Did you know that water might be clean enough to drink but not clean enough to use in your food? When it comes to water used in a cleanroom and manufacturing setting, it’s critical that the water is free of all contaminants and particles to maintain consumer safety. But what industries exactly need an ultrapure water system?
Semiconductors are well known in the cleanroom industry, as they are constantly getting smaller and smaller, so even the smallest particle could wreak havoc on the end product. And as the product decreases in size, cleanliness standards are increasing. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) sets the standard for ultrapure water in the semiconductors and they continue to expect cleaner water.
Ultrapure water is used to clean and etch in semiconductors. An extreme amount of water is needed in this industry, so having a working ultrapure water system is vital. To etch a single wafer, over 1,000 gallons of ultrapure water is needed.
Even though a huge amount of water is needed, it’s worth it to make the semiconductors just right. If the ultrapure water contains contaminants and causes product damage, the company will be forced to discard products instead of using them. Using faulty products can lead to permanent brand damage.
Each year, the industry spends around $1 billion on water and wastewater expenses, because they understand the ramifications of not using the appropriate cleaning systems.
What happens if a pharmaceutical company has contaminants in its products? First and foremost, if the contamination is not noticed before the product leaves the cleanroom, the consumer could end up being affected. This could also lead to lawsuits and irreparable damage to the brands’ reputation and, potentially, their funding.
If the contamination is noted, there could be any level of costly yield loss and investigations. In pharmaceuticals, manufacturers spend approximately $3.1 million each year to avoid contamination events because they understand the potential ramifications. When using a liquid particle counter that is inappropriate for the application, the pollutants might not be noted until a lot of product has been contaminated and must be discarded.
To avoid this contamination, ultrapure water is used to ensure a high level of product integrity. Industry standards dictate that water used in the production of pharmaceuticals must have dissolved levels at least 10,000 times lower than the dissolved levels of standard drinking water. As an additional precaution, the water must be free of organic materials and bacteria.
An important step in the treatment of ultrapure water used in pharmaceuticals is the reverse osmosis used to remove 98% of the influent water salts. Depending on the level of purity, advanced ion exchange or continuous deionization might be used to achieve better water quality.
Ultrapure water is used a couple different ways in food production. It’s both used in food products and as a cleaning device in the production areas.
Now, if potable water is clean enough to drink, why is it not considered clean enough to use in food production? Water that is considered potable in some areas might not be considered potable in other areas. So ultrapure water is held to the same standard across the country - no matter the feed source for the water.
Additionally, the water is not just used for cleaning, it’s used for sanitizing. The goal is not just to clean off a surface but to completely remove contaminants and leave the surface free of microorganisms that could cause damage to the product and consumer.
At 25°C, ultrapure water has a resistivity of 18.2 MΩ-cm. Resistivity measures electrical resistance. This makes it ideal for use in laboratory settings instead of standard potable water, which has a much lower resistivity. Resistivity, however, does not take into account endotoxins, nucleases, and organic contaminants. So ultrapure water used in labs may need to go under additional treatments to remove these possible impurities.
Once it’s as perfectly pure as possible, ultrapure water is used in handling cell and tissue cultures, flow cytometry, and pyrogen sensitive applications.
What happens if contaminants are in the ultrapure water used in laboratories? The specimens could be contaminated causing research to be lost. If this is not caught early on, the research could continue on faulty premises and even lead to poor results. This could set the research back quite a ways if the researchers need to start over, which could result in lost funding. If the information got out that the lab was contaminated, there could also be a loss of reputation.
While a damaged reputation might not sound as serious as contaminated research, it’s still very serious. It impacts the lab’s ability to secure funding and talent.
If your setting requires an ultrapure water system, one of the most important things you can do is make sure the water coming out of your purewater system is actually the right level of cleanliness. And you can do this through investing in a robust liquid particle counter designed to serve you.
The primary function of a liquid particle counter is to monitor your ultrapure water to make sure it really lives up to your standards. If you’re using hundreds of thousands of gallons of ultrapure water, you deserve to have confidence that every single gallon is as clean as possible no matter what industry you work in.
We understand that need, so we’ve developed the Vertex 50. This one-of-a-kind, top of the line liquid particle counter has the highest 50 nanometer sensitivity on the market, while setting the industry standard for the lowest false rate and proven clean-up time. Because you deserve to get back to work quickly and confidently. The Vertex 50 also has the truest 50 nanometer detection due to the absence of count subtraction.
Using a well-rounded and robust liquid particle counter is the most effective way to make sure the ultrapure water in your cleanroom is clean enough to prevent yield loss, product contamination, and damage.
We know this is a big decision, so we want to make sure you find the right particle counter for your systems and applications. If you want to ensure you are using the right particle counter for your needs, let us help you choose one today.