The evolution of controlled environment presaturated wipes actually started with baby wipes. Before the cleanroom industry had designed and packaged pre-wetted lint-free wipes on a mass scale, baby wipes were pre-wetted, packaged and put on the market. It is rather ironic that the babycare industry product innovation provided the impetus for the high technology industry.
Pre-wetted baby wipes were first available in a rolled-up, tube-stock package. The wiper stock was fed into a continuous tube stock pouch, then both ends were sealed. A dose of the pre-wetted chemistry was put into the wipers through the end tube opening, and the packaging is sealed.
If we look at the evolution of a cleanroom presaturated wipe, it is basically the same tube pouch stock, with a similar type of the sealing system, and the wipers are dispensed thru a die cut opening, with an adhesive label. The primary difference between a baby wipe and a cleanroom wipe is the type of chemistry applied and the wiper substrate material that comes inside. You wouldn’t want to use an IPA (Isopropyl alcohol) solution on your baby. Conversely, the baby cleaning formula is not compatible for a critical environment.
This first generation packaging of the pre-wetted wipe is commonly called a foil pack, with a reseal-able flexible adhesive label. This is called the flat pack or pouch with the wipers in a c or z fold.
Advantages of Pail Packaging
The second Generation packaging of a pre-wetted wiper is a reusable pail. One key advantage here is the wipers are in a flat configuration. The operator does not have to hassle with a c-fold wipe – the wipes are in a flat, ready to use configuration.
Another advantage is that you are not contributing to landfill waste. Basically, after every 30 wipers of a first generation packaging, the packaging gets disposed. With cleanroom pail system, you can reuse the pail, completely taking out the disposable bag, leading to less waste.
From a budget standpoint, reducing the packaging waste also reduces the cost, the refillable pail wiper pack costs significantly less.
Avoid Dry Out
Pre-wetted wipers, regardless of the packaging configuration, once they are dosed and vacuum sealed packaged, will all be uniform. The wipers will all be consistently saturated from the first to the last wiper.
However, a challenge downstream with first generation packaging is that after opening and reopening several times, the wipers below tend to dry out. In the pail, from the first wipe to the last wipe, each wiper is still pre-wetted and moist. The reseal-able hinged lid closure provides a more positive closure system versus the flexible label.
If your Operators / Technicians use the entire package content of pre-wetted wipes within a couple of days, you won’t have a problem with it. But, when they are used less-frequently, wipers in a foil or blister pack tend to evaporate.
First generation pouches are costlier, because packaging configuration is only amortized over 30 wipes. The reusable pail can be utilized for literally hundreds of wipes, with refills available.
Valutek offers both forms of packaging for all of our facility’s specific needs.