24-Nov-2011

Clean inside and out

Abstract

Even brand new flexible bags can contain contaminants that damage sensitive products, including particulates and leachates. Sectors such as the space industry, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and electronics require purpose-made ultra clean packaging. Zeal Clean Supplies has developed a way of producing bags with a particulate count in single figures. Low density polyethylene is produced on site and the final packaging is manufactured inside a Class 1,000 cleanroom.

Zeal puts no additives in its ultra clean polyethylene to avoid potential leaching or contamination

It is not always recognised that brand new flexible bags can contain contaminants that damage sensitive products. That is why at Zeal Clean Supplies the bags are made to meet the needs of the most demanding of customers including those going to explore Mars.

Success of the likes of NASA's twin robots, the Exploration Rovers, which have been roaming around Mars, depends on many sophisticated technologies and very careful assembly of the component parts. Such projects cost millions of dollars and involve many man-hours. Once in space, there is little chance of retrieving the robot if something goes wrong, so failure is to be avoided at all cost.

It is not surprising that NASA has some of the most demanding requirements when it comes to cleanliness of components: one speck of dust could jeopardise a whole mission. As a result, NASA works to exacting standards, such as those of the US military (MIL-STD-1246C) for product cleanliness levels and contamination control. Such standards apply not only to the components that make up the robot and the assembly environments, but also to the packaging that transports the components for use in NASA projects.

To package such components in ordinary plastic bags could spell disaster. Most packaging will come with particulates that can interfere with the performance of highly sensitive components. Other problems could be caused by the ingress of moisture or ambient gases that could affect electronic components.

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