Purchasers not picky, paper purveyors purport

by Mark A. DeSorbo

Sheila Wilson doesn't give much thought when ordering paper for the cleanrooms at Rudolph Technologies (Ledgewood, NJ). Once a month or so, Wilson, a buyer at the thin-film metrology tool maker, purchases just one 250-sheet case of blue, lint-free, 22.5-pound Munising from Connecticut Clean Room Corp. (Bristol, CT), which converts it from bulk rolls from the manufacturer Kimberly Clark Corp. (Roswell, GA).

“We use the color blue to tell the difference between the cleanroom documentation and office documentation,” she says. “We've been buying it from the same place for so long, and I haven't seen a price increase in the last five years, so I've stayed with them.”

And price is really what it boils down to, and that makes for a competitive, but small market nonetheless, says Sebastian Russo, sales and marketing manager for Connecticut Clean Room.

“It's a consumable, so paper is like a shoe cover,” he says. “People are so price conscience, they are more worried about that than if it generates more particles. To many, paper is paper.”

Generally, cleanroom bond is available in various weights, colors and configurations, from sticky notes to sheets to 3-by-5 notebooks to custom formats. Stationery is often packaged in an ISO Class 5 cleanroom and made with polypropylene or treated with latex, which bonds paper fibers to hinder particle generation.

The demand for cleanroom paper, however, is sagging, says Margaret Stephen, a former product manager for Kimberly Clark.

“Because the semiconductor maarket is so soft, the paper market suffers,” she says. “They use a lot of paper in those cleanrooms. The whole medical industry uses very little, and to those who do buy it, it all comes down to price, as long as they are not getting product rejects because of the paper.”

William Wright, president of Lym-Tech Scientific (Chicopee, MA), which makes Lym-Write products, says technology is also hurting the market.

He points out that Lym-Tech, like many of his competitors, is also in the wiper business. While technology has not eliminated the need for wipers, it is, Wright says, taking away the need for paper documentation.

“You can bring a PC, a laptop or a Palm Pilot into a cleanroom. That means there is no longer a need for notebooks or faxes because now you get e-mails,” says Wright. “I mean, when was the last time you sent a letter? We're seeing less of a demand for these products, and we're seeing cheap competition from Asia at the same time.”

While technology may be cutting back on its usage, there is a recommended practice for cleanroom stationery from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (Mount Prospect, IL).

IEST-RP-CC020.2: “Substrates and Forms Used for Documentation in Cleanrooms” applies to substrates and forms used in cleanrooms for documentation purposes. Specifically included are copy paper, writing paper, labels, tags, self-adhesive notes, perforated and punched forms, envelopes, bound materials and all printed versions thereof.

Eric Ono, chairman of the IEST-RP-CC020.2 working group, says the guidance has been dormant, but it will be revisited.

“The way it has been for that recommended practice is there has never been enough to come to a complete conclusion,” says Ono, who works as quality assurance manager for Prudential Cleanroom Services (Irvine, CA).

The working group, he says, will first look at the scope and add provisions for such aspects as cleanroom labeling.

“We want to talk with end users and find out what is important to them and their cleanrooms,” says Ono. “We want to work with the manufactures to determine what the similarities are in their test methods, come to agreement over those similarities and validate those test methods.”

The need for cleanroom stationery, Ono believes, will not go away, and that is all the more reason to polish and provide guidance for the contamination-control industry. The working group, he says, may have to branch out to include PC printers or thermal transfer to non-paper products.

“As much as some places believe they are paperless, you can still go into cleanrooms and find paper all over the place,” Ono says. “Typical users might be getting rid of it, but there is always one industry that is one generation behind that can use a [recommended practice]. There are also industries out there that just prefer to use paper because they still like that hard copy.”

Cleanroom paper players
Berkshire Corporation North America
21 River Street
PO Box 588
Great Barrington, MA 01230-0588
Phone: (800) 242-7000
Fax: (413) 528-2614
URL: http://www.berkshire.com

ITW Texwipe
650 E Crescent Avenue
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Phone: (201) 327-9100
Fax: (201) 327-5945
URL: http://www.texwipe.com

Kimberly-Clark Corp.
1400 Holcomb Bridge Road
Roswell, GA 30076
Phone: (770) 587-8905
Fax: (770) 587-8840
URL: http://www.kcc.com

Liberty Industries Inc.
133 Commerce Street
East Berlin, CT 06023
Phone: (800) 828-5656
Fax: (860) 828-8879
URL: http://www.liberty-ind.com

Lym-Tech Scientific
PO Box 157
Chicopee, MA 01014
Phone: (800) 628-8606
Fax: (413) 592-4112
URL: http://www.lymtech.com

Terra Universal Inc.
700 N Harbor Boulevard
Phone: (714) 526-0100
Fax: (714) 992-2179
URL: www.terrauniversal.com

The Texwipe Co. LLC
650 E Crescent Avenue
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Phone: (201) 327-9100
Fax: (201) 327-0163
URL: www.texwipe.com

Benchmark Products Inc.
531 Bank Lane
Highwood, IL 60040
Phone: (847) 433-3500
Fax: (847) 847-433-3545
URL: www.benchmarkproducts.com

Cameron & Barkley Co.
5255 Spring Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Phone: (612) 378-7300
Fax: (612) 623-9038
URL: www.cambar.com

Cintas Cleanroom Resources Division
2221 Willwool Drive
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: (408) 286-9982
Fax: (408) 286-9983
URL: www.cintascleanroom.com

Connecticut Cleanroom Corp.
32 Valley Street
Bristol, CT 06011-0840
Phone: (860) 589-0049
Fax: (860) 585-7355
URL: www.connecticutcleanromm.com

Fisher Safety
200 Park Lane
Pittsburgh, PA 15275
Phone: (800) 772-6733
Fax: (800) 772-7702
URL: www.fishersafety.com

High-Tech Conversions Inc.
7 Taylor Road
Enfield, CT 06082
Phone: (860) 749-1622
Fax: (860) 749-0747
URL: www.high-techconversions.com

Innotech Products Inc
1045 10th Avenue SE
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: (888) 270-0458
Fax: (612) 827-6880
URL: www.innotechprod.com

Metron Technology
Grafton Way
Basingstoke, UK RG22 6HY
Phone: (44) 1256-792-000
Fax: (44) 1256-792-033
URL: www.metrontech.com

Metron Technology
Cleanroom Division
2019 McKenzie Drive, Suite 150
Carollton, TX 75006
Phone: (972) 488-1811
Fax: (972) 241-6298
URL: www.metrontech.com

Micro Equipment Co
1815 NW 169th Place, Suite 1080
Beaverton, OR 97006
Phone: (800) 552-4117; (503) 533-0719
Fax: (503) 439-8257
URL: www.microeq.com

Prudential Cleanroom Services
1661 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92606
Phone: (800) 252-7710
Fax: (949) 261-1947
URL: www.pcs-clean.com

Ultrapure Technology
325 Brogdon Road
Suwanee, GA 30024
Phone: (800) 932-0309
Fax: (770) 932-0809
URL: www.ultrapuretechnology.com

VWR Scientific Products
1310 Goshen Parkway
Westchester, PA 19380
Phone: (800)-932-5000
URL: www.vmrsp.com


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