22-Dec-2011

IEST publishes new guidance on cleanroom garments

A new edition of IEST-RP-CC003.4, Garment System Considerations for Cleanrooms and Other Controlled Environments, features a 20-page supplement on recommended garment measurement specifications.

The supplement, Guide to Measuring Cleanroom Garments, published by the US Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST), provides illustrated instructions for measuring coveralls, frocks, hoods, and footwear.

IEST-RP-CC003.4 addresses the gowning of personnel as a critical aspect of cleanroom contamination control. Specification and use of an appropriate gowning system is essential in preventing human-generated contamination from reaching and affecting product or processes in the cleanroom. The RP provides non-mandatory guidance for the selection, specification, maintenance, and testing of garments or apparel and accessories appropriate for use in non-aseptic and aseptic environments.

Intended for end users, system designers, suppliers, and processors, the document defines required performance criteria, test methods, and procedures for gowning system use and maintenance. It also features guidelines for developing a quality control plan for the apparel and accessories that may be part of the system.

There is also a new subsection on the use of advanced tracking systems, such as barcodes and radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, to monitor the service life of a garment.

Also provided is a section describing types of fabrics and relevant properties and methods of testing the materials used in cleanroom garments, as well as the design and construction of appropriate configurations and special features of such garments.

Appendix B explains the Helmke drum test method, introduced in an earlier edition of the RP and based on round-robin testing performed by the IEST Working Group. This method is used to quantify particles dislodged through the application of mechanical energy under dry conditions as a means of simulating particle shedding from the surface of the garment during use. Garments being tested are tumbled in a rotating drum to release particles from the fabric in a controlled manner, while a discrete-particle counter is used to sample the air within the drum.

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