Clean Room Molding: Custom Contamination-Free and Precise Parts
Before we delve into clean room molding, let’s first understand the differences that exist between ISO 7 and ISO 8 clean rooms.
ISO 7 and ISO 8 Cleanrooms for Plastic Injection Molding
ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanrooms are crucial environments for plastic injection molding, ensuring the production of high-quality and contamination-free components. Both ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanrooms offer a controlled atmosphere. The choice between the two depends on the specific requirements and sensitivity of the clean room molding process.
ISO 7 Cleanroom
- An ISO 7 cleanroom is designed to maintain strict air quality standards. It allows no more than 352,000 particles per cubic meter of air-sized 0.5 micrometers or larger. This level of cleanliness is ideal for many plastic injection molding processes, especially in industries like medical device manufacturing. The controlled environment significantly reduces the risk of contaminants affecting the quality of the molded products. ISO 7 cleanrooms typically feature advanced HVAC systems and air filtration to meet these standards.
- The ISO 7 cleanroom is an enclosed injection molding space, isolated from the surrounding business area by sturdy walls. ISO 7 cleanrooms are primarily employed for surgical procedures that do not involve the introduction of foreign materials, such as minimally invasive surgery, vascular procedures, obstetrics, and ophthalmology.
ISO 8 Cleanroom
- An ISO 8 cleanroom maintains a controlled environment with slightly higher particle limits, allowing up to 3,520,000 particles per cubic meter of air-sized 0.5 micrometers or larger. While not as stringent as ISO 7, an ISO 8 cleanroom is still essential for minimizing contamination during plastic injection molding. It is suitable for applications where a high degree of precision is not critical but cleanliness remains a priority. ISO 8 cleanrooms may find use in less sensitive industrial plastic molding processes.
- On the other hand, ISO 8 cleanrooms adhere to less rigorous standards compared to ISO 7 cleanrooms. In an ISO 8 cleanroom, the molds are contained within the area by movable curtains rather than solid walls. ISO 8 cleanrooms are predominantly utilized for short-duration surgeries, including visceral surgery, day surgery, and urology.
Points to Consider in a Clean Room Molding Environment
Several crucial points must be considered when operating within a clean room molding to ensure a contamination-free and high-quality production environment:
- Air Quality Control:
Air quality control is critical during clean room molding processes. Maintain strict control over air quality by regularly monitoring and filtering air to meet cleanliness standards, often classified under ISO classifications like ISO 7 or ISO 8, depending on the specific application.
- Temperature and Humidity Control:
Clean room molding temperature and humidity levels are strictly monitored to ensure stable material properties and molding conditions and prevent problems such as warpage or product defects.
- Optimized Airflow:
Utilize positive airflow systems in ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanrooms to uphold air purity and restrict particle concentrations within defined limits.
- Material Handling:
Safely store and manage raw materials and components inside the clean room to thwart external contamination, including the proper storage and handling of resin pellets.
- Material Compatibility:
Confirm that all materials used in the clean room molding are compatible with the cleanroom environment and will not release contaminants during processing.
- Use of Electric Machinery:
Prefer electric machinery over hydraulic systems in most cleanroom settings to minimize the generation of airborne particles.
- Equipment Maintenance:
Regularly maintain and clean injection molding machines, molds, and auxiliary equipment to prevent the generation of contaminants during operation.
- Packaging Compliance:
Use materials such as cardboard or coated plastic for packaging in clean room molding and avoid packaging materials such as certain types of corrugated cardboard that can create excessive particles.
- Contamination Control:
Use measures such as air curtains, partitions, and positive pressure systems to minimize the entry of particles from outside the clean room.
- Personnel Adherence:
Enforce stringent gowning protocols for personnel, encompassing the use of cleanroom attire, gloves, masks, and hairnets to minimize the introduction of contaminants. In ISO 8 environments, coverage requirements may be even more stringent.
- Air Quality Control:
By meticulously addressing these considerations, a clean room molding environment can maintain the highest standards of cleanliness and produce components that meet stringent quality requirements.
Post-Molding Operations in a Cleanroom
In clean room molding, it’s crucial to consider the classification of medical devices, which is based on the associated risks to patients and users. Medical devices fall into different classes, with Class I representing the lowest risk and Class III signifying the highest risk.
Regardless of class, all medical devices are subject to General Controls mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Act. These controls establish the fundamental requirements that apply universally to Class I, II, and III medical devices.
FDA classification of medical devices into Class I, II, or III hinges on factors like the device’s risk level, invasiveness, and impact on overall patient health.
- Class I devices have minimal patient contact and pose a low risk to overall health. Examples encompass items like electric toothbrushes, tongue depressors, oxygen masks, reusable surgical scalpels, bandages, and hospital beds. Due to their minimal risk profile, cleanroom injection molding may not be required for Class I devices.
- Class II medical devices are more intricate than Class I counterparts and carry a higher risk because they often have sustained contact with patients. Devices in this category include catheters, blood pressure cuffs, pregnancy test kits, and syringes. While they exhibit a greater level of complexity and risk, many Class II devices can be safely and effectively manufactured in an ISO 8 cleanroom, with exceptions like pregnancy testing kits and condoms that may not necessitate a cleanroom environment.
