Festo has been conducting particle tests to determine the suitability of standard products for use in clean rooms for over 25 years. More than 80 electric and pneumatic automation product series are suitable for use in clean room class 6 and higher. This means that solutions are available for most automation tasks in semiconductor and electronics production as well as in laboratory automation and pharmaceutical production.
Almost all kinds of motion result in minute particles being released due to friction. While they may be invisible to the human eye, in certain production environments they can result in defective products. Even particle fractions of a micrometre in size can interfere with the sensitive circuits in semiconductor components.
Tests with independent institutes
Suitable test procedures for standard components have been developed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (Fraunhofer IPA) in Stuttgart. Festo, with support from the Nanyang Technological University, has concentrated its clean room expertise in its own Competence Centre for Clean room Technology at Festo Singapore.
Based on the high quality standards for Festo products, almost the entire product range offered by the manufacturer of automation technology is suitable for use in clean room classes 7 to 9. In addition, Festo has tested a specific selection of its standard products to determine their suitability for use in clean rooms. This cross-section of the product range is designed to solve most automation solutions. Over 80 standard product series can thus be used in ISO clean room classes 6, 5 and even 4. These automation components are available worldwide at all times. The product overview for clean rooms – available to download on the Support Portal under www.festo.com/supportportal – makes reliable selection easier.
No special designs required
Since there is still no standardised international directive on clean rooms, Festo bases its testing practices on the procedure described in the German standard VDI 2083-9.1. The tested products are then assigned to the clean room classes described in ISO 14664-1.
Direct measurement of particles
The direct measurement method from VDI 2083-9.1 is used for the product tests to determine suitability for use under clean room conditions. Festo was involved in the formulation of the VDI standard and has been using the procedure defined in the standard since its publication at the end of 2006. With the direct measurement method, the critical areas of a test object where micro particles are more likely to occur are first identified, e.g. the area immediately around the piston rod seal in pneumatic cylinders.
This involves scanning the test objects in a “mini environment” using a test probe, replicating clean room class 3 described in ISO standard 14644-1. The concentration of particles produced by friction is measured over 100 minutes while the cylinder is moving at 80 per cent of its maximum permissible load. The detailed test ensures that the tested product is completely suitable for use under clean room conditions. The precision of the test provides customers with a long-term guarantee of maximum reliability for their clean room production.