Over the past decade, standards and expectations for the perfect cleanroom glove have changed. In the past, the natural glove choice for a controlled environment was the latex glove. However, nitrile glove manufacturing technology has improved making nitrile the most appropriate substrate choice for most applications. Here are three key differences between nitrile and latex gloves.
Latex gloves are made from organic tree sap, making it a natural product with significant variability. The FDA has recognized allergenic proteins present in latex, which is potentially more harmful to the user. Nitrile gloves that are composed of a 100% clean inorganic synthetic material, and there are no allergenic proteins. Be cautious of nitrile gloves that have a high “filler” content. The most common filler is calcium nitrate. The filler negatively impacts the gloves performance. Nitrile is the superior alternative to reduce operator allergic reactions.
Because of the non-conforming form of latex, this glove retains its original structure regardless of the length of time it has been worn. This “lack of sizing memory” creates a more uncomfortable and inconvenient fit for the user. However, nitrile gloves have a memory-membrane, which adapts to the shape of the user's hand. Not only does this improve the level of comfort in a glove, it also helps against motion and chronic hand fatigue.
Since nitrile gloves are made of 100% synthetic material, this type of glove is superior when it comes to puncture resistance. Alternatively, latex gloves are not as durable and can tear easily if it is used too roughly. When it comes to top-notch barrier protection, using nitrile gloves is undoubtedly the better option.
Make your switch today from latex to the Valutek Nitrile Glove. For more information about the differences between latex and nitrile gloves, please contact us at Valutek or click below to request your FREE sample!
To determine the cleanliness of your critical environment, you will first need to identify which clean room classification system you will be using. Cleanroom classification standards started with the English system. The English system is the original system, but now-a-days you will find most people using the ISO systme. The cleanroom classification system estimates the number of various sized particles contained within one cubic foot of air. The amount of particles will determine the cleanroom classification. For example, what we mean when we say "Class 100" (English system) cleanroom, is that the most common particle count is greater than one-half micron, and that count should not be greater than 100 per cubic foot of air to meet Class 100 of the English classification system. The English Class 100 corresponds to the ISO Class 5.
In our example, we have established that in our Class 100 cleanroom we cannot have any more than 100 particles sized one-half micron or greater. We will determine that using a measurement tool because one-half micron particles are not visible to the naked eye. Measurement tools have greatly advanced in the last 5-10 years. The measurement tool is called an Air Particle Counter, APC. The APC has a sampling cone of a specific dimension and shape. Within the device there is a vacuum that draws in the sample across a laser where the particles are counted according to selected size. It is very important when using an APC to check the last calibration date displayed on the unit. Calibrations for air particle counters are only good for 12 months. Because this is a very sensitive instrument, it must be calibrated every 12 months. APCs are available in a three-channel model that can count particles of three different sizes during one sampling period. During typical operation, the unit will be programmed to sample the air over a one-minute period. The unit operator needs to only turn the unit on and press the "run" button. The proper way to use an air particle counter is to don the appropriate attire, wipe down the particle counter, and then take the particle counter into the cleanroom and do three sets of samples. The first set is taken "at rest" when the HEPA filters are on, but there are no process tools operating. Take particle counts at random areas around the cleanroom. The second particle count is taken when the HEPA filters are on and the process equipment is on. The third particle count is taken when the HEPA filters are on, the process equipment is on and the cleanroom operators are within the environment. This helps you isolate sources of potential contamination in your cleanroom environment.
In summary, to establish the cleanliness of your cleanroom you must first establish which cleanroom classification system you are going to use (English or ISO) and identify your cleanroom level. Once you know what level you must achieve, you must have the appropriate measurement tool. Using your properly calibrated measurement tool, you must do three counts within your cleanroom to determine the actual classification of the air in your clean room. Clean room classification readings will vary based on many variables which is why it is important that you have a very rigorous and accountable procedure regarding the frequency of your particle counts.
At Valutek we are dedicated to helping you maintain a compliant critical environment. Request your samples now!
Typically there are two options for powder-free nitrile gloves: boxed and bagged. If you have ever wondered which is the correct glove for your needs, we have the answer.
When you look at the boxed glove packaging, you will see that it is identified as an examination glove. The definition of an examination glove is a glove that is designed for the examination of a patient or the examination of a lab object. Powder-free boxed gloves are always examination gloves. The design of the examination glove is to protect the operator from cross-contamination.
