Inventor’s corner

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Molding and packaging device and method
The invention is an apparatus as well as a method for manufacturing articles such as syringe barrels, substantially free from contaminants. The apparatus is an enclosure defining at least an ISO Class 5 (Class 100) environment, and includes molding isolation and packaging isolation modules. Any contaminants that may exist within the enclosure are removed by horizontal and vertical laminar airflows directed into air filter units. The molding temperature may be selected, rendering fabricated articles substantially free from contaminants. The molding isolation and packaging isolation modules keep the articles free from contaminants from the time the articles are molded to the time the articles are placed in sealed containers for shipment.
Patent number: 6,145,277
Date granted: November 14, 2000
Inventors: Mark Lawecki, Eugene A. Gelblum; Michelle Robinson;
Ralph E. Wolstenholm; and Eugene B. Wolstenholm, of Medrad Inc. (Indianola, PA).

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Method of cleaning gases
The method and apparatus clean a gas to prevent contaminating the surface of a substrate in a localized space. A photocatalyst, illuminated with light, comes in contact with the gas to be treated. Any noxious gases are removed from the treated gas. Alternatively, an apparatus comprising an ultraviolet radiation source, a photocatalyst, a photoelectron emitter and an electrode is installed in a selected area of the localized space and the gas to be treated is passed through the unit, whereby noxious gases and particles are removed from the treated gas.

The invention can be used in cleanrooms—such as those in semiconductor fabrication plants, liquid crystal fabrication plants and precision machine manufacturing plants—where the outgassing of hydrocarbons is a contamination source.
Patent number: 6,159,421
Date granted: December 12, 2000
Inventor: Toshiaki Fujii, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Cleanroom floorboard
The floorboard has a support unit and a tile unit. In the support unit, a plate part has a number of engaging holes on its upper surface. The support part is vertically and integrally formed along the edge of the lower surface of the plate part. Reinforcing ribs are integrated with both the plate part and the support part. In the tile unit, a cover part engages with the upper surface of the plate part. A number of engaging projections are formed on the lower surface of the cover part at positions corresponding to the engaging holes of the support unit. Each of the engaging projections has a ventilation hole at its central position.

The tile unit is firmly welded to and integrated with the upper surface of the support unit through an injection-molding unit. This simplifies the process of manufacturing the floorboard, keeps it free from emitting any odors or toxic gases, and makes it useful for lengthy periods of time.
Patent number: 6,155,013
Date granted: December 5, 2000
Inventor: Chae-Won Kim, Seoul, Rep. of Korea

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Flow control apparatus
The apparatus controls the volume of air that is supplied to and fumes that are exhausted from an electronic semiconductor manufacturing wet bench. This type of wet bench typically utilizes corrosive chemicals such as acids to etch the wafers. During the filling and use of the acid, the noxious fumes produced must be exhausted to prevent user exposure. The volume of air that is moved through the wet bench can significantly impact the cost of operating the wet bench. This cleanroom-quality air must be processed and filtered to remove particles that could contaminate the semiconductor wafer. The flow control apparatus reduces the cost of operation by varying the amount of air flow through the wet bench between high and low flow conditions, which are dictated by the nature of the activity that is occurring within the wet bench.

The controller monitors the status of the wet bench during operation. The display panel indicates in CFM the actual flow through the wet bench, and status lights show normal, marginal and alarm conditions. The operator can push a purge button to open the control damper to its full position if there is a spill or other unsafe condition. The operator can manually set the flow from low or high flow condition to the reverse.
Patent number: 6,152,818
Date granted: November 28, 2000
Inventors: Steven D. Jacob, Louis Hrkman, Jr.,
and Michael Laport, Siemens Building Technologies, Buffalo Grove, IL

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Wall system
The non-progressive wall system can be 11 to 12 feet high and does not require excessive demolition of adjacent panels and framing posts. It does not use a continuous horizontal header. Instead, the system consists of framing posts and connector blocks mounted to the ends of framing members. At the connection where four wall panels are joined at a common point, the connector blocks abut each other and serve to splice aligned framing posts and to provide structural integrity to the framing members. This arrangement permits selective removal of the framing posts and adjacent wall panels. The wall system also meets the lateral load and deflection requirements for non-progressive wall systems greater than eight feet high.
Patent number: 6,155,014
Date granted: December 5, 2000
Inventor: S. Ross Wagner, Tigard, OR

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Ceiling arrangement
The ceiling arrangement can be used for securing and supporting filter/ventilation units in cleanrooms. The design comprises profiled beams with end faces and connecting members. The connecting members have at least two end faces that provide a flush connection to the end faces of the profiled beams. For each one of the flush connections, the end face of the connecting member or the end face of the profiled beam has a groove. Before assembly, a dry sealing member is inserted into the matching grooves. After assembly, a reliable sealing action in the abutment area is ensured. When the filter/ventilation unit must be repaired or exchanged, one of the profile beams can be removed then resealed.
Patent number: 6,158,186
Date granted: December 12, 2000
Inventor: Eugen Feller, Grafenau, Germany

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Textile laundering system
The textile laundering system is installed in a controlled environment and may be used to launder cleanroom garments. It includes a washing machine, a dryer and a device for measuring the number and sizes of particles present within textiles. The washing machine has a loading and an unloading side and equipment access panel and is situated within a sealed opening in a vertical partition. It uses only water that is substantially free of ions, minerals and organic material. The equipment access of the washer and dryer are enclosed within a service chase.
Patent number: 6,128,931
Date granted: October 10, 2000
Inventor: Robert L. Woods,
Advanced Micro Devices Inc.
(Sunnyvale, CA)

Contamination control system
The system, which relates to contamination control of fluids with media contained in a replaceable assembly, includes a housing having a cartridge input-output port and an application input-output port. The cartridge can be coupled to the cartridge input-output port and can completely fit in the interior of the housing. A dual isolation surface is provided between cartridge and housing so that they can be separately isolated at the fluid interface. The isolation interface is resiliently engageable to make the fluid path open and close. The cartridge body has a multi-region interior chamber. The chamber, which is in fluid communication with an input and an output and defines a fluid flow path that is larger than any dimension of the body.

Double containment results from the housing containing the cartridge and the cartridge containing the purification or filtration media. A fluid isolation interface isolates the housing from the atmosphere when a cartridge is not coupled to the housing.
Patent number: 6,149,718
Date granted: November 21, 2000
Inventors: Cathy L. Cowan, Canton, CT;
and Luciano M. Melluzzo, New Britain, CT

Send your inventions
Information on the patents highlighted was obtained through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Inventors who have been granted patents within the last six months for new cleanroom and contamination technology are encouraged to submit them to CleanRooms magazine for publication. Send a brief description of the invention along with a detailed drawing to Mark A. DeSorbo, associate editor, CleanRooms, 98 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, NH 03062, or e-mail at [email protected].


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