Simple Truths

A journey to Asia resulted in a piece of sage advice, willingly dispensed and gladly received, to be promulgated herein. As it was for the ancients who traveled great distances along difficult paths to learn simple but important truths, so it was for this correspondent in late July.

However, the setting was not some rugged mountaintop, but rather the comfortable environs of the Westin Stamford hotel in Singapore. This was the venue for the third annual CleanRooms Asia conference and exhibition, co-sponsored by PennWell, the parent organization of this news magazine, and Times Publishing Group.

The truth was delivered to about 100 attendees of a conference on cleanroom flooring. Like many axioms, this one can be applied to many disciplines. The truth, as delivered by László Kende of flooring maker Forbo-Giubiasco SA in Switzerland, was simply this: When it comes to choosing the flooring for your cleanroom, “you have to do your own thinking.” No data sheet can decide for you. No tests will reveal the correct choice. There is no cleanroom flooring “bible,” said Kende. Can standards answer all your questions? “No, no, no.”

He's right, of course. When we forego our own tests and even our own data collection, and rely instead on the information made available generally for all potential consumers, we do so at our own peril. Despite any application similarities, each cleanroom is unique. The products bought for it need to be bought with that uniqueness in mind.

Kende described selection criteria for cleanroom flooring (more on this topic will be presented in next month's edition of CleanRooms magazine), including thickness; weight and pressure specs; installation; materials; and standards, tests and data sheets. He put it all in perspective by saying that none of these criteria, alone or in combination, can adequately tell you what kind of flooring to buy. You need to go beyond the available information and conduct tests on samples you obtain from the suppliers you are considering. Such tests should replicate the day-to-day use of your cleanroom, including the cleaning and other solutions that are used there.

Kende spoke to a receptive and polite audience primarily made up of Singaporeans and Malaysians. This audience was too polite to complain when Kende respositioned his microphone and they could no longer hear, but too interested in what he was saying to simply let it go by; they asked him to repeat what they had missed. And this brings us to the second simple truth: Like the audiences we find at our other events (CleanRooms East and West in the United States; CleanRooms Europe in Germany), this audience contained cleanrooom practitioners with some years of experience; it was not strictly an audience of newcomers to contamination control technology. They come for refreshers, and perhaps even to verify that the “bible” on cleanroom flooring-or wipers, or fan-filter units, etc.-still has not been written, so that they know they must continue to think for themselves.

George D. Miller
Editorial Director


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