Cleanroom molding is an expensive, but necessary, proposition for many medical applications. However, there are ways to rein in some of those expenses, according to Jürgen Giesow, Regional Manager for Arburg, who presented a paper at the Molding 2014 conference in Newport Beach, CA, on March 3, 2014. You just have to think outside the cleanroom box, he told attendees.
Conventional cleanrooms with fully integrated molding machines are vast spaces. Specifically, they need high ceilings, in the 14- to 16-ft range, to accommodate robotic equipment and cranes to move molds. The cost to maintain air quality at a level that is compliant with the relevant ISO classification skyrockets as the square footage expands. One solution is to build a modular, decentralized cleanroom with a dock for the molding system.
Parts are molded in the clean area and placed on a conveyor for assembly and packing. A laminar flow system that sits on the machine and an integrated ionization system prevent contamination and electrostatic charging of the molded parts. The system that Giesow highlighted at the conference was equipped with a Multilift robot, but the parts could be dropped onto the conveyor if they are not especially fragile.