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  1. Linear Guides for Cleanrooms

    Linear Guides for Cleanrooms

    Cleanrooms play an essential role in contamination-sensitive applications such as semiconductor fabrication, pharmaceuticals, optics, medical devices/life sciences, and many more. Cleanrooms control the number of particulates in the air (such as dust, microbes, and aerosols) to avoid compromising cleanroom processes and products made there. Standards for these enclosures are tight, especially for motion systems used in them. But following a few basic techniques lets designers use linear motion devices while maintaining an appropriately clean environment. Cleanrooms are classed according to the number of particles of a specific size per unit volume of space. To control the size of particulates in a cleanroom, designers filter and minimize the introduction of new particulates from personnel, materials, and equipment. Controlling particulate generation can be a challenge, particularly when the cleanroom encloses machinery. Micro-lithography, for example, uses slots of robots and other motion devices. Moving equipment that is improperly specified can generate fresh particles. With proper techniques, however, a linear motion devices can support operations in a Class 100 cleanroom as easily as on a factory floor.

    Controlling Contact

    Linear bearings inherently involve metal-to-meal contact. Ball-style bearings, for example, generate metal fragments by having balls contacting each other as the they roll and turn in their rings. One way to minimize that contact is to enclose and separate the balls in a cage. Ball cages are plastic or polymer structures that maintain separation between balls without altering their friction-reducing capabilities. There is a common misconception that ball cages increase prices or leadtimes, but that is not generally the case. For the most common bearings there is no price difference for adding cages. This makes ordering linear guides with ball cages a smart way to increase guide life and improve cleanroom performance.

    Preventing Corrosion

    Corrosion is another source of particulates. Standard-grade carbon steel oxidizes in the presence of moisture to create rust. This is a concern for applications such as semiconductor and laboratory analytics, which involve reagents, and even manufacturing processes that take place in humid environments. In these types of cleanroom applications, corrosion control measures such as the use of appropriate grades of stainless steel and anticorrosion coatings like hard or black chrome. Although these measures are effective, they can add significantly to a part’s leadtime. When orders come in for bearings with an anticorrosion coatings, for example, manufacturers do not modify bearings already in stock. Instead, they build the bearings from scratch, coating each element before assembling the them. This typically extends leadtime to several months. The alternative is to work with local suppliers to disassemble standard bearings, coat, and then reassemble them. The method can substantially reduce leadtimes but must be approached with caution. Working with bearings at this level requires skill and should only be undertaken with experienced technicians who can guarantee results.

    Managing Lubrication

    A final consideration for cleanroom bearings is the choice of lubrication. Although standard greases are designed to reduce rolling resistance, they can spatter and generate particles. Cleanroom greases are specifically formulated for low dusting. 

    Getting linear bearings packed with cleanroom grease is not as easy as it sounds. Manufacturers don’t simply pull a stock part from inventory and change out the grease. Instead, when the order comes in, they build a linear bearing from scratch and inject the appropriate grease at the end. As a result, ordering these parts can involve a leadtime of several months. From the OEM perspective, buying a stock part and swapping out the grease seems like a reasonable solution, but it can actually be problematic.

    One cardinal rules of lubrication is that greases should not be mixed. Doing so can breakdown the lubrication, damage parts, and lead to premature failure. It is difficult to remove all of the grease from a caged bearing before replacing the grease. The process typically requires special degreasing tanks to remove all residue.

    Trust Your Vendor

    Cleanroom applications are typically high-value operations with a high costs for  downtime and scrap. To protect operations and maximize operation equipment expenses (OEE), specify linear bearings that can operate in cleanroom environments. Minimize dust generation by choosing caged bearing guides and specifying corrosion resistant components where appropriate. Be sure to use cleanroom greases and take advantage of local expertise to minimize leadtime. Most important, work closely with your vendor to ensure you make the best choice of components and processes to ensure the success of your application.

