Cleanroom Gloves: What do Macrotek, Microtek, & Nanotek Levels Mean?
Greg Heiland delineates Valutek’s three families of product classification: macrotek, microtek, and nanotek, and the identifying characteristics of each. He further demonstrates how grouping products into specific levels for different cleanroom requirements makes it exponentially easier to select products that best meet clients’ controlled environment needs.
At Valutek, we've gone to great extremes to take the hassle out of trying to determine what's the most appropriate product to use in my critical environment. We believe that all cleanroom needs are not created equal.
So to that end, we've created three families of product. We have a Macrotek family of product that has a gray screen logo. We have a Microtek family of product that has a blue screen logo. And we have a Nanotek product line that has an eight color logo.
This is not to be confused with meaning just that this product is good, that product is better, this is the best product. What we've really attempted to do with macro, micro, and nano is develop the most appropriate products for the type of environment you're in.
When we think of a macro type environment, we think of an environment where your operators will be in a bouffant cap. They might be in a beard cover, but probably not. They'll be in a blue lab coat, and this lab coat will not be long.
It will probably be between the waist and the knees. The lab coat’s going to hit about right here. It will have five or six buttons or snaps. It will not be a full zipper and it will have pockets in it.
And it's typically going to be a blue polyester that's conductive. So that would be the garment. On the foot you would wear a shoe cover. And for the glove, you're probably going to be in a low cost powder free latex or nitrile glove. And you're going to be in a glove that's going to expose the cuff.
So that's what we mean when we think of macro. You'll also typically be in a wiper that would be a knife cut polyester or a knife cut Sontara wiper. So we're not saying that the nano products are better than the macro.
What we're saying is that these groups are products that are all labeled macro, are most designed for a macro environment. And just for clarity, a macrotek environment would be an ISO seven plus. So if someone says they're cleanroom is ISO seven, eight or nine, or a class 10,000 plus. But there's so much confusion between European
standards, American standards, and ISO standards, we try to take the confusion out of it by having our macro. So let's go up to a microtek. And what we mean when we say by microtek, is we're talking about a cleanroom where the operator will not be in a lab coat.
They'll be in a full frock or a smock. And you'll say, what's the difference between a frock and a smock and a lab coat? A frock and a smock comes to the knees. In some instances they go below the knees, so it's a long garment and encapsulates more
of the operator. There will not be snaps. There'll be a full zipper to keep contamination and to isolate the operator, and there'll be no pockets. You'll say, “Why pockets?” Well, it's important that in your cleanroom, operators are not taking pens out of their pockets, they're not putting gum and candy in their pockets.
The glove that the operator will wear will be a long cuff glove, and this long cuff glove will be designed to be tight to fit over the garment, so you can see when the operator puts their hand out and their torsos extend it.
You can see in a macro, environment, you'll have a problem with the naked cuff. In the microtek environment that's not tolerated. You're going to want to have complete encapsulation. A lot of particles get released when operators are working at a workstation, and when they don't have
this as a system, all the particles from their body bellow through their torso, through their sleeve, and they release the particles on the workstation. So this is a micro environment. They're going to be in a bouffant cap and on top of the bouffant cap they'll have a hood. They'll wear a shoe cover like in the macro
environment. And over this shoe cover they’ll wear a high top boot cover. So most of the operator's body will be encapsulated. Then what's the difference between a nanotek environment and a microtek environment? Your operator will not be in a frock.
They'll be in a complete bunny suit. They'll be completely encapsulated. So they'll have a shoe cover. They'll have a complete bodysuit. They'll have a bouffant cap with a hood over it. Typically, it's an eye's only hood, and then they'll have goggles over their eyes.
The face mask or face mill might be in the hood, or it might be a separate hood. They're definitely going to be in a long cuff glove, and they're probably going to be in a nano style nitrile long cuff versus a micro style.
And the difference between these two is one goes through rigorous post-process. The other is not as clean. So even though the gloves look similar, the nano glove is going to be lower in particles and extractables than the micro.
From a wiper standpoint, macro is going to be a knife edge, circular knife, or guillotine edge. Micro is going to be a laser edge. A nano environment is strictly to be a pressure heat sealed edge. Because they don't want to let the cut or construction release any particles.
So that's the primary difference between macro, micro, and nano. And then to further give clarity to it, all the product is labeled at the product label with the logo in the product family. So at a glance, when the product has been de-trashed, by de-trashed we mean these are bag-in-a-bag, when the carton box is
left at the loading dock and these are brought into the cleanroom, your clients know in a moment's glance, “Oh, this glove is suitable for this area. This glove is suitable for this area.” So we're the only brand in the industry to have families of product that are color coded to really take the hassle out of
it and make sure that your clients use the right product in the right area. Thank you.