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Robotic Resolutions

Humans shed and regrow outer skin cells every 27 days, equating to approximately 1,000 new skins in the average human’s lifetime. Even in a clean room environment, a worker will shed 600,000 particles of skin per hour. With this in mind, this article will explore how clean room robots have the potential to eradicate the risk of human contamination.

Some industries rely on maintaining a controlled clean room environment with strict restrictions on the number of airborne particles in the area. This includes dust, vapours, and moisture contaminants. Keeping these particles in check is essential for minimising damage to vulnerable products, and this relies on the right processes and equipment to maintain the necessary level of control.

The cleanliness level of a clean room varies, with ISO Class 1 ranked as the cleanest, through to ISO Class 9, which is the lowest level by clean room standards. Typically, clean rooms with ISO Clаѕѕ 7 or сlеаnеr have a separate changing atrium for gowning, away from the main working area. This reduces contaminants from entering the сlеаn area via the movement of workers. However, the time it takes for workers to put on and take off the protective suits costs businesses time and money, which is a huge incentive for implementing automation as an alternative. A nonclean room robot might emit a relatively low number of particles, at least when compared to its human counterparts. However, considering a gripper opens and closes 10,000 times over its lifetime, the potential for particle emittance problems over the working life of a robot can quickly add up.

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Nigel Smith is Managing Director at Toshiba Machine partner, TM Robotics. He directs the overall growth and development of TM Robotics throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Russia, and North and South America. Nigel founded TM Robotics after holding a number of positions at Toshiba International.
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