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  2. Cleanroom Requirements and Classifications

    Cleanroom Requirements and Classifications
    This infographic was created by Technical Safety Services, a cleanroom testing company
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  3. Water Spots on Medical Devices After Washer Cleaning

    Water Spots on Medical Devices After Washer Cleaning
    Q. We are washing stainless medical devices in a washer and are getting water spots. We are using Solujet and Citrajet. What’s causing this problem? A. Water spots typically occur because of two main reasons: the orientation of the parts in the washer is trapping dirty wash water and/or detergent dosing is insufficient. If any items being washed have a shape that can retain dirty wash water, it can sometimes get carried into the next rinse cycle and spread all over all the items being washed. An example of a such a shape would be “U” shapes or cups. Then the parts gets dried and the residue from the dirty wash water leaves water spots. To solve this, load the items in a way to tilt them so they drain completely and do not carry dirty wash water from the wash cycle to the rinse cycle. If this is not an issue, then consider detergent dosing. If you are washing with hard tap water (high in calcium, magnesium and iron), and you are under-dosing the detergent, then there may not be enough chelating agent to tie up the hardness ions. In this case, these ions will precipitate out as metal oxides/hyrdroxides/carbonates that then do not rinse easily and can lead to water spots. Be sure to use at least a 1% Solujet® Low Foaming Phosphate Free Detergent wash solution (10 mL/L) and 1% Citrajet® Low Foaming Acid Cleaner rinse solution (10 mL/L). Also consider using deionized, RO, or distilled water for rinsing, and even washing, which can help completely avoid this problem. Note that high quality water is less important for the wash step.
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  4. High Purity Solvents

    High Purity Solvents

    High Purity Solvents

    High Purity Solvents

    High Purity Solvents

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  5. REDEFINING TEPID: TOP 5 REASONS TO PROVIDE THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE WATER TO EYEWASHES AND SHOWERS

    REDEFINING TEPID: TOP 5 REASONS TO PROVIDE THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE WATER TO EYEWASHES AND SHOWERS



    When it comes to emergency shower and eyewash equipment, a ten-degree difference could make all the difference. The right water temperature is critical to ensuring medically suitable results for an injured person. Current ANSI Standards (American National Standards Institute) are referenced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when evaluating facilities and mandate a temperature range defined as “tepid.”

    This is clarified as a 40-degree temperature range for flushing fluids spanning from 60°F to 100°F [16°C to 38°C].

    REDEFINING TEPID: TOP 5 REASONS TO PROVIDE THE RIGHT TEMPERATURE WATER TO EYEWASHES AND SHOWERS WHY YOU NEED TO PROVIDE THE RIGHT WATER TEMPERATURE TO USERS VICTIM COMFORT

    According the ANSI Z358.1-2014, fifteen minutes is the required length of a drench cycle when using emergency shower and eyewash equipment. It’s a necessary amount of time to ensure the chemicals and contaminants are properly flushed out of the eyes and off the face and body. But water that is too hot or too cold can drive an injured user out of the emergency equipment much too soon, while also risking exposure to additional injury. Providing tepid water to a user helps cool chemical burns, prevents chemical absorption, and encourages the removal of contaminated clothing that can act as a barrier.

    SCALDING
    The body’s biological response to hot water is for its pores to open, which could potentially increase absorption of contaminants into the skin. Plus, water that is too hot can scald the soft tissue of the eyes and delicate skin causing further damage. Less often addressed are chemicals that can trigger an aggravated chemical reaction when it comes into contact with water at particularly higher temperatures. Cavviot: Review SDS (Safety Data Sheet) of chemicals that could become more of a hazard by reacting violently to warmer temperatures. These types of chemicals require setting the water temperature to a specific degree to prevent chemical reactions.

    HYPOTHERMIA
    Water that is too cold can lead to hypothermia on top of the original chemical exposure. Studies have also shown that a fifteen-minute exposure to water temperatures in the lower end of the ANSI-mandated temperature range (60°F) can cause cold shock. This is the reaction that the body has upon exposure to cold water, and potential side effects including cardiac arrest. Water at low temperatures is also far more likely to prevent an injured worker from drenching for a decontamination period that would prove medically effective. In addition, some severely hazardous chemicals will not dilute to safe levels unless a longer flush is administered such as strong alkali’s that suggest a 60-minute flush.

