Cleanroom vacuums—strength and safety

by Laureen Belleville

This is not your mother's vacuum cleaner.

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Surface contamination control is a challenging process within any cleanroom. Unseen particles—those smaller than 40 microns—can be the most difficult to control. Vacuum systems are available for ISO Class 4 through ISO Class 8 CleanRooms, gowning areas and air showers in all pharmaceutical labs, medical device manufacturers, biological labs and computer rooms.

One critical element of these products is the filtration system. Typically, this includes a disposable paper bag, a non-woven cloth or cotton main filter and a standard ULPA filter (99.999 percent efficient at 0.12 micron) or a HEPA filter. Explosion-proof units are available for hazardous locations where the presence of flammable gases, vapors or finely pulverized dust in the atmosphere is sufficient to create a threat of explosion or fire.

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A sampling of cleanroom vacuums from Tiger-Vac.

For areas where electromagnetic interference (EMI) is an issue, vacuums are available that eliminate static electricity and static charge buildup and protect sensitive electronic equipment. In one system, any static electricity that is produced while vacuuming is dissipated through the conductive hose, through the vacuum cleaner and discharged to the ground.

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Other issues to consider are the number and size of the motor(s), the suction and filtration capabilities, the sound rating, and the ability to work in wet, dry or wet and dry situations. For wet vacuuming applications, check to be sure the filter tubes are water, mildew, rot and corrosion resistant.

For mobility, most are offered on wheels, and backpack versions provide the ultimate flexibility. One larger system also boasts a floor buffer for total cleaning.

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Distributors of cleanroom vacuum cleaners

  • Holter Associates Inc., Pittsford, NY, Tel: (716) 381-7988, Fax: (716) 381-2351
  • Liberty Industries Inc., East Berlin, CT, Tel: (860) 828-6361, Fax: (860) 828-8879,
  • Micro Equipment Co., Beaverton, OR, Tel: (503) 533-0719, Fax: (503) 439-8257
  • Terra Universal Inc., Anaheim, CA, Tel: (714) 526-0100, Fax: (714) 992-2179,
  • Ultrapure Technology, Suwanee, GA, Tel: (800) 932-0309, Fax: (770) 932-0809,
  • VWR Scientific Products, West Chester, PA, Tel: (800) 932-5000 Fax: (610) 918-0310,

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Manufacturers of cleanroom vacuum cleaners


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