- Class III devices, as defined by the FDA, are products that “usually sustain or support life, are implanted, or present a potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury.” Such devices encompass items like breast implants, pacemakers, and defibrillators. Given their inherent complexity and the substantial risks they pose, Class III devices are subject to the most stringent regulatory controls and are typically assembled and molded in cleanrooms. This practice aims to minimize contamination from airborne particles, ensuring the highest product quality and safety standards.
Applications of Clean Room Molding
Clean room molding finds a wide range of applications, particularly in the production of various medical devices. An ISO 7 cleanroom is adept at providing packaging services and facilitating contract assembly. The process involves the creation of customized fixtures and the utilization of automation to ensure efficient assembly, whether for straightforward or intricate operations. In an efficient ISO 7 cleanroom environment, the following products can be manufactured:
- Implantable Medical Devices
- Infusion Equipment and Respirator Components
- Medicine Bottles
- Infusion Bags
- Biological Sensor
- Lab Equipment
Within an effective ISO 8 cleanroom environment, various injection molding machines, including vertical presses, can be accommodated for the manufacturing of the following products:
- Medical Device Housings
- Surgical Instruments
- Implantable Devices
- Emergency Room Products
- Fluid Delivery Devices
- Fluid Delivery Containers
- Cardiac Products
- Blood Delivery Housings
The above examples are only a small part of the clean room molding applications. If you want to know more information, you can contact the professionals at Sungplastic. We will introduce you to other applications and related injection molding services in detail.
Quality Control in Clean Room Molding
Certification is a critical step in determining whether clean room molding is suitable for medical device manufacturing. Key certifications encompass Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), FDA compliance, and ISO 13485:2016.
- GMP, or Good Manufacturing Practice, forms a comprehensive framework to ensure the consistent manufacturing and control of products align with rigorous quality standards. It serves to mitigate production-related risks and extends across all facets of the manufacturing process. Stringently detailed written procedures accompany each step to guarantee the final product’s adherence to quality standards, thus ensuring quality control during clean room molding processes.
- Maintaining a controlled environment within the cleanroom is imperative to safeguard plastics used in medical device manufacturing from contamination by dust and other particulates. According to FDA requirements, when environmental conditions can affect product quality, “the manufacturer shall establish and maintain procedures to adequately control these environmental conditions.” Cleanroom manufacturing is thus a vital element in achieving this requisite control.
- Similarly, ISO 13485 serves as a system tailored for organizations engaged in the production, servicing, and installation of medical devices. Internal and external certification bodies often reference this standard in their auditing processes. ISO standards are periodically revised every five years to stay attuned to market trends. ISO 13485:2016 represents the latest iteration, addressing contemporary quality control practices, including technological advancements and evolving regulatory expectations. This version places notable emphasis on regulatory compliance, risk management, and decision-making founded on risk analysis.
Documentation of Procedures
The process of regulating and maintaining cleanroom certification, protocols, and accreditations for medical device injection molding is highly intricate. Clean room injection molders are obliged to meticulously adhere to various factors to ensure strict compliance with standards. These factors encompass quality control systems designed to inspect, manage, and eliminate dust and particles that deviate from ISO 7 and ISO 8 cleanroom standards.
To facilitate this compliance, comprehensive procedure documentation becomes imperative. Procedure documentation serves as a means to ensure that verifiable records of controlled conditions are readily accessible for customer requests, routine inspections, instances of procedural deviations, or repeated cycles. This documentation should encompass physical monitoring of mold pull cycles, the entire process lifecycle, and product/equipment testing.
Risk Management in Clean Room Molding
Risk management in cleanroom plastic injection molding involves the application of specialized analytical methods such as fault tree analysis (FTA), hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP), and failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA). When microbial risks are identified and assessed, injection molders can establish an ongoing evaluation process to mitigate contamination risks throughout the manufacturing cycle. This approach enables injection molders to define acceptable thresholds within the plastic injection molding process through continuous monitoring.
Certain FDA-regulated implantable medical products carry the potential for adverse and severe health consequences if not closely monitored. Consequently, risk management necessitates lot traceability. Lot traceability facilitates the tracking of processes throughout the manufacturing cycle using unique lot numbers, ensuring comprehensive risk control. Lot traceability encompasses monitoring the constituents, components, equipment, and labor involved in the product manufacturing process. Consumers can also access information about product production via a unique identifier provided through lot traceability, allowing for increased transparency and accountability.
Custom Contamination-Free Plastic Parts Service
Clean room molding is essential for custom contamination-free plastic parts. It ensures the cleanliness and sterility of the production process and reduces the potential risk of product contamination, thereby ensuring that the product reaches the highest quality and safety standards.
Sungplastic is an experienced injection molding manufacturer, we specialize in providing customized precision plastic parts services. We have state-of-the-art clean room molding facilities that comply with ISO standards, provide mold design, and strict quality control measures to ensure that each part meets quality standards and specifications. Whether you need high-precision medical device parts or other custom contamination-free plastic parts, we can provide you with the perfect solution. Please feel free to contact us and let us support your project success.
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