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A cleanroom instrument to count on: The new hand-held Particles Plus instrument provides easier validation of cleanroom specifications with spot checks or continuous monitoring.

The process of validating ballroom cleanrooms on installation or during operation requires accurate, precise instrumentation, a valid sampling protocol and analysis and record-keeping. All of this can be achieved with the handheld Particles Plus particle counter, according to Connect 2 Cleanrooms, which provides its installation and validation team with the instrument.

SAMPLING PROTOCOL

Before any particle counting takes place, the engineer needs to produce a sampling plan, something which the instrument can help with from the moment the cleanroom's volume is recorded by the device. Once entered into the instrument, the unit will calculate how many sampling locations are needed and the sample size to meet IS014644 requirements along with the particle sizes to be considered.

Up to 50 user-defined sampling recipes can be set with different sample sizes, delays and location times, for example. For contract service providers like Connect 2 Cleanrooms, these can be used for saving different locations for clients for whom validations are performed regularly.

Once the sampling protocol has been established, the instrument also helps with route planning through the ability to re-order sampling points. If a cleanroom requires nine validation locations, for example, the operator can sequence those locations within the instrument to provide the quickest route across the cleanroom floor. This not only improves efficiency, but also reduces turbulence.

According to Mark Jackson, installation & validation manager at Connect 2 Cleanrooms, the Particles Plus units are easy to use, intuitive and robust. "Our technicians are confident in programming them to perform the most efficient validation route," he says.

The unit has an auto-advance feature that automatically progresses to the next sample in the sequence with a programmed delay to enable the engineer to move away from the sample position to prevent contamination of the count.

ANALYSIS AND RECORD KEEPING

Data analysis is aided by graphs, which are generated as a visual indication of the history of particles per second plotted against time. Spikes can be annotated and comments, such as "door opened", can be saved for full transparency.

The particle counters can hold 45,000 data records simultaneously, which is enough for continuous particle counts of one minute samples to be run for 33 days without having to download data. Data is time stamped to allow full traceability following extraction.

Although such capacity means that data doesn't need to be constantly downloaded to prevent it from being over-written, the device nonetheless makes it easy to connect across the industrial network or to the cloud via a number of data extraction options.

Particles Plus units offer Modbus TCP/IP as standard as well as wireless transfer or via USB to PC or to USB memory stick.

MONITORING

Validation isn't just a requirement of installation and commissioning cleanrooms, it is also as a method of demonstrating continuing compliance to the standards. Commenting on this requirement, Jackson says: "Ideally, organisations should use a particle counter to perform regular checks to ensure the cleanroom is performing to its ISO class parameters."

To enable this, as well as spot monitoring, the Particles Plus device can be used as a continuous monitoring system by connecting it to a network and giving it an IP address, which allows live data to be streamed to the PC desktop application or viewed remotely from any internet browser.

"This gives organisations the reassurance that their cleanrooms are still achieving the standards they are built to meet, in between validation visits," concludes Jackson.
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Title Annotation:CLIMATIC & STRESS TESTING: CLEANROOMS
Publication:Environmental Engineering
Date:Dec 1, 2017
Words:568
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