Tyvek® Combines Personal and Product Protection in Cleanrooms
Contamination protection for products and processes in cleanrooms requires effective particle barrier clothing, while personal protection from hazardous substances requires an effective defence against biological and chemical substances. Tyvek® protective clothing covers cleanroom protection needs.
Cleanroom clothing primarily functions as a personal filter that protects products and processes from contamination by people, who can often act as the most serious source of particle emission in a cleanroom. Some cleanroom work, on the other hand, requires the protection of people from hazardous substances, such as liquid or solid chemicals as well as biological agents. These hazards may occur not only in chemical, pharmaceutical and microbiological environments, but also, for instance, in the production of computer chips or while painting under cleanroom conditions.
Both cleanroom clothing and chemical protective clothing need to meet the same basic criteria for use in a cleanroom: the material and suit must be low-linting, the design must be sufficiently tight and the danger of collecting particles on the surface of the garment must be minimised. Furthermore, such clothing must be comfortable to wear, must have good electrostatic discharge efficiency and – if the clothing is required to be germ-proof – sterilisation must be possible.
The potential effectiveness of clothing as a particle filter to help protect products and processes, and as a barrier to protect the wearer, can be demonstrated using Tyvek® protective clothing. The clothing and its materials are subjected to a whole range of checks to help ensure their suitability for use in a cleanroom.
Tyvek® suits not only provide product protection. They also meet the requirements of Type 4-B, 5 and 6 chemical protective clothing:
- Tyvek® Industry, with a collar and inside seams, is typically used as protection from liquid mist (Type 6) and from solid airborne particles (Type 5) as well as to protect delicate processes.
- Tyvek® Classic Xpert provides superior level of protection and comfort in the Type 5/6 category.
- Tyvek® Classic Plus suits offer Type 4-B, 5 and 6 protection, as they have tight over-taped seams, helping provide additional protection from liquid aerosols and particulates. This type of suit can also be used when dealing with biological agents as it offers an effective barrier against biologically contaminated dust under EN 14126:2003. Also available with attached socks.
Moreover, Tyvek® suits can be complemented with a diverse range of accessories.
Tyvek® benefits at a glance
- Protective: Good two-way particle barrier and chemical permeation barrier to low concentration, water-based chemicals
- Extremely light yet strong, continuing to provide protection in use
- Comfortable: Both air and water vapour permeable
- Ultra low linting and silicon free
- Highly resistant to tear and abrasion
Tyvek® protective clothing is a limited-use/single-use application that helps provide consistently high protection and negates the need for cleaning. It is worth noting that Tyvek® protective clothing is inexpensive in terms of waste disposal, as it does not have any “critical” – e.g. halogenic – additives (thus allowing standard disposal) and is extremely lightweight. Obviously, if clothing has been contaminated by hazardous substances, it must be disposed of in the same way as the actual substances according to the relevant national disposal regulations.
Electrostatic discharge efficiency
Another vital criterion for suitable use in a cleanroom – in addition to particle retention capacity and defence against hazardous substances – is electrostatic discharge efficiency. Electrostatic discharges cause considerable concern as they pose a health hazard to the workforce and may have a destructive effect on sensitive products. It is a known fact that synthetic materials can be particularly charge-prone. Therefore, both sides of Tyvek® are given a full-surface antistatic coating during the production of the nonwoven enabling electrostatic discharge to earth when properly grounded. This antistatic coating meets the requirements of EN 1149-1:1995 and EN 1149-1:2006 with EN 1149-5:2008.