Controlled Environment & Cleanroom
Ask us how we can improve your process.
Coventry™ Swabs and Wipes: From Our Cleanroom to Yours
At Coventry™, we understand exactly what you want from your cleaning products:
Reliability and Performance. Coventry products keep contamination out of your process, improve yield, and perform consistently, shipment to shipment.
Cleanroom Quality and Consistency. To manufacture a Coventry swab, we start with engineered clean materials. Polyester swab and wipe components are laundered first in our Class 10 (ISO Class 4) cleanroom.
Exclusive Post-Manufacturing Processes. Coventry’s Aqua-Prime™ process reduces particles, ionic contamination, and non-volatile residue. The Aqua-Prime™ process cleans the swab with a purified proprietary solvent blend.
Widest Selection of Critical Application Swabs. Coventry has a wide variety of choices to meet your most demanding applications. The wrapped swab, uniquely designed with no seams or edges, prevents scratching of delicate surfaces. Also included in the product line are sealed fabric, sealed foam, and static control. All Coventry products are packaged in non-contaminating ESD safe plastic bags. You’re sure to find a swab from Coventry that meets your particular need.
Products That Bring Value, not Contamination, to Your Processes. Strict quality controls throughout ensure consistent reliability. Clean and static-free packaging seals in contamination-free quality from our cleanroom to yours.
Dedicated Customer Support. Live support is available via our Technical Hotline at 1-800-TECH-401. We even custom engineer products for your special needs.
Choose Your Product
How do the different cleanroom classification methods compare?
Cleanroom classification methods are used to categorize cleanrooms based on their level of cleanliness. The primary methods for classifying cleanrooms include ISO 14644-1, FS 209E, and EU GMP Annex 1. Here's a comparison of these methods:
ISO 14644-1 (International Organization for Standardization):
ISO 14644-1 is a globally recognized standard for cleanroom classification. It replaced the previous FS 209E standard in most parts of the world.
It uses the concept of airborne particle counts to classify cleanrooms into different classes. The particle counts are measured in particles per cubic meter (e.g., ISO Class 5, ISO Class 7, ISO Class 8, etc.).
ISO 14644-1 also sets limits for particles of different sizes (0.1 μm, 0.5 μm, 1 μm, 5 μm, etc.) that are permitted in each class of cleanroom.
FS 209E (Federal Standard 209E):
FS 209E was a widely used cleanroom classification standard in the United States before being replaced by ISO 14644-1.
Like ISO 14644-1, FS 209E classifies cleanrooms based on airborne particle counts. However, the classes and allowable particle counts are different between the two standards.
For example, an ISO Class 5 cleanroom corresponds to a Class 100 cleanroom in FS 209E. The numbers indicate the maximum allowable number of particles per cubic foot.
EU GMP Annex 1 (European Union Good Manufacturing Practice, Annex 1):
EU GMP Annex 1 is a guideline specific to cleanrooms used in the pharmaceutical industry within the European Union.
It includes requirements for cleanroom classification and monitoring but focuses more on the manufacturing of sterile medicinal products.
Annex 1 recommends similar airborne particle limits as ISO 14644-1 for different cleanroom grades (Grade A, B, C, D), but it also emphasizes microbial monitoring and control.
ISO 14644-1 is now the most widely adopted standard worldwide, offering a more consistent global approach to cleanroom classification.
FS 209E is no longer commonly used, but it's worth noting its historical significance and its influence on cleanroom standards.
EU GMP Annex 1 is specific to the pharmaceutical industry within the European Union, addressing both particle and microbial control, but its principles align with those of ISO 14644-1.
When considering cleanroom classification, it's essential to understand the specific requirements of the industry and region where the cleanroom is located. Manufacturers and regulatory bodies often follow one of these standards to ensure the appropriate level of cleanliness for their specific applications.
What are environmental swabs?
Environmental swabs are sampling tools used to collect samples from surfaces in the environment to test for the presence of various microorganisms, contaminants, or residues. These swabs typically consist of a sterile swab attached to a handle, which makes it easy to swipe and collect samples from different surfaces.
The primary purpose of environmental swabbing is to assess the cleanliness and hygiene of surfaces in various settings, including healthcare facilities, food processing plants, laboratories, and public spaces. By testing environmental swabs, organizations can monitor and identify potential sources of contamination, prevent the spread of infections, and ensure compliance with health and safety standards.
Common uses of environmental swabs include:
- Microbial monitoring: Swabs are used to detect and quantify bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms present on surfaces. This is particularly important in healthcare settings and food processing facilities to prevent the spread of infections and maintain product safety.
- Allergen detection: Swabs are employed to identify the presence of allergens in food processing areas, helping to prevent cross-contamination and ensure product safety for individuals with specific allergies.
- Residue detection: Swabs can be used to test for the presence of chemical residues, such as cleaning agents, pesticides, or heavy metals, on surfaces to ensure compliance with safety regulations.
- Cross-contamination prevention: Environmental swabs can identify potential sources of cross-contamination in various industries, ensuring that proper sanitation measures are in place.
To use an environmental swab, the swab is rubbed or rolled over the targeted surface to collect any microorganisms or contaminants present. The swab is then returned to its sterile packaging for transport to a laboratory, where it is processed for analysis and identification of any potential hazards.
