There are plenty of factors that can ruin an experiment, or render a product unusable. In addition to user error, many months of research can be destroyed if the material is contaminated.
Even microscopic airborne particles can destroy particularly sensitive tests, which is why many labs include extremely sanitized environments.
Maintaining a sterile environment isn’t easy, though. There’s a lot of work and development that goes into a clean room, and the same amount of work goes into a white room. Both of these spaces are very similar, but they still have a few defining differences.
Today, we’ll be examining the differences between a white room versus a clean room. We’ll also be discussing how the amazing contractors and designers at OnePointe Solutions can help you design the clean room or white room of your dreams.
What Is a Clean Room?
A manufacturing clean room is an extremely sterile space, which is used to research, test, and manufacture a variety of technologies. Within a clean room, the air is heavily filtered, which prevents outside contaminants from entering the space.
By extension, contaminants within a clean room are also unable to escape.
These labs are utilized in industries that produce extremely sensitive equipment. Some of the biggest clean room users are within the following industries:
- Life science
- Rechargeable batteries
- Semiconductor creation
How Do Clean Rooms Work?
In order to maintain a sterile environment, clean rooms are equipped with a robust HVAC and filtration system. Depending on the application, a clean room will be kept clean with one of two different systems.
Positive pressure clean rooms draw air in, filter it, and push the clean air into the room. This means that should a leak occur, contaminated air will not flow into the room.
Instead, clean air will be forced out. This setup is most commonly used for applications that require extremely sterile conditions.
However, when a clean room handles hazardous materials, — such as toxic chemicals or biohazards — it will utilize a negative pressure filtration system. This means that any leaks will be redirected back into the clean room.
Some clean rooms will also have humidity controls, which prevent electrostatic discharge.
What Is a White Room?
Much like a clean room, a white room is a space that contains heavily filtered air and highly controlled conditions.
Within a white room, manufacturers typically carry out less precise activities. For example, after creating their products within a clean room, medical equipment companies often package their products in a white room.
This doesn’t mean that a white room is any less sterile, though!
In fact, white rooms typically feature plenty of protocols and devices to ensure that their materials remain sterile and clean. Anyone working in a white room is required to wear specially sanitized equipment.
Within a white room, humidity, temperature, and airborne contaminants are tightly controlled. Many white rooms even wrap and sanitize individual pieces of equipment to ensure that no cross-contamination occurs when they’re manufacturing their products.
How Do White Rooms Work?
Like clean rooms, white rooms rely upon a robust HVAC system. Filters remove unnecessary airborne contaminants, and various protocols ensure that cross-contamination is kept to a minimum.
What Is a White Room Versus a Clean Room?
Both white rooms and clean rooms have plenty of overlapping elements. Both environments are kept sterile, and both are used to create some of the most precise goods on the market today. However, there are a few key differences between these settings.
One of the biggest differences between a white room and a clean room is cleanliness. In order for a space to be a clean room, it must be certified by an authorized inspector.
Throughout the certification process, inspectors will measure:
- Airborne contamination levels
- Differential air pressure
- ISO certification
After the inspection, a proper clean room will receive a certificate.
However, this process is costly, and it may take some time for the resources to be available to you. To circumvent the delays and expenses associated with certification, many manufacturers created white rooms.
Unlike clean rooms, white rooms do not require certification. The procedures and protocols of a white room depend entirely upon the manufacturer and owner.
Without the need for certification and more stringent standards, white rooms often cost less to manufacture. However, they serve many of the same purposes, and both white and clean rooms are often used for:
- Aerospace engineering
- Computer manufacturing
- Electronic parts manufacturing
- Medical equipment creation
- Medical testing
- Nanotechnology production and research
- Optics research and production
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
What Kind of Equipment Is Used in Clean Rooms and White Rooms?
Because both clean rooms and white rooms function similarly, they often contain many of the same components. In addition to the many pieces of scientific equipment that must be stocked and securely stored, there’s a lot of groundwork that must be laid out before construction begins.
HVAC and Climate Control
One of the biggest parts of the clean room puzzle is its air filtration system. In order to maintain a sterile environment, both clean and white rooms must have a powerful HVAC system, and that system must be backed by an amazing filtration setup.
When designing an HVAC system, engineers must consider its efficiency and scope. Moreover, designs need to include room for failure. Leaks and accidents happen! As the design is taking shape, check in constantly. Make sure that there are plenty of safety features, including fume hoods, to keep your employees safe.
Once the big picture has been settled, it’s time to work on the details.
Every lab needs storage space, and clean rooms are no different. In fact, thanks to the sensitive nature of what is handled within clean and white rooms, these laboratories will need specialized casework.
With the help of a OnePointe Solutions designer, labs can get their hands on the most advanced anti-microbial casework on the market. These storage solutions are specially designed to remain clean, and they function well within any setting.
For additional security, they can be paired with our custom-built biosafety cabinets.
To complement the precision work that occurs within clean and white rooms, scientists must often use highly specialized anti-vibration work surfaces. Unlike regular desks, these tables are highly engineered works of art, and they’re designed to remain steady.
Labs will also want to have plenty of multifunctional workspaces, such as microscope tables and fully customizable islands.
The OnePointe Solutions Difference
Regardless of what you need, — whether it’s a few pieces of custom-made furniture or a comprehensive laboratory redesign — OnePointe Solutions is here to help. With decades of experience under our belt, we’re always ready to tackle a problem.
We work alongside you to create the working space of your dreams, and we won’t stop until it’s perfect!
If you’re ready to see the OnePointe Solutions difference, then it’s time to contact us! We’ll talk with you about what you need, and we can’t wait to see what we can do for you!