Impact of ISO on testing unknown

Impact of ISO on testing unknown

Kelly Sewell

PHILADELPHIA — Reported from CleanRooms East `99. The impending finalization of ISO 14644-1 has been so much on the forefront of cleanrooms industry professionals` minds that many conference speakers here revised their presentations to incorporate answers to questions they expected to be asked about the new standards. Among the speakers is Scott Berger, regional service manager for ENV Services Inc., a cleanroom testing/air monitoring concern in King of Prussia, PA.

Berger, who has been presenting “Cleanroom testing basics” at CleanRooms shows for several years, added a section on the ISO standards after his last presentation at CleanRooms West `98 in San Diego at the suggestion of attendees. The CleanRooms shows and conferences are sponsored by PennWell, the parent company of this newspaper.

Among the concerns are whether the current IEST recommended practices will be replaced by the ISO standards, whether any tests will be omitted and whether any new tests will be introduced. Berger says he expects all of these to take place, but because the document has not been finalized, he did not want to speculate as to what those changes would be.

Currently, per IEST Recommended Practice 6.2 (Testing cleanrooms), the baseline requirements include tests for the following: air velocity/volume, filter installation leaks, airborne particle counts, room pressurization, air flow parallelism, enclosure integrity, recovery, particle fallout counts, lighting levels, noise levels, temperature/moisture, and vibration.

Not all of these tests are used in every type of cleanroom. For instance, sound and vibration tests are usually done only in electronics environments, where critical machinery creates vibration.

Berger notes that testing companies are not yet testing to ISO classification levels. However, in reports to customers, the ISO class equivalent is noted.

Because the ISO classifications will be measured in metrics, Berger is waiting to see what will be required of testers regarding the equipment they use to test, which currently records measurements in cubic feet. He currently plans to continue taking measurements in cubic feet and then perform a mathematical conversion to cubic meters.

ISO technical committee 209 chairman Richard Matthews, who is also president of Filtration Technology Inc. (Greensboro, NC), claims that when implemented, cleanroom operations will not be affected by the standards, except that cleanrooms will be measured using a new measuring stick.

However, Berger claims that although members of the ISO standards committee don`t expect the new standards to have an economic impact on those in industry, they may. If the new standards require measurements to be taken at 70 different points where Fed-Std-209E required measurements at only two locations, for example, it would take testers that much longer to classify a cleanroom, which would impact the user`s wallet, because testing establishments are paid hourly.


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