It is important to use proper sampling techniques and follow established guidelines to obtain accurate and reliable results. Environmental swabbing is a valuable tool in ensuring the safety and cleanliness of various environments.
What are the different types of cleanroom swabs?
Cleanroom swabs are essential tools used in controlled environments, such as cleanrooms, where maintaining high levels of cleanliness and avoiding contamination is crucial. Different types of cleanroom swabs are designed to meet specific requirements and are made from various materials to suit different applications. Some common types of cleanroom swabs include:
- Foam Swabs: Foam swabs are made from polyurethane foam, which has excellent solvent compatibility and high absorbency. These swabs are ideal for cleaning delicate surfaces, applying solvents, and removing excess residues. Foam swabs come in different sizes and shapes to address various cleaning needs.
- Polyester Swabs: Polyester swabs are constructed from a synthetic material that has low particle generation and good chemical resistance. These swabs are often used in precision cleaning applications, particularly in sensitive electronic components and hard-to-reach areas.
- Microfiber Swabs: Microfiber swabs are designed to trap and remove microscopic particles effectively. They are often used in cleaning sensitive optical surfaces, camera lenses, and other high-precision equipment.
- Cotton Swabs: Cotton swabs, also known as cotton-tipped swabs, have a cotton tip attached to a plastic or wooden handle. They are commonly used in less critical cleanroom environments for general cleaning and application of solutions.
- ESD-Safe Swabs: Electrostatic discharge (ESD)-safe swabs are designed to prevent damage to sensitive electronic components that could be harmed by static electricity. These swabs are usually constructed with conductive materials that dissipate static charges.
It's important to select the right type of cleanroom swab based on the specific needs of the cleanroom environment and the surfaces or equipment being cleaned. Each type of swab has unique characteristics that make it suitable for different applications, so proper selection is essential to ensure effective cleaning and avoid any risk of contamination.
What are common cleanroom contaminants and causes?
Cleanrooms are controlled environments designed to minimize the presence of airborne and surface contaminants to ensure the quality and integrity of products or processes. Despite the strict protocols and procedures, various contaminants can still be present. Some common cleanroom contaminants include:
- Particulates: Tiny solid particles suspended in the air, often originating from human skin, clothing fibers, equipment, or the surrounding environment.
- Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic organisms can be introduced into cleanrooms through people, equipment, or the ventilation system.
- Aerosols: Airborne liquid or solid particles, such as mists, sprays, or dust, which can enter the cleanroom and contaminate surfaces or products.
- Chemicals: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), cleaning agents, and other chemicals may be introduced from cleaning procedures, materials, or equipment.
- Electrostatic discharge (ESD): Static electricity can lead to ESD events, potentially damaging sensitive electronic components.
- Outgassing: Some materials used in cleanrooms may release volatile substances over time, contributing to contamination.
- Improperly filtered air: If the cleanroom's air handling systems are not adequately maintained or filters are not functioning correctly, contaminants from the outside environment may infiltrate the cleanroom.
- Human error: Inadequate adherence to cleanroom protocols, improper gowning, or the presence of untrained personnel can introduce contaminants.
- Packaging materials: Contaminants from packaging materials used to transport goods or equipment into the cleanroom can be a source of contamination.
- Facility design: Poorly designed cleanroom layout or improper airflow patterns can lead to the spread of contaminants within the controlled environment.
To maintain a cleanroom's intended level of cleanliness, thorough cleaning and monitoring processes are essential, along with the proper training and adherence to cleanroom protocols by personnel working within the controlled environment.
What type of wipe is best for cleanrooms?
Cleanroom wipes used for critical applications are almost always knitted synthetic fibers. Knitted polyester fabric, like used for Coventry Poly-Wipes (part #6209), is the most popular wipe material for cleanrooms. Knitted polyester is made clean, contaminants can easily be removed from knitted polyester in a cleanroom laundry, and polyester is relatively inexpensive. Non-woven wipes do not offer the advantage of ease in cleaning as their composition causes them to disintegrate in a cleanroom washing machine or cleanroom drier.
Are swabs available for cleaning static sensitive electronics?
Yes, Chemtronics offers a full line of ESD swabs. They include foam, knit polyester, or knit microfiber heads with static dissipative handles. The proprietary handle material has surface resistivity of 1.0 x 10_10 ohms/sq, and will dissipate 99% of (5 kV) charge in 0.5 seconds. This avoids static generation, and can dissipate a charge when the user is grounded.
Are Q-tips / cotton bud swabs lint free?
No, cotton bud swabs (aka Q-tips) can’t be considered lint-free. Cotton tends to lead behind threads and particulates. Open cell polyurethane foam swabs are a common, very clean replacement for cotton. If harsh solvents are being used on the swabs, or even more cleanliness is needed, knit polyester or microfiber swabs are an excellent choice.
What is a foam swab? / Why should I use a foam swab?
While cotton bud swabs (aka Q-tips) are commonly used for all kinds of precision cleaning, foam swabs are commonly used to reduce contamination from cotton threads and particulates. Foam swabs are usually made of open cell polyurethane for maximum cleanliness and absorbency.
What is a sterile swab?
Sterile swabs are free from bacteria or other living microorganisms. Common methods for sterilization include autoclaves, ETO (ethylene oxide gas), and Gamma irradiation. Sterile swabs are generally used for biological sample collection to avoid sample contamination, and for medical use to avoid infection.