Knitted brows, serious faces. Movement with a strong sense of purpose. No wasted motion. An atmosphere of crisis. Palpable intensity. Something is amiss.
Direction from management is clear: “Find the contamination source and fast!”
The drop in yields was unmistakable and seemed to come out of nowhere. Something had changed and two weeks of intense effort had not yet revealed the source.
This scenario is repeated far too often. The cleanroom is an unforgiving environment, often operating at the very edge of achievable technology. The manufactured products are intolerant of changes that create contamination.
“You get what you pay for” is still true today.
When an unidentified contamination source ruins the product, a cascading series of events unfold – endless meetings, lengthy reviews of protocols and procedures, questioning of personnel, detailed examination of raw materials and consumables and checking of metrology equipment and standards. Everything is suspect. All vendors are expected to assume guilt.
No wonder then, that cleanroom supervisors are skeptical of off-brand, low-cost raw materials and consumables that will “definitely save you money.” They shudder at the huge costs and resources needed to track down unknown contamination potentially associated with the off-brand products. The savings are ephemeral. “You get what you pay for” is still true today. Purchasing high-quality products from reputable, well-known suppliers with proven track records of product consistency, performance and customer service is actually the lowest cost path to cleanroom success.
This is especially true for cleanroom wipers. As we will see in Part II, for industries that are particularly sensitive to contamination, the superior technology incorporated into branded wipers eliminates unpleasant surprises such as those described above.