A legal responsibility lies on those responsible for cleaning up dusts in industry, including cleanrooms, to ensure it is done without ­affecting ­workers’ health and safety. The legal situation is complex and Rick Hollebon, UK product manager for Nilfisk ALTO and Nilfisk-CFM says it is important for for employers and cleaning companies to understand the legal and ­technical requirements as well as the solutions available from manufacturers

Modern industry deals with an ever-increasing variety of materials. Some of these materials in dust form are known to be hazardous to health. 

Cleanrooms provide additional challenges as the environment must have a controlled level of contamination that is specified by the number of particles per cubic metre at a specified particle size. These particles include dust, microbes and chemical vapours.

ISO 14644-1 is a cleanroom standard, ISO levels 1 to 9 dictate the level of contamination permitted in terms of particle size and number per cubic metre.

Air entering a clean room environment from outside is filtered to exclude dust and inside air is constantly re-circulated through HEPA and/or ULPA filters to remove internally generated contaminants.

Equipment inside the clean room is therefore designed to generate minimal air contamination.

Vacuum cleaner systems within clean rooms must therefore meet specific requirements. Volumes of dust are usually small in comparison so container sizes are generally small.

More importantly, however, conventional vacuum cleaner motors have carbon brushes fitted which emit carbon dust as the brushes in the commutator wear down. To overcome this, clean room vacuum cleaners with conventional carbon brush motors must be fitted with an additional high level ULPA filter on the vacuum exhaust.

More recent technology has seen the introduction of brushless electronic motor drives on some single phase vacuum cleaners.

The motors are therefore free of carbon emissions as they have no carbon brushes and do not need additional filtration on the exhaust side of the vacuum cleaner turbine.

Depending on the clean room application, the vacuum cleaner may need to be thoroughly sterilised. Its component materials must therefore be suitable and the manufacturer of the vacuum cleaner should be consulted to ensure that the machine can be sterilised if required.

Nilfisk-CFM machines complying with all these requirements and suitable for use in ISO 4 cleanrooms include the Nilfisk IVT 1000CR.

The Nilfisk-ALTO ATTIX 50-21PC is suitable for ISO classes 5 to 9 and can be used both wet and dry applications.

Anyone unsure about the technical aspects governing the use of industrial vacuum cleaners in clean room environments can request a consultation and site survey from an expert such as members of Nilfisk-CFM’s sales team.

Nilfisk-CFM is a manufacturer of specialist industrial cleaning ­equipment. From portable industrial vacuums to pneumatic conveyers and centralised vacuum systems Nilfisk-CFM is a specialist in its field and can offer on site consultations, surveys and demonstrations.



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