igus is one of the leading manufacturers of energy chains in the area of cleanroom technology and has been successfully having its products tested since 1997. What began at the Dryden Engineering Company, California for the E2 mini series 10 and 14 and Zipper series 15 (class 1 (ISO class 3) cleanroom class) was completed with an extensive testing and certification programme in the in-house laboratory (with 3,800m² floor area, the largest of its kind in Europe) and continued at the Fraunhofer IPA Institute. Today, igus is therefore able to offer an IPA-certified range of e-chains that are easy to install and ensure the machine-specific supply of energy in cleanrooms. And for the customer, igus® not only offers energy chains, but also the right cable for moving applications.
In order to manufacture the best possible product for individual customer requirements, igus constantly tackles the challenges of cleanroom technology. A technology that is continually being used for new applications and demands permanent quality improvements from the manufacturer. Due to its intensive research activities, igus is well prepared for this future market. In order to be able to develop new cleanroom-compatible motion plastics faster, igus, together with the Fraunhofer IPA as development and certification partner, has designed and implemented a customised cleanroom laboratory featuring an ISO Class 1 cleanroom system in Cologne.
The new igus cleanroom laboratory was built by Fraunhofer IPA for the rapid development of particle-free motion plastics suitable for cleanrooms up to air purity class 1 according to ISO 14644-1.
The tests of the e-skin energy supply systems, take place in modular laminar flow boxes according to ISO 14644-14 conditions.
In the area of development of new cleanroom products, igus has been co-operating with the Fraunhofer IPH for 17 years. With the help of the new laboratory, igus can now test its motion plastics in accordance with ISO Class 14644-14. The internationally recognised ISO classes provide information on the extent to which the components are particle-free. They stipulate a permissible quantity of particles in a cleanroom. With the new cleanroom laboratory, igus can carry out long-term tests under real conditions, improve products in the shortest possible time and also implement customer-specific setups directly. In order to comply with ISO Class 1, the developer must first pass through a gowning room before entering the actual laboratory. Only then can they enter the main laboratory chamber. It contains two laminar flow boxes in which the cleanroom experiments are carried out. For larger test set-ups, the boxes can be connected to each other. In order to meet the cleanroom requirements, appropriate filtering and processing systems for the air are necessary. An investment that pays off in the long term.
EN ISO 14644 (in Germany DIN EN ISO 14644) is an internationally valid standard for cleanrooms and cleanroom areas. With the help of the standard, it is possible to divide rooms into cleanroom classes (ISO 1-9). The standard also takes into account aspects relating to the planning, operation and control of cleanroom facilities.
Originally developed in the semiconductor industry, EN ISO 14644 replaced the old US FED STD 209E standard in 2001. And in the meantime it has established itself in numerous industries – including aerospace, optics, pharmaceuticals, food, medical technology and healthcare.
In order to divide cleanrooms into cleanroom classes, EN ISO 14644 focuses on the concentration of particles in the air. The standard sets limits for the maximum permissible particle concentration per cubic metre of air. And assigns the degree of purity to cleanroom classes ISO 1-9. This is how ISO class 1 cleanrooms achieve the highest level of purity. For this purpose, a maximum of ten particles with a maximum size of 0.1 micrometres may be present in a cubic metre of air.
In order to determine the concentration uniformly, the standard specifies not only particle limit values but also recognised test methods. Modern particle measuring instruments are often equipped with a laser diode for the most accurate measurement. A table shows the minimum number of measuring points per area. The room meets the requirements if the average value of each measuring point does not exceed the limit values.
*chainflex® cables: chainflex® cables CF130, CF77, CF9, CF27, CF34 plus the CF clean air hose certified in accordance with ISO Class 1 - IPA.