Conversely, a powder-free bagged glove for a controlled environment is not designed to protect the operator, it is designed to protect the object with which the operator comes into contact. Specifically, the protection of the product and the process such as within a cleanroom environment.
A powder-free nitrile boxed glove is not necessarily a cleanroom glove. There might be trace molecular contaminants that might come off the glove, because the main purpose of the boxed glove is to protect the operator. The primary purpose of the powder-free bagged glove is to keep what the operator comes in contact with clean. The primary use for powder-free boxed gloves is a lab or healthcare environment. The primary use for powder-free bagged gloves is for a controlled environment.
How does the packaging affect the suitability of use? The only way to get a glove out of the box packaging is to grasp the glove somewhere on the surface with the bare hand and pull through the opening, thus cross-contaminating it. A powder-free bag package is a bag within a bag. The operator would take the bagged gloves into the pass through and remove the outer bag to reveal the clean inner bag. The operator then opens the clean inner bag at the cuff end. The gloves now can be grasped and donned only at the cuff without risk of contaminating the glove surface.
In summary, there really is a difference in the powder-free nitrile gloves and it is not just the packaging, it is the intent of the glove. Powder-free boxed nitrile gloves are great to prevent cross-contamination in healthcare and lab settings. Where a powder-free bagged nitrile glove for controlled environments is really the glove you want to be donning when you are concerned about molecular contamination on a process or product.
Valutek provides not only exceptional products, such as clean room gloves, latex gloves and nitrile gloves, but we provide you with the information you need to know to choose the right product for your needs.
Having ESD shoe covers is another great way to discharge any static brought in by the operator. The shoe cover helps to create a full circle between the operator, shoe cover, and the conductive floor. The black strip at the bottom is the conductive fabric that helps to remove any static in the operator. To put them on your simple follow the same steps as you would with a regular shoe cover, the only difference is that your operator then takes the excess black fabric and tucks it into their sock making contact with their skin. The fabric then comes in contact with the conductive floor making a full circle for the static to be released from the operator. Thus keeping your equipment and products safe. To learn more about ESD shoe covers, watch the video below.
We know that reducing your operator’s exposure to solvents is a big concern to cleanroom managers across the world. Greg explains to us some simple fixes as well as some permanent fixes. A non-permanent fix to this would be taking a cup, poking a hole in the bottom, and putting the top of the squeeze bottle into it. This creates a simple vapor recovery around the top. A more permanent solution would be to invest in pre-wetted wipers. This eliminates the need for mixing solvents, and manually putting them on the wiper. This also eliminates waste from the solvent and the wiper. Another plus of having pre-wetted wiper is that they have the same saturation from top to bottom. These are safer for operators and allow for a more product cleanroom. Learn more about this issue in the video below!
Do you ever wonder what the most important cleanroom consumable is? Well Greg has an answer for you! They are all important, there is no specific one that is better than another. Each cleanroom consumable works with other consumables to protect your environment and products from contamination. It is really important to note that you will get the best protection when all of your consumables are of the same grade, such as macrotek, microtek, and nanotek. It is also important to note that not all consumables are held to the same standard. For example, a blue nitril glove will not be as clean as a white one. Therefore, it would not be suitable for cleanroom use. To learn more about cleanroom consumable importance, watch the video below!
This week we are going to talk about the difference between boxed gloves and bagged gloves. Boxed gloves may seem great, but they are not designed for a cleanroom. The main difference between a boxed glove, also known as an examination glove, and a bagged glove is that a boxed glove is meant to protect the operator from any diseases. While a bagged glove is meant to protect the product from contamination. Keeping this in mind is very important when you pick out the gloves for your critical environment. You do not want a boxed glove because the point of the glove is not to protect the operator, instead it is to protect the product from contamination. To learn more about bagged gloves watch the video below!
If your donning room is not color coded this may be something that you want to consider. Dividing up your cleanroom would help your operators to know what garment needs to be on by when. A black area would be where the operators puts on their bouffant cover and cleans their shoes, both need to be done before they can continue into the blue area. The blue area is where they put on their shoecovers and the white is where they finish donning their clothes right before they continue into the cleanroom. While this seems simple in theory, it is very important. If an operator were to contaminate the wrong area they would risk bringing contamination into the cleanroom. To learn more about this method, watch the video below.