Sunday, March 29, 2009

Advances in Clean Room Technology

What is a Clean Room?

A clean room is a highly sanitised and controlled room free of anti pollution and contaminants. The clean rooms are equipped with concise technology such as scanners, high-speed fans and air ducts. These rooms are constructed of sealed materials to prevent migration of contaminants including volatiles from adhesives and particulate matter. The rooms have high-end filtration systems. They are equipped with air management equipment for creating positive air pressure inside the chamber.

Clean rooms were established in the 1960s. They were developed for the fabrication of precision technology required in the aerospace industry. Clean rooms are now commonly employed for manufacturing or research. They are used in industries of semi-conductors, space satellites, sterile medical devices, nano-fabrication and bio-technology. They are also used in precision electronic industries producing silicon chips and computer hard drives and optics.

They were established, as objects manufactured in these industries are sensitive to microscopic contaminants. Even minute invisible dust particles including bacteria can corrupt a silicon chip. Similarly, contaminants inside a Petri dish can cause gene therapy to go wrong. Clean rooms are subject to specifications. This means that the level of sanitisation and room size is dependent on the industry need. A clean room can be large, small, modular or circular in size.

Clean Room Classifications

Clean rooms are classified according to airborne particle counts. Usually a class 100 clean room has around 750 particles per cubic foot measuring at an approximate rate of 0.2 per metre. Another guideline pertains to the technology used in the clean room. The equipment has to be of the highest technical precision standard. It should be sensitive to variations of temperature, heat and light. This is a way of monitoring the clean room environment. The technology fails to function if the room is contaminated even to a slight degree.

Clean Room & Data Recovery

Data Recovery clean rooms can be defined as environmentally controlled spaces that are free of contaminants of dust and bacteria. A clean room is a controlled environment of designated temperature and humidity. The room usually has moderate dry--cool temperatures with humidity levels of 45%. This is done to ensure that sensitive equipment is at no risk of contamination. The clean room is also referred to as the lab in the data recovery industry

These rooms are a necessary facility in the data recovery industry due to their close tolerance mechanisms. This means that the extreme sensitive nature of the hard drive interior cavity can only be opened in a anti-pollutant environment. There is a danger of corruption of the entire disk if the environment is contaminated. The drive has to be opened and scanned in a controlled environment. It has to be reassembled in a sanitised environment. The drive does not function if any pollutant enters the disk interior during the recovery procedure. ICs and hard drives are manufactured for internal servicing in the clean room. Thus, the concept of clean room technology forms the basis of data recovery.

It is equipped with high-performance air filters for controlling airborne particulate, contaminants and pollutants. This high efficiency particulate air i.e. HEPA filtering system helps in minimising generation of dust particles. The walls and ceilings of the room are made of plastic. External source of lightning and proper ventilation is ensured to permit clean and dust-free air to aid in the process of data recovery.

Basic Guidelines/Rules of Clean Room Technology

  • Contaminants from the environment outside the clean room should not be allowed into the controlled area.

  • The equipment used within the controlled environment must not generate or produce contaminants.

  • Accumulation of contaminants in the controlled environment should not be allowed.

  • Already existing contaminants must be quickly eliminated from the room. The elimination ought to be done to the fullest extent possible ensuring a sanitised environment.

Data Recovery Clean Room Standards

Clean room specifications are usually defined according to the particle diameter and number of particles per unit volume. The cleanliness class is described as a standard used for determining the level of cleanliness in the air of the controlled environment. This includes the establishment of the national clean room technology standard of 52 95 form in 1999. This standard figures out the airborne particulate cleanliness classes. There are six different classes used in data recovery:

Class 1-- ISO3
    Class 10 -- ISO4
  • Class 100 -- ISO 5

  • Class 1,000 -- ISO 6

  • Class 10,000 -- ISO 7

  • Class 100,000 ISO 8

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