A cast of reasonable predictions

Click here to enlarge image

Where were you in your career 10 years ago? Where will you be 10 years from now? Take a look at your situation today: Did you have any idea you'd be where you are?

Every person, technology and product has a timeline—a history and a projected future. The cleanroom, when viewed as a set of critical tools and practices, has a vibrant history and, as we learn in this month's Special Report (page 12), a future with enormous potential.

The benefits of cleanroom technology and practices will not only help to drive the development and manufacture of our new, “unthinkable” products over the next 10 years, but will enter our homes and affect our lives in ways we can only imagine. Picture a cleanroom suite sold through your local home medical equipment dealer or pharmacy to supplement a stringent home care regime.

This month, we've tapped in our global network of users, designers/builders and technology thought leaders to give us their best, most reasonable prognostication based on the contamination-control technology we have available to us.

Some of the offerings include: real-time, intelligent monitoring with the help of advanced process controls (APCs); increased emphasis on surface contamination in the course of a process across all industries; self-cleaning cleanrooms; Lego-style rooms; increased focus on vibration control for MEMS and nano R&D; LED lighting; a larger role for computers and software; and the increased hybridization of rooms culminating in cleanroom design that's more specific to end-user needs.

The most refreshing part of this finished package is that many of these ideas are already out of the gate and well on their way to being implemented in your facility. I found, however, that a fair portion of these predictions were geared to the needs of the emerging nanotech and MEMS community—and for good reason.

It's pure fact that contamination control vendors will be eyeing MEMS makers quite keenly over the next 10 years; while our end users will be adjusting and readjusting existing (now stagnant) semi and micro-based R&D facilities to meet the new production requirements.

Now, for those who predicted the demise of the cleanroom five years ago, think again. Some technologies may change, even morph into minienvironments, but the contamination control “frame of mind” continues to drive progress.

Michael A. Levans
Chief Editor


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.