Greg Heiland was name as the recipient of the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology 2018 Robert L. Mielke Award, on May 2nd, 2018. This award is given for his efforts to recruit subject matter experts for working groups to ensure that recommended practices retain technical accuracy and relevance to current markets, and for his willingness to volunteer for multiple roles in working groups and conference presentations.
The significance of the award is grounded in what Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) contributes to critical environment practices, policies, processes, and guidelines. IEST is the leading technical, nonprofit membership association that connects professionals who deal with controlled environments. IEST offers technical guidance through International Standards, Recommended Practices, and education programs developed by experts in the fields of contamination control, environmental testing, and nanotechnology facilities. Greg Heiland being a preeminent member and contributor.
When talking about cleanroom wipers, the edge is the primary contaminant source. If your environment requires critically low levels of particle and fiber release, then this blog is for you!
Cleanroom wipers come in a variety of substrates, and each has different levels of contamination based on the edges. For example, a Polyester wiper with a knife cut edge will release fibers during the application. The “knife-cut edge” method consists of using a steel blade to cut the fabric… this method can leave a certain amount of threads in the wiper open and loose and can lead to particulate contamination in your cleanroom.
Training new employees can be challenging, especially if you are consistently bringing in new hires. If you do not have a strict system in place or a team just for training, relevant topics can quickly be pushed to the side, leaving your critical environment at risk of contamination. Lucky for you, Valutek developed a complete training to solve this problem; and better yet, it's completely free. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions:
Critical Academy is full of the best training that is current to today's IEST standards.
How long is it?
New operators can expect to finish Critical Academy in about a day. There are quizzes that they must pass to make sure they are learning the material.
What do I need?
Nothing. That's the best part about Critical Academy. We went ahead and built a kit to help make this successful for you. To get the kit, all you have to do is let us know how many you want and where to send them to.
What does it look like?
Great questions! This whole training is full of quick and simple videos. You can check out the screenshot below to get a better idea.
Why am I not enrolled?
Well...we were wondering that too?
Click the button below to grab a seat!
You might have read that title and said: "why would clean room operators want to have a Red Solo Cup in the lab"? Maybe the right question to ask is, how do I reduce solvent exposure for my operators? We get this question a lot from Environmental Health and Safety staff because exposure to these solvents can be a severe issue. I'll get back to the Red Solo Cup soon.
When it comes to choosing new gloves for your cleanroom, the options can be very overwhelming. There are many choices to be made, from different materials to colors and textures. While glove trends come and go, the one constant in all the changes is the use of latex as the material. That is why we have put together a list of some advantages and disadvantages of latex to bring attention to why it has been around for so long.
Ever wonder if you're a good cleanroom operator? Put your knowledge to the test and find out now!
Didn't do so hot? Check out ourFREE Critical Academy to help boost those scores!
Latex has been a leading material in the disposable glove industry for a very long time. During the years 1980-2000, Latex had the best cost/performance ratio to any material available. Latex is both durable and easy to manufacture. Times have changed since its reign, but latex is still a very prominent element when it comes to making disposable gloves. Especially, in the cleanroom.
Normally, when we ship out an order we are under the impression that our consumables are going to be used in a very critical environment. But this past week we were reminded that our products can make a big impact outside of the cleanroom as well! Ms. Gilkey's 7th grade students in Austin, Texas combined their art skills with science and drew the different anatomy systems on our coveralls. This was a great way to map out the human body, key into art talents (our coveralls work well with paint and Sharpies, by the way) and use our garments in a new and innovative way! Our Director of Marketing, Jeff Saville, said "It's always a great day at Valutek when we get to support STEM efforts within schools!" Here's a look at what the Harmony School students created.
Keeping your pre-wetted wipers wet is not always as easy as it sounds. The use, the packaging, the solution can all have an effect on how long it takes for the wipers to dry out. Today, we are going to talk about the packaging that they come in and how that can be the cause of your dry wipers. Most pre-wetted wipers either come in a pouch or a pail. The major differences between these two options are obvious, but there are some differences that you might not consider. In a pouch with a sticker seal, the alcohol can deteriorate the sticker making it lose its adhesive glue. So, when you go to close the wiper pouch, the sticker does not seal and the outgassing continues. Another pouch option is one with a zipper seal. This is better than the sticker option, but it leaves room for error. If there is air still stuck in the pouch, that can aid in the drying out process as well. The best way to ensure your wipers stay wet it by keeping them in a pail. The biggest advantage to the pail is the guaranteed air tight closure every time. This is not something that can be guaranteed by the pouches.
To learn more about keeping your pre-wetted wipers wet, watch the video below!
