Invest in an enclosed storage space, specify that parts be stored
in that space immediately after cleaning, and limit access to that
space. Even a simple enclosed, clearly-identified clean space can
improve productivity. It can also improve customer perception.
We think of controlled environments, particularly of mini-
environments, as protecting the product. However, mini-envi-
ronments may have other purposes; and those purposes may
conflict with product protection. For example, we want to keep
contaminants away from the part. However, minimizing worker
exposure to airborne hazards involves different airflow patterns
than are used in product protection. Meeting community expo-
sure and environmental requirements may result in containing
the chemical within the manufacturing plant. Some booths and
mini-environments are being designed to be multi-functional, to
protect workers, the environment, and the product. As a process
designer, or as the person involved in contamination control and
process improvement, it is productive to interface early on with
safety and environmental professionals as well as with facilities
engineers. Taking a holistic approach to selecting the appropri-
ate mini-environment is likely to lower the initial overall capital
outlay and will result in less cumbersome processes.
Even if a formal access controlled and highly filtered cleanroom is
not a requirement, consider the functions that a cleanroom provides
when planning a clean workplace. Look at how product can become
contaminated. Observe such factors as air flow, personnel practices,
and proximity of contaminating sources.
Simple, low cost changes can make a big difference. For
example, covering street clothes with a lab smock and providing
a closet to remove fuzzy sweatshirts and jackets from the work
environment can go a long way towards promoting the perception and actually achieving a cleaner working environment.
1. B. Kanegsberg and E. Kanegsberg, “Controlled Mini-Environments,”
Controlled Environments Magazine, August 2006.
2. Howard Siegerman, “Wiping Surfaces Clean,” Vicon Publishing, 2004.
Barbara Kanegsberg and Ed Kanegsberg (the Cleaning Lady and the
Rocket Scientist) are experienced consultants and educators in critical and
precision cleaning, surface preparation, and contamination control. Their
diverse projects include medical device manufacturing, microelectronics,
optics, and aerospace. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org