80% of contamination enters critical environments via feet or wheels
Only 27% of contamination is prevented by peel-off mats
215,000 particles released every time a tacky mat is peeled
Contamination is a major and growing concern in cleanrooms, critical areas and controlled environments, from facilities for pharmaceutical, automotive and semiconductor manufacturing to food processing units and data storage centres. Although contamination from foot, wheel and airborne particles is often dismissed as simply ‘dust’ or ‘dirt’, the dangers it poses can be devastating. Contamination in a critical environment can have a major impact on quality, product yield, effectiveness and profitability.
The visible and invisible enemy
Particulate contaminants in critical areas are known to adversely affect quality, product yield, operational effectiveness and profitability. Particles can be viable or non-viable, made from different materials, come from different places and travel large distances.
Particles outside the critical area can also be a potential problem, especially the small, light, invisible particles. Even fairly large particles that have settled on the floor are easily crushed into very small particles and redistributed back into the air. These airborne particles then get transferred into the critical area where they present a potential hazard.
There are two main types of particle contamination:
Gross atmospheric contamination, which infiltrates your facility.
Humans can generate 5-10 million skin, hair and dirt, and clothing particles every minute.
Key properties of fine particles:
80% of all contamination enters a critical environment at floor level on feet or wheels (Source: 3M). Therefore, controlling contamination and cross-contamination at or near floor level is an essential and fundamental part of protecting your critical environment from particulates.
If left uncontrolled, floor level contamination can be redistributed into the air by vortices created by the movement of a body through the critical environment. Unprotected flooring also allows contaminants to be picked up on shoes and on the wheels of carts, which are then redistributed into the critical area.
In some cases implementing measures to reduce the risk of contamination in critical environments, such as pharmaceutical facilities and food manufacturing plants, is a statutory requirement. Additionally, regulatory bodies such as the FDA and professional auditing teams using risk management systems, all recognise the importance of controlling contamination at floor level.
Installing Dycem Contamination Control mats or flooring prior to all entrances to critical areas will prevent up to 99.9% of foot and wheel-borne contaminants from entering the critical area (Source: Dr C. Clibbon,).
Below are images of floor level contamination before and after Dycem has been installed.
Contamination heatmap without Dycem
Click image to enlarge
Contamination heatmap with Dycem
Click image to enlarge
Air, foot and wheel-borne contamination can pose a major threat to quality, product yield, operational effectiveness, profitability, and your reputation. It can often result in:
One microbe in a batch of aseptic drugs can threaten the whole batch, leading to it being quarantined, scrapped, or even requiring a full company shutdown.
Your Company’s reputation will be damaged, perhaps irreparably, if you have to recall a contaminated product.
Product yield impact
Contamination, and consequent reworking, will have a negative impact on product yields and overall profitability.
Hospital acquired infections
Contamination in healthcare environments increases the risk of hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA.
Health and safety issues
A contaminated environment and contaminated products pose a health and safety risk to your employees and customers.
A staggering 80% of contamination entering your critical environment does so on feet or wheels (Source: 3M). Using a correctly sized and maintained piece of Dycem at all entrance ways can reduce this by up to 99.9%.
For a quick and easy way to find out if contamination is entering your critical space, place a sample of Dycem on the floor and walk over it, if the first step leaves an imprint, there are particulates from feet present. Take multiple steps until no more contamination is being visibly removed. This will give you a good indication as to the size of Dycem Contamination Control mat or flooring you need.