A cleanroom is a room or area with reduced airborne particles through control of the environment. Air particles at the sub-micron level must be removed constantly to prevent contamination.
This is accomplished through the use of pressurization, temperature and humidity control, air flow direction and rates, and specialized filtration. Cleanroom environments are usually required in pharmaceutical, electronic, medical device and other specialized manufacturing facilities. Each facility will have different standards regarding the amount of particles permitted, depending on the processes involved within the cleanroom. Typical air particle levels in an office environment range from 500,000 to 1,000,000 particles per cubic foot; cleanroom levels, however, might be 100 to 10,000 particles.
Strict protocols must be maintained to prevent contamination. The air is constantly monitored for any abnormal levels of airborne particles, which could contaminate the room and cause disaster. Even a human hair or flakes of skin could taint the area. Depending on the type of contamination, the cleanroom might have to be shut down completely with all processes lost, or a computer hardware malfunction could occur. Hard drive crash recovery can be done by a data recovery specialist in those cases.
Working in and maintaining a cleanroom environment can be a difficult task, but it is an important part of advanced manufacturing techniques.