Clean room

18 02 2011

working in clean roomSoon or later, all electronic engineers have read or visited a clean room: the extra clean environment where all silicon wafer are processed in order to make the integrated circuits that become a constant in the life of an electronic engineer. Of course this is only one of several fields where places like clean rooms are necessary: in electronics, chemistry, physics, medicine, biology, etc etc there are lots of applications or tests or procedures that for different reasons must be performed under controlled temperature and humidity (and sometimes pressure too) conditions. The reason might be both in order to not harm the operator (like special biology or medical labs, where besides gloves and special clothes the operator must also use full head masks) or to keep the samples or instruments free of dust, air impurities, humidity, grease (from normal skin fat), etc.

I remember my wonder and excitement the first time I saw pictures and read about clean room (I might have been in my middle school, during Science hours.. always loved sciences!). It all appeared so cool, so NASA, futuristic and so professional! And the first time I visited and worked in a high class clean room (low class, better, more controlled conditions; high class, more dirt allowed in the air). So cool!

working in clean roomNow I work almost every day in a intermediate class clean room (class 1000): special boots, full body uniform, hair net and special cap, gloves and mask. Day in, day out, for several hours. Suddenly, it’s all less.. cool: breathing your own breath because of the mask, having your ears pulled by mask elastics and your head constricted by the hair net, and your own sweat from the hands kept fermenting inside the gloves, that becoming increasingly sticky and you gradually lose sensibility (a nightmare trying to mount tiny screws, or solder connectors, or adjust small potentiometers in clean room gloves!)..

All the worse when you also got a cold: clean room clothes do not have pockets! You are not supposed to take out tissue and blow your nose in a clean room. And with a cold and recirculating the air you breath in and out, with all the germs stuck on the mask.. you can be sure to never ever heal again!!! 😦

As people say, you must be careful what you wish for!! Working in a super cool electronics modern environment.. I do miss the oily and greasy and dirt workshop in Stavanger and the test at the onshore oil platform site with all our heavy kjeledress.. 😀



One response

19 02 2011

Poor Guy…


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