One of the most common ways to cut corners in a cleanroom is by buying generic consumables for your operators. While this can prove to be a great way to save money, it is not a sure way to prevent contamination. Generic consumables can have hidden contamination and fillers that make the product look clean but releases contamination when used. For some, this can be easily managed but for others it can stop production and temporarily close. To learn more about a mismatch set in a cleanroom watch the video below or give us a call!
Buying new wipers for your cleanroom can be very challenging. You have to consider the budget, the material, the color, the absorbency, and so much more. Thats why we have compiled a list that goes over the 5 basics that you should always consider when buying new wipers.
The cost of the wiper is dependent on a lot of factors. Your supplier should be able to provide you with the cost of each wiper. If you are looking for the cheapest wiper, you will be sacrificing a few things. But if that does not bother you, then that is ok! It all just depends on priorities.
Capacity refers to the amount of liquid that the wipe is able to hold. There are different ways that the wipe can hold onto liquid. Some are absorbent, meaning that they will soak up the liquid and hold it within. Some are adsorbent, meaning that the liquid will get trapped in between the interlocking pattern of the material.
The cleanliness of the wiper is a little harder to navigate. There are materials that are cleaner than others and are very reliable. We always recommend that you test your new products, no matter what they are.
4. Chemical Compatibility
The chemical compatibility is very important because you want to have a wiper that will be sturdy with the material of your wiper. Some materials and chemicals do not pair well together and that is something that should always be considered.
The construction of your wiper refers to the weave and cut of your wiper. There is a lot of different options when it comes to these, each offering something more than the next. Pay close attention when picking these out. You want to make sure that you are choosing the right fit for your environment.
To learn more about these 5 C's of wiper selection, watch the video below!
Is your clean room wiper hot? No, we don't mean temperature wise, we mean ESD wise. There are two types of cleanroom wipers: static dissipative and conductive. A conductive wiper will hold onto static, thus making it a hot wiper. A static dissipative wiper does not make or hold onto static, so it cannot be considered hot. Static is something that everyone in the cleanroom industry wants to avoid but is not something most think of when it comes to wipers.
What makes a wiper hot?
A wiper can get hot from the packaging and material. If your wiper is not vacuum sealed with solution inside, the conditions around the wiper can make it hot. Packaging, humidity, and temperature are all contributors to this.
What keeps a wiper from getting hot?
Adding solution, like alcohol and ultra pure water, can help to keep the static at bay. Vacuum sealing the wipers can also help because it does not allow the wipers to move around and rub on each other.
To learn more about hot wipers, watch the video below!
What is the number one contaminant source in your cleanroom? Your operators. It's not that your operators don't care about keeping contamination at bay, but people make mistakes. They are the ones that go in and out of the cleanroom, and contamination is bound to sneak in. This weeks video goes over the best practices to help your operators keep contamination out of your critical environment.
There are a lot of step that are required to enter a cleanroom. Here are the 5 steps that you can take to be a cleanroom super star!
1. No Smoking
Smoking before you enter a cleanroom can bring in contamination. There is residue that will stick to your fingers and the smoke will linger in your lungs. Even though you cannot see the contamination, it could still be there.
2. Always Ask Questions
Asking questions is very important. You cannot just assume that something is clean or will work. Double check with your manager before you change anything.
3. No Food or Gum
Food and gum cannot be in the cleanroom. The possibility of dropping crumbs is just too great when you are working in such a critical environment.
4. No Cellphones
Cellphones need to be left outside of the cleanroom as well. They are a great place to house contamination and are not easily cleaned. Plus, gloves do not work well with smartphones and this might prompt you to remove them.
5. Wearing Apparel Properly
Putting the apparel on correctly is very important, but keeping it on correctly is even more important. Letting some slip or fall off is a huge risk for contamination. Make sure that everything fits correctlyy before entering the cleanroom.
When you are buying new wipers there is a lot to consider. Similar to gloves you have to consider the 5 C's: cost, capacity, cleanliness, chemical compatibility, and construction. On-top of the 5 C's you also have to worry about the edge treatment that you choose to use in your critical environment. There are a lot of different options for you to choose from:
Pressure Heat-Sealed: This is used for synthetic wipers and is accomplished by forming a flat edge on the wiper that eliminates any stray threads from being exposed. This is the cleanest of all edge treatments.
Ultrasonic-Sealed: This is superior to laser sealed because it delivers a softer edge with a lower carbon level. An ultrasonic sealed edge is thinner than the substrate.
Laser Sealed: This allows for particulate retention because the laser uses heat to seal the edge of the wiper. This is superior in cost and precision.
Wire Cut: This uses a hot wire similar to the way a poll bag is heat-sealed. The border is not as clean as a laser cut or heat sealed edge, but it much lower in cost.
