What Is Particle Counter Calibration? And why is it important?
Particle counters are a fundamental part of any properly maintained cleanroom. They are intricate tools used to count the number of particles in a cleanroom and measure their size. Regular particle counter calibration is an essential part of cleanroom maintenance, so they can stay functioning at their peak productivity.
So what exactly does particle counter calibration involve?
What Is Calibration?
First, let’s build a solid understanding of what calibration is.
When we talk about calibrating a piece of equipment, we are essentially establishing a relationship between the equipment that measures and the units which it is measuring. We achieve this by comparing the output of the equipment to a standard.
In particle counters, we want to make sure that it is accurately counting and sizing the particles.
Why Get Your Particle Counters Calibrated?
There are a number of reasons to get your particle counter calibrated, so it should be a regular part of your maintenance routine. A few key reasons include:
In 2007, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released guidelines for which particle counters should be calibrated. This standard is called ISO 21501-4. Particle counters need to be calibrated to fit within these guidelines to be certified for use in a cleanroom.
Cleanrooms certifications require certified particle counters to be used to measure the particle size and number. So to have a certified cleanroom, you need a certified and calibrated particle counter.
Aside from being certified, regular maintenance and calibration are required for the ongoing accuracy of the particle counter. We all want to trust the equipment we work with, so, to do that, we need to verify it’s working.
If the particle counter is not working properly, contaminants could impact the product and manufacturing could be disrupted. If regular maintenance is not conducted, you could realize too late that large particles have been contaminating your product. At that point, you could either conduct recalls or risk the backlash of contaminated products.
In some industries, this could result in malfunctioning equipment and bad reviews. But in other industries, like pharmaceuticals and medical equipment manufacturing, this oversight could have deadly consequences.
We keep cleanrooms clean for a reason - and we don’t want to skimp on making sure they stay clean.
How Do You Calibrate Your Particle Counters?
Calibrations are initially completed by the manufacturer and then are routinely calibrated throughout their lifespan. The best standard for calibration is ISO 21501-4:2018.
This standard was published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a non-governmental organization dedicated to setting international standards through industry best practices.
ISO 21501-4:2018 gives guidelines for the following:
- size setting error;
- counting efficiency;
- size resolution;
- false count;
- maximum particle number concentration;
- sampling flow rate error;
- sampling time error;
- response rate;
- calibration interval;
- reporting results from test and calibration.
In order to make sure all these elements are calibrated correctly, the technician responsible for calibrating the equipment will perform a number of tests on the machine against known variables.
How Do You Get Help Calibrating Your Particle Counters?
The good news is that you can definitely get help calibrating your particle counter! In fact, we recommend you let the pros handle it.
We offer calibration and repair services for particle counters from any of our several global locations. We calibrate and verify particle counters through state of the art optical alignment methods, designed to maximize the repeatability, reproducibility, and accuracy in our equipment.
Our calibration services include:
- Calibration and Validation
- Adjust back to factory settings
- Instrument inspection (as received data available)
- Calibration certificate issued with each instrument
- NIST traceable
- On-site calibration
- Service Contracts for on-site and factory service
You can request your calibration today. Just click here.