    BACTERIAL GROWTH/ LEGIONELLA
    Certain water temperature ranges are more prone to bacterial growth, which can present serious health risks to those exposed. Legionella bacteria growth thrives between 95°F and 115°F, a range that overlaps the current ANSI tepid water range. While the ANSI standard does require a weekly flush to clear all piping sections that lead to the emergency shower and eyewash station, avoiding temperatures that harbor bacteria is a valuable step in limiting potential exposure.Water that is too hot or too cold can drive an injured user out of the emergency equipment much too soon.Legionella bacteria growth thrives between 95°F and 115°F, a range that overlaps the ANSI tepid water range. Water too hot can increase absorption of contaminants into the skin. Water too cold can lead to hypothermia.

    DATED STANDARDS
    In 1998, the ANSI Standard introduced tepid water as a requirement of emergency shower and eyewash systems. In the 2004 revision, the standard was further clarified, stating that medical recommendations warned against flushing fluids exceeding 100°F, which “have proven to be harmful to the eyes and can enhance chemical interaction with the eyes and skin” (ANSI Z358.1-2004). The standard also stated that “recent information indicates that a temperature of 60°F is suitable for the lower parameter for tepid flushing fluid without causing hypothermia to the equipment user.” However, no source information accompanied these statements.This standard was maintained in the 2014 revision, but more insight into both the biological response to water temperatures at the low end of this temperature range and the ideal growth temperature of legionella bacteria should dictate a change.

    RECOMMENDATIONS
    Each piece of emergency equipment must be available to provide proper first aid in the event of an emergency, and a revised water temperature range between 70°F and 95°F can help ensure medically effective results:

    INCREASING THE MINIMUM FLUSHING FLUID TEMPERATURE TO 70°F WILL:
    • Help encourage users to use the equipment for the full fifteen-minute flush cycle

    • Protect against cold shock that could lead to cardiac arrest

    • Advocate for the removal of contaminated clothing

    DECREASING THE MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE TO 95°F WILL:
    • Avoid temperatures known to harbor specific bacteria growth

    • Prevent scalding of the eyes and skin

    • Reduce the chances of an increased chemical reaction


    A majority of outdoor or extreme climate equipment installations would require additional infrastructure to meet the tepid water range for water delivery. Emergency shower and eyewash manufacturers offer various tempering solutions including Thermostatic Mixing Valves. Setting Thermostatic Mixing Valve temperatures between 80°F and 85°F not only meets current ANSI Standards, but also ensures compliance should future revisions take into account these recommendations. To assist in the appropriate installation and performance of its emergency systems, Haws recommends a much tighter temperature range. Thermostatic Mixing Valves on Haws emergency shower and eyewash systems are set between 80°F and 85°F. It’s a narrow, yet necessary interpretation of ANSI Z358.1, which defines a suitable temperature range as 60°F to 100°F. This defined range fits neatly into a new recommended range of 70°F to 95°F, temperatures that ensure both victim comfort and appropriate equipment use, as well as a reduced risk of bacterial exposure.Studies show that when proper first aid is provided, an average of 7.7 days of hospitalization were necessary, whereas those who did not receive proper first aid required an average of 20.5 days of hospitalization

    Emergency shower and eyewash systems are designed for emergency scenarios, but simply providing them isn’t enough. The equipment needs to perform in accordance with the most current ANSI Z358.1 Standard and work as intended at any time, while providing a comfortable and appropriate temperature water delivery.

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  6. Passivate: Citric Acid Option with Citranox and Citrajet Detergents

    Passivate: Citric Acid Option with Citranox and Citrajet Detergents

    Q. Surface contamination interferes with formation of protective oxide coating on stainless steel thereby leaving it open to corrosion.

