At Wafer World, we take many steps to ensure that our wafers are high-quality and free of defects. Along with offering the double side polish wafer, we also have a clean room that allows us to prevent contaminants from coming into contact with our product.
We’ve spoken with some people who have been curious about our clean rooms. What are they, and why are they so important to the wafer manufacturing process? Learn everything you need to know in this guide!
A clean room is a controlled environment designed to prevent contaminants from coming into contact with other things in the room. Often the goal is to minimize the presence of airborne particles, which can include:
Every aspect of the room is designed to ensure that these particles can’t interfere with products. This includes everything from the wall panels to the air filter.
As opposed to traditional HVACs, clean rooms typically utilize HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) or Ultra Low Particulate Air (ULPA) filters, which can prevent extremely small particles from getting into a space.
Of course, anyone working in a clean room also needs to abide by the room’s rules, to ensure that outside contaminants don’t enter.
This is one of the many reasons why you want to work with trustworthy, well-established manufacturers: they likely have the training, systems, and personnel in place to prevent issues at this stage of the process.
The items brought into the clean room can impact how free it is of airborne particles. Cardboard, wood, leather, and powders, for instance, are all materials that are likely to cause problems.
There are also some materials that can be made to prevent issues, but which can also cause problems if not designed with a clean room in mind. For this reason, only special kinds of paper, pens, plastic, and tape are suitable for clean rooms.
Clean rooms range widely in size based on the capabilities and the needs of the manufacturing facility. Generally, the goal is for the room to be just as big as it needs to be, but not any larger. It needs to be big enough to allow the manufacturer to fill all orders in a timely fashion, but not so big that they’re paying for dead space.
Often, it’s a good idea to also leave a three-foot radius around the room, as this allows for a decontamination zone that makes it easier to prevent airborne particles from entering.
Clean rooms are often designed with a specific use in mind. Semiconductor manufacturing facilities, for instance, have different needs than a pharmaceutical company.
This is why it’s important to speak with whoever’s supervising the clean room before entering. They’ll be able to help you understand the protocol you need to follow before entering the clean room, as well as the materials that are and are not allowed.
Wondering what it’s like to work in a clean room? Lizzy Huitson wrote an article for Laboratory News explaining some of the most striking things about working in this environment.
For instance, clean rooms often make workers much more cognizant of their personal hygiene. They also mean you have to be cautious when talking to coworkers. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally say the wrong thing to the wrong person!
Before getting ready to go into the clean room, it’s important to ensure that you’re ready. This means making sure you haven’t forgotten anything at home, or that you don’t have to use the bathroom. Because this process takes time, it’s frustrating to have to take everything off and put it back on repeatedly.
Once you’ve done that, there are many procedures you may be asked to follow, including but not limited to:
Procedures will vary depending on the clean room in question, as well as the product being worked on. However, no matter what room you’re entering, the goal is always to ensure you’re bringing the absolute lowest number of particles possible into the room.
Different clean rooms have their own policies, but it isn’t always possible to prevent sneezing. Often, it’s encouraged to follow specific behavior if sneezing in the room, such as sneezing in the direction of the laminar flow.
Although clean room suits aren’t typically sealed and pressurized, they are in most cases sufficient for preventing a sneeze from contaminating products. Of course, most people feel uncomfortable sneezing in a clean room, and if someone feels a sneeze coming on, they’ll often step outside.
Wafers are extremely sensitive. The smaller they get, the more vulnerable they are to pollutants, which can prevent them from functioning properly. While the most catastrophic issues are visible to the human eye, there are many smaller impurities which require extensive quality assurance testing.
While we do extensively test all wafers, we also try to avoid these issues from happening in the first place. Clean rooms are designed to minimize pollutants to an extreme degree, which in turn ensures that we can maintain our manufacturing timeline and ship out high-quality wafers to all our customers.
Wafer World is here for you. Over the years, we’ve helped ensure that our clients only get the highest-quality wafers available on the market. We’re serious about quality assurance, and you can rest easy knowing that we only produce wafers designed to your specifications.
Have any questions about our manufacturing facility? Want to learn more about the wafers that we’re able to create for you? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today via the information on our contact page. We’re happy to speak with people interested in wafers!