures to move from the dirty side to clean side of the gowning area with proper garments and hand sanitization before entering the cleanroom. Microtek will be self testing the cleanroom on a monthly basis with 3rd party re-certification annually.
The cleanroom will be home to Microtek’s key maufacturing and automation equipment. Details and data sheets can be found here.