Aramark announced in February that it opened a 34,350 sf facility in McKinney, Texas to provide expanded cleanroom services to customers throughout the southwestern U.S. Over the next three years, the new operation is expected to create approximately 120 new local jobs.
Controlled Environments spoke to Brad Drummond, Chief Operating Officer for Aramark Uniform Services, for details about this new cleanroom facility.
Controlled Environments (CE): How long did construction take? Where did production take place during the construction process?
Brad Drummond (BD): Construction of the facility was initiated in the first week of July once the site was identified and the permits were obtained. The construction process was initially completed in the first week of December. Operations started in January after the cleanroom and controlled areas were certified and the equipment was validated. Since this was a new facility there was no need to service existing customers, these were serviced by our other cleanroom processing facilities. Customer garments were not transferred until the new plant was complete and approved by the customer.
CE: What kind of instruments and equipment are used in the clean area?
BD: As a cleanroom laundry we use the typical devices that are needed to clean garments (A short list of the equipment used is below). All equipment is manufactured using cleanroom compatible materials such as stainless steel for garment contact surfaces.
• Washer: Cleanroom compatible pass-thru washers
• Cleanroom HEPA filtered dryers
• Validated polyethylene bags sealer
• Deionized water system
• Particle testing apparatus
• Helmke Drum
• ESD test meters and environmental conditioning chamber
• Aerosol particle counters
CE: How many employees do you have? What kind of work do they do?
BD: Over the next three years, the new operation is expected to create approximately 120 new local jobs. Currently, there are approximately 60 employees who are employed in the following areas:
• Cleanroom Associates handle the garments once they have been through the wash process; these folks dry the garment and they inspect them and seal them in the cleanroom compatible bag(s).
• Packout Operators take the finished product and assemble it into the final shipping configuration.
• Shipping/Receiving Associates handle the garments as they come in and subsequently shipped out of the plant. They are responsible for confirming that the appropriate documentation accompanies each clean shipment of garments.
• The Quality Assurance Manager monitors the process and products for compliance with required specifications.
CE: What’s the square footage of the cleanroom area? What about other areas like a gowning area/ante room? How big is the overall facility?
BD: This plant has a 5,500 sf cleanroom/controlled environment. This includes approximately 300 sf of ancillary areas such as gown rooms and de-gown rooms. This is out of a total building footprint of 34,350 sf.
CE: What are some highlights of the new facility?
BD: The new facility includes the newest solid state water deionizing systems as well the most recent version of our wash aisle that allows the processing of garments from various types of customers. The facility features our enhanced goggle drying applications in which the goggles are washed in DI water and then dried in a stream of HEPA filtered air. The final packaging room is designed for maximum efficiency by allowing the presorting of product before it is presented to the operator who scans it.
CE: Describe the cleaning process — does your staff perform these duties, or do you hire it out?
BD: The cleanroom is cleaned by a service company that utilizes MicronSwep, Aramark’s reusable ceiling-to-floor microfiber mop system and cleanroom-laundered microfiber wipes for other surfaces.