Flooring Considerations for Cleanroom Environments
04 Feb 2015
The design of cleanrooms plays a critical role in keeping products and equipment within the most sensitive industrial environments free of contaminants.
This is particularly important within the pharmaceutical, healthcare, food manufacturing and electronics sectors, where even the smallest amount of contamination can have a detrimental impact on the quality of the produce, product rejection rate, litigation costs and ultimately the company’s standing and competitiveness.
A key target for cleanrooms is to limit the concentration of airborne particles within a controlled environment. The International Standards Organisation (ISO) defines the acceptable particulate levels and the specified building materials must be able to meet the required cleanliness criteria.
The majority of low-level pollutants, such as dust, airborne microbes and aerosol particles, will inevitably end up on the floor, making this a prime site for a cleanroom’s fight against contamination.
Cracks and gaps in the floor can become sites of bacteria build up, however seamless and impermeable resin flooring with coving between the floor and wall will minimise this risk by making it easy for the cleaning regime to quickly and easily remove contaminants from the area. Failing to remove all bacteria will lead to more particles being released into the atmosphere during the biofilm cycle.
The air in clean rooms is required to contain a low level of small particles per cubic metre. Once cured, epoxy and polyurethane resins are inert and low in VOCs, releasing no particles into the surrounding environment.
The floor needs to be durable enough to withstand the site’s intended future use, as otherwise it could crack or flake, spoiling the seamless finish. This means carefully analysing the level of foot and wheeled traffic, the likelihood of impacts and abrasions as well as chemical attacks, temperature changes and wear from cleaning. A durable system also has the advantage of repelling particulate entrapment.
Certain types of flooring can have antimicrobial additives included within the finish to actively target bacteria in contact with the floor. Polyurethane floors with a bactericide homogenously distributed throughout the system will retain this property for an extended period of time.
Sensitive clean room environments can often find themselves at risk of static charge build up in the floor damaging electrical equipment or even causing an ignition source. This can be a particular concern in the high-tech nanotechnology and microelectronics industries. Choosing an antistatic dissipative or conductive floor finish will protect against static shock problems.
Colourful zoning plans can help avoid cross contamination by clearly differentiating various areas of the site. This is an especially vital consideration for facilities that need to separate high care from low care spaces to ensure that the movement of staff does not carry unwanted microbes from one environment into another.
Floors in bright, contrasting colours is a great way to make a visual statement about the differences between the rooms and will act as a constant reminder to anyone on-site about the hygiene considerations of the area they are in or are moving between.
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Notes to Editors
Flowcrete India has offices in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and New Delhi and is one of the four divisions that make up Flowcrete Group Ltd.
Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a world leader in the manufacture of seamless industrial and commercial resin floor, wall and coving solutions as well as other specialist coating technologies. Flowcrete Group Ltd. is a subsidiary of RPM International Inc. and has international manufacturing facilities in Europe and Africa as well as Central and South East Asia.
Flowcrete supplies world-class seamless flooring solutions to transform environments across the globe including; decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park deck coating systems, seamless resin terrazzo, durable antimicrobial flooring, fast curing systems, corrosion protection and self-levelling underlayments.
Flowcrete's ambitious and dedicated team, led by President Craig Brookes, is inspired by excellence in people, products and service as well as continual innovation and sustainable growth. Flowcrete continues to use its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world.