Non-viable, or inorganic particles, can cause a company significant inconvenience and potential loss of profits and product, but when a breach occurs in the environment these nonviables can be tracked down in realtime using a particle counter. An experienced cleanroom certifier, in most cases, will be able to track down the problem in a matter of hours or days. Corrective action can be implemented and the effects of corrective or preventive actions can be measured immediately with a particle counter. This ability to investigate and check corrective actions in real-time is much more difficult when dealing with viable particles. Traditional methods for monitoring viable particles are time-consuming and don’t always yield concrete evidence that can be acted on in confidence. These methods include the use of plates which are placed in high-risk or areas of interest around the cleanroom. The plates are then left in place for several hours during which time particles in the air, including any microorganisms, will settle on them. The plates then must be collected, incubated, and then identified and counted after colonization, based on the surface area of the plate. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days before a problem is identified during which time the problem, in the case of microorganisms, is only going to (literally) grow.
This Cleanroom Tip was taken from “Methods for Detecting Microbes in the Cleanroom,” by Bob Casale of Kanomax.
Establish your company as a technology leader. For 50 years, the R&D 100 Awards, widely recognized as the “Oscars of Invention,” have showcased products of technological significance. Learn more.