Thursday, June 20, 2013

The True Value of a Cleanroom

clean room valueIn this article, we are going to be looking at cleanrooms, and how various companies can benefit from having one installed within their facilities. Just in case you are unsure of what a cleanroom is, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it thus: a room for the manufacture […] that is maintained at a high level of cleanliness by special means.

Although they are mostly used for the manufacture of things (usually objects requiring precision manufacture, such as microchips and the like), cleanrooms can also be useful for research.

It is difficult to evaluate exactly how valued cleanrooms are in the industry, as they have become completely inextricable from the process – they have been used for a long time, and the technology driving them has evolved alongside the industry as a whole.

To try and work out the “true” value of a cleanroom, in isolation, we are going to have to look at a case study performed by Life Science. For the full study, you can click here, but a summary will follow.

The Beginnings of the Case Study

Working in a major IVF facility, the case study commenced with the design and construction of a cleanroom to be used in the process of transferring the embryo. IVF facilities usually work out of normal laboratories, with the fertilisation taking place in a biosafety cabinet, and the embryo developing in temperature-controlled incubators.

A human embryo is, of course, an immensely delicate object. Taken outside of its natural environment (the human body), an embryo has no protection against any contaminants, as it has been refined over thousands of generations to survive in the ultimate controlled environment.

To keep the embryo safe outside the body, you’re going to need a similar environment, one which is as close to perfectly-controlled as possible. We couldn’t imagine a better place than a cleanroom, so set about performing the case study.

The new cleanroom was to use an ISO-7 environment for the fertilisation and growth, while the embryo implantation was to be in an ISO-8 one. You can find out more about cleanrooms by clicking here, and get more information about cleanroom standards here.

The Results of the Case Study

Of course, the pregnancy success rates did not simply and instantly rocket upwards – no one was expecting them to; IVF implantations are not that straightforward. At first, the rates of success were about the same as they had been prior to the installation of the cleanroom.

However, as time passed by, the doctors and nurses soon began to see an upward tick, and they reported that the variability of the success rates had reduced by a significant amount.

These results only continued to improve as the staff members got used to working within the cleanroom environment, and as they adapted to the different practices used in a cleanroom. This showed that the initial stalling of positive results was perhaps due to unfamiliarity with the environment.

The new cleanroom allowed staff to be more responsive to issues, as and when they arise, as they could now both monitor and evaluate cleanliness, maintenance, and operator methods, meaning they could continue to improve their technique.

In all, it was the cleanroom that caused these positive results.

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