Product Comparator: Remain seated

by Laureen Belleville

A chair to suit all body types is a rarity. In the best case, it should be as comfortable as possible yet provide durability under stress. Further, seating in a cleanroom must not contaminate the environment.

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Users must protect the work environment from particle contamination and damage from static charges. Any facility will often need multiple levels of cleanliness. Seating is available in Class 1, 10, 100 and 1000 or above for such industries as semiconductor, aerospace, bioscience, pharmaceutical, medical, computer, electronics, food processing, and munitions. Most manufacturers have their chairs tested by independent laboratories to meet the particle requirements of Federal Standard 209E.

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RIGHT. Cleanroom and ESD/cleanroom seating (Bevco). Right: Rhino Plus SZ22 (Cramer).

In addition to ergonomic features, material of construction is a prime concern for the cleanroom and is an area that vendors have addressed. For example, BioFit (Waterville, OH) offers a Class 10 chair in a high-tech breathable nylon fabric called Nytek. According to the manufacturer, the Nytek is laid down in a three-dimensional axis similar to the natural structure of leather. It cleans easily with soap and water and is non-outgassing and non-shedding. Cramer (Kansas City, KS) offers its RhinoPlus chairs in a patent-pending upholstery skin that the company claims is tougher than anything on the market today. Reportedly its easy-to-clean urethane construction is damage resistant and is unaffected by most chemicals.

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RIGHT. Manufacturers of Cleanroom Seating (table).

To make a chair that is ESD compatible, BioFit starts with upholstery that ensures continuity, then grounds virtually every part of the chair to the base. Every chair has a drag chain and conductive casters. A spring-loaded ball bearing assembly in the pneumatic seat-height adjustment mechanism rides against the inner cylinder of the mechanism. This ensures continuity from the top of the backrest, through the seat, through the pneumatic cylinder, through the base, through the drag chain, through the casters or glides into the conductive floor or mat.

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RIGHT. Manufacturers of Cleanroom Seating (table – con’t.).

Bevco's (Evanston, IL) cleanroom and ESD/cleanroom seating features durable, seamless vinyl upholstery, stainless steel staples, resilient high-density foam and an effective air filtration system to trap particles while allowing the chair to conform to individual body shape. In BioFit's chairs, the Class 1 air exchange system is encased in a protective pan within the seat.

The chairs themselves are manufactured in a cleanroom. Generally, the vendors wipe them down, neutralize the static charge of any particles and blow them off with ionized air. Then the components are double bagged in certified cleanroom bags, labeled and shipped to the customer with directions for final assembly in the cleanroom.


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