    The stainless steel needs passivation. Can Alconox, Inc. help?

    A. Stainless steels are autopassivating in the sense that the protective oxide passive film is formed spontaneously on exposure to air or moisture.

    Surface contamination, may interfere with the formation of the passive film. The cleaning of these contaminants from the stainless steel surface with citric acid detergent will facilitate passivation by allowing the oxygen access to the surface.

    Passivate by immersing the stainless steel in either a 30% solution (300mL/L) of Citranox® Liquid Acid Cleaner and Detergent or Citrajet® Low-Foam Liquid Acid Cleaner/Rinse at any of the following combination of time and temperature: 70-120 deg F (21-49 deg C)/20 min, 120-140 deg F (49-60 deg C)/10 min, or 140-160 deg F (60-71 deg C)/4 minutes.

    Rinse thoroughly immediately after passivation.

    Final rinse should be in clean water with a final reading of less than 200 ppm total solids. Neutralization is not required.

    Air oxidation will complete passivation.

    Note that this process conforms to ASTM A967-01 Standard Specification for Chemical Passivation Treatments of Stainless Steel Parts.

    If desired, Ferritic and Martensitic steels can be treated with 5% sodium dichromate at 150 deg F (65 deg C) for 30 min to accelerate surface oxidation to form passive oxide layer.

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  7. Closed Solvent Waste Systems for HPLC

    Closed Solvent Waste Systems for HPLC
    Closed Solvent Waste Systems for HPLC

    A Solution for Waste Disposal of Volatile Organic Compounds to Increase Standards of Health

    A major concern in the field of chemical science is the proper care and disposal of hazardous wastes. With high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) machines, solvent wastes must be contained for disposal. However, these liquids are often volatile organic compounds (VOCs), meaning they will easily vaporize in the lab and spread through the air. In order to contain these vapors, which are potential health hazards for people working in the lab, improved waste containment must be implemented. Common lab practices have not been sufficient in containing these vapors.

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  8. The Role of Rapid Test Kits in the Detection of Peanut and Almond Residues in Cumin and Spice Blends

    The Role of Rapid Test Kits in the Detection of Peanut and Almond Residues in Cumin and Spice Blends
    The Role of Rapid Test Kits in the Detection of Peanut and Almond Residues in Cumin and Spice Blends

    Anthony J. Lupo, Director of Technical Services • Issued February 2015

    Background In recent months there have been several cumin recalls involving seasoning blends containing high levels of undeclared peanut, and in some cases, detectable levels of almond. This has resulted in significant concern in several segments of the food and ingredient industry related to the safety of their incoming raw materials, and the tools available to accurately test them for these undeclared residues.

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  9. Food Safety Testing and FSMA, GFSI, and Brand Protection Understanding the Role of Environmental, Raw Material and Finished Product Testing

    Food Safety Testing and FSMA, GFSI, and Brand Protection Understanding the Role of Environmental, Raw Material and Finished Product Testing
    Food Safety Testing and FSMA, GFSI, and Brand Protection Understanding the Role of Environmental, Raw Material and Finished Product Testing

    Understanding the Role of Environmental, Raw Material and Finished Product Testing May 2013, by Leavitt Partners Global Food Safety Solutions

    What You’ll Learn From this Paper A number of established and proposed global food safety regulations and initiatives seek to both protect consumers, and provide guidance to the food industry on how to best produce the safest possible products. These regulations and initiatives address all aspects of safe food production, processing, and delivery every step of the way to the consumer.

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  10. Big Problems with Small Ions

    Big Problems with Small Ions
    Big Problems with Small Ions

    Introduction Cleanroom personnel are well aware that they must be vigilant against small items that can ruin manufacturing processes – entities like particles, fibers, bacteria, and viruses. But, even smaller contaminants – ions – can wreak havoc in electronic products made in highly efficient cleanrooms. The bad news is that ions in these microelectronic environments can ruin products worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. There’s no real good news, except that the problem is confined to the electronics industry.

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