Cold Knife Cut: This uses a steal blade to cut the fabric. This method can leave a lot of fibers on the wiper and can lead to contamination when used.
To learn more about wiper selection watch the video below or visit our wiper section here.
People want to the cleanest products in their cleanrooms and critical environments. But what are you supposed to do when the terminology is used interchangeably? Low lint, low fiber and low particle wipers are all very different and mean different things, yet are commonly used in the wrong context. This week we will go over the breakdown of the terms, what they mean and how they affect your critical environment.
Micron Count: <100 microns
Micron Count: 5-100 microns
Use: Critical Environment
Micron Count: >5 microns
There is a lot to consider when you are bringing in a new glove into your critical environment. You have to worry about the cost, comfort, cleanliness, chemical compatibility, and construction of the consumable. These are better know as the "5 c's of glove selection". This week Greg will go over the 5 c's and how to use them to help you make your glove selection.
*There is also a free download at the bottom to help you remember the 5 C's in the future.
A few month ago we began construction on our new cleanroom. We have been faced with challenges, delays and difficult decisions but we are getting very excited with the result. This week we will walk through the challenges, the details and the advice we received along the way.
There are certain things that are ok to mismatch, for example, your socks. But there are also things that should never be mismatched, like your dinner settings or cleanroom consumables. When you take the risk of pairing mismatched consumables in your cleanroom you are running the risk of introducing avoidable contamination to your critical environement. To learn more about why you do not want to mismatch your consumables, watch the video below!
Having the right solvent in your critical environment is very important, but even more important is having the correct solvent dispenser. If you are using the wrong solvent dispenser in your environment you could be introducing the chemicals to your operators, as well as being wasteful. Not only do you need to worry about the chemical exposure, the bottle might not be strong enough to handle the chemical. Not all solvent dispensers are made of a plastic that is strong enough to hold chemicals. If you get one that isn't strong enough, it could disolve and mix with the solvent contaminating the process.
To learn more about a suitable solvent dispenser watch the video below.
Pouched wipers are often preferred for operators because that is what they are used to. However, they can prove to be very wasteful. As Greg explains in the video below, re-sealable wiper pouches make it very difficult to keep the chemical mix from drying out. As soon as the pouch has been opened it is virtually impossible to seal the package in an air tight seal again. This allows for the chemistry mix to exit the pouch, drying out your wipes. Switching to a wiper pail eliminates dried out wipers as well as cuts back on waste. The pail is completely reusable and customizable. Valutek sells both the pail and the wiper refills for the pail with a chemistry that can be specially formulated for your cleanroom needs.
To learn more about the Valutek wiper pail, watch the video below.
Shop Valutek Wipes & Pails Now!
Branded versus generic products. A debate that has been ongoing for a long time. Often times people are led to believe that the generic products are the same as the branded but without the name or hefty price tag. This may be true to some extent, but you have to stop and think about the reasons why they are able to offer the same product at a significantly lower price. Are these materials the best quality? Will I get the same use as the name brand version? The truth is that they have cut some corners to lower the price. That means that they could be putting in fillers or using lower quality materials. In some situations this is ok, but when it comes to your critical environment this is absolutely not acceptable. Using cheaper products only means that you are introducing contamination to your environment. Bringing contamination into a clean process defeats the purpose of it being clean in the first place. Not only that but it could be costing you more money in the long run. All risks that must be considered before making your decision.
To learn more watch the video below!
Keeping a cleanroom clean can prove to be a very challenging task, especially if you do not know how to properly test or classify your critical environment. There is a lot to keep in mind when it comes to reporting on this, that is why Greg is here to explain the difference between the ISO and English classifications of a cleanroom. He also goes over the Air Particle Counter, APC, and why this device is essential to maintaining a clean environment.
Learn more below!
Cost is a big difference between disposable cleanroom garments and industrial apparel. How ever it could cost you in the long run. While a lower price is the most attractive part of industrial apparel there are others differences too. Such as the materials, how they are packaged, and the environment that they are made in. It is critical to understand that you cannot just order industrial apparel and use it in your critical environment. Those materials could be very damaging to your critical environment and put your process to a halt. To learn more about the difference between the two watch the video below.
When it comes to shoe covers there is always the question of what the best material is and often it comes down to plastic and polypropylene. This week Greg talks about the difference between the two and why one is better than the other. Polypropylene shoe covers are very common but are not as clean as some may think. The bottom of the shoe cover is not skid resistant for very long and the bottom cannot hold up to a day of wear. Along with that, when the bottom wears out it sheds fibers adding contamination to your environment.
In its place we recommend plastic shoe covers. The plastic shoe covers do not lose their skid, they are water proof, they can last a whole day of wear and do not lint when you wear them.
To learn more about the difference between these two shoe covers watch the video below!