So you are wondering what to look for in a particle counter that will get you to the perfect contamination control strategy. We get it! The particle counter you decide on will become an integral part of your strategy. Whether your strategy involves increasing yield, complying with your industry standards, or reducing risk overall. Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions is here to help you along the way. We have been involved with creating and perfecting contamination control strategies for 40 years now, so we would like to share with you what to look for in one of the key aspects of a sound strategy.
The point of cleanrooms is to keep things clean, so your particle counter needs to be made of easily cleaned and easily sanitizable materials. The material should not be porous or able to accumulate particles. Historically, particle counters were made of stainless steel, and that’s great, but we now know there is a better solution with fewer particle traps and easier to wipe down without worrying about water intrusion. So look for the most-up-to-date material in your particle counter.
Ideally, your particle counter will have a touchscreen, as buttons and dials are surfaces that will attract and trap particles.
Size plays an important but often unspoken role in choosing your particle counter. First of all, the smaller the particle counter, the less surface area there is to generate or accumulate particles. Second of all, smaller particle counters are easier to maneuver. So you don’t have to worry about who is hauling the particle counter around.
As far as the technology in the particle counter is concerned, make sure to look for top-of-the-line technology that sets the industry standard, like real-time monitoring. There are very few valid reasons to not be using this technology in your cleanroom.
Real-time monitoring lowers costs ultimately as it limits yield loss and provides accurate interpretations of particles in the moment.
Another detail to look for in a particle counter to improve your Cleanroom contamination strategy is using barcodes. Not only do barcodes save time, but they also save resources and seriously reduce human error. Integrating them into your cleanroom can prevent yield loss and limit human error.
The FDA has a handy acronym ALCOA when it comes to data integrity. ALCOA stands for Attributable, Legible, Contemporaneously Recorded, Original (or a true copy), and Accurate. So, to follow these best practices, barcodes and scanners aid in achieving a high degree of data integrity.
Want another way to limit man-hours spent on basic maintenance in your cleanrooms? You can look for a particle counter with self-diagnostic options. While you should always perform basic maintenance on equipment, having a tool that will notify you when the sensor detects an anomaly will go a long way in reducing compromised data. Plus, it gives you the confidence to know that the captured data is complete. For example, our Apex Z notices if the sensor is not sampling properly. The handle will turn red and the data record will be tagged as bad. It will alert you immediately to limit yield loss.
Who wants to be constantly charging their particle counter? Or, worse yet, a particle counter that fails in the middle of the workday because someone forgot to charge it? A particle counter with a long battery life and quick recharge time is just one more detail that goes towards making your particle counter experience effortless and excellent, which is why you should add it to your list of what to look for in a particle counter.
What are “necessary” tools that go in and out of cleanrooms which can carry a lot of particles and contaminants? Cords, paper, and other connection devices. So, as you pick your particle counter, look for wireless, paperless options. Bring your cleanroom into the 21st century and ditch the contaminants.
8.Works With Your Existing Systems
We understand that not everyone is building a system from the ground up. You might already have existing systems, so your new technology needs to be able to integrate. So look for software solutions to achieve this, such as the real-time monitoring software, LMS Pharma, LMS Professional, and LMS Express.
Other solutions include Application Programming Interface (API), which means that your particle counter will be able to interface with a variety of Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS).
In whatever way your company manages data, make sure your particle counter is compatible with your practices. Give yourself options to adapt and flow in your management practices.
There are digital exports such as CIFS, .CSV, .XLS, and .PDF. Or you could go old school with the onboard printer format and there are varieties of other data exporting options using LMS xChange such as an encrypted .LSD file.
Particle counters capture the data, so it’s vital that you are able to capture that data and import it into your system in a way that works for you and can adapt in the future.
(Want to see it in action? Take a look!)
Reminder: you’re making an investment in your company and its future here. Make sure you are investing in equipment from a company with excellent technology, service, and warranties. And make sure you’re buying from a company that doesn’t just meet standards but sets industry standards.
When you’re looking for a particle counter in your contamination control strategy, make sure to pay attention to the details. Don’t just choose a particle counter that fits your budget, invest in a particle counter that will serve your future.
In our line, we have the Apex Z as an example. It’s designed from the ground up to prevent particle traps, using the newest technology in particle counter design. It combines modern technology to limit yield loss, such as real-time monitoring, with the longest battery life and shortest recharge time on the market while being small and light for best accessibility.
In the cleanroom, it works with your existing systems to make the transition smooth. Plus it offers plenty of traceable options and integrations to make your life easier.
Not to mention it’s all wireless. It maximizes simple connectivity - with ease of use at the forefront of mind - with paperless data management and easy file transfers.
The Apex Z is designed to improve workflow and streamline your cleanroom, while giving you confidence in your cleanroom and taking burdens off your plate. You should always know your cleanroom is being monitored and you’ll be notified immediately if things go wrong to limit yield loss.
And that’s how we believe a cleanroom should flow.
Want to know if the Apex Z is the right fit to optimize your cleanroom? Click here.