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com/2010/06/tack-mat-use-and-installation/ Tack Mat Use and Installation June 8, 2010 By admin 1 Comment Summary: The following is quick guide to the installation and use of tack mats for particulate control on personnel shoes and wheels of carts entering a clean area. Tack mats are used for helping to remove particulate contamination from the bottom of personnel shoes and from the wheels of carts upon entry to a clean area. NOTE, This does not mean tack mats will clean off all dirt! If shoes or wheels are very dirty,they need to be cleaned prior to using the tack mats, outside of the clean area and away from the mats. Use of the mats is very simple; 1. Just step on the mats twice with each foot before entering the clean area. 2. Roll all the wheels of a cart across the surface of the mat. How do you know if the mat is doing its job? 1. If you can see that it is removing dirt from your shoes or cart wheels. As the mats become used, they will be covered by tracks of other people and carts. When it looks like the surface is well covered by other tracks, or if the surface is no longer tack, it is time to renew the surface of the mat. Danger, ESD Hazard! When a tack mat surface is being renewed, or if the mat is replaced, a very large charge is generated, both on the mat, and on the material/personnel involved. Before renewing a layer or replacing a mat, make sure that all ESD sensitive material is at least 1 meter away, and remains so for at least 3 minutes. How do I renew the surface of the mat? The mats are layered, with generally about 30 layers in each mat, and each layer is numbered from the top down, so that the highest number is on the bottom. As the top layer becomes dirty and no longer tack, it is time to peel off that layer and expose the next layer underneath it. On one corner of the mat, there are numbered tags, and this is where you start to peel off the layer. Just peel off one layer at a time (make sure that the next consecutive number remains on the mat), and discard the layer that you just peeled off, preferably outside of the clean area and away from any ESD sensitive material.

Cleanroom Sticky Mats: 3 Important Adhesive Characteristics

December 21, 2010 By admin 1 Comment Mats are an important requirement of cleanrooms and other critical environments that demand a high degree of contamination control. These mats have strong adhesive properties which collect dust particles from shoe soles and wheels of the carts passing over the mat. Multi-layered adhesive mats are used to peel off the contaminated layer and reveal a new clean layer to significantly reduce traffic-borne particles. A special kind of Acrylic adhesive is used on these mats which does not sustain any microbial growth. Use of Mats in Various Applications Not only in clean rooms and laboratories, matting applications are used in a number of industries to ensure a clean and uncontaminated environment. Some of these industries are:

Pharmaceutical industry Medical/chemical industry Operation rooms Computer rooms Electronic precision industry

Advantages of Sticky Mats Sticky or adhesive mats are commonly used in various industries for the following advantages:

Dust particles collected by the mat do not spread. A special kind of adhesive is used which does not leave any stain on the floor. After a layer is out of use, a new layer can be brought out by peeling the previous one.

Adhesive Characteristics of Cleanroom Mats The most common characteristics of cleanroom mats are tack level, adhesive thickness and adhesive softness. These characteristics determine the efficiency of the adhesive in removing and holding contaminants from the surfaces before their entry into the cleanroom.

Tack level: The tack level or level of stickiness of a mat is measured through PSTC-1 test and represented in grams. The right amount of tack level is crucial for maintaining the appropriate balance, which, if exceeded, can be hazardous.

Since the purpose of the mat is to remove dirt from the dry adhesive-less surface, it just needs a higher coefficient than the surface attraction. A very low tack level (2-3 ozs) is sufficient for this purpose. Adhesive thickness: If the adhesive layer of the mat is extra thin, the dust particles will remain on the surface and shorten the reusability and performance of the mat. The thickness of the adhesive layer is, therefore, vital for the prolonged performance of the mat. When particles from the surface of the shoe sole or wheel come in contact with the mat, they get into the thick layer of the adhesive. It keeps the surface clean of contaminants and the mat continues to be suitable for further use. A washable mat comes with no adhesive coating and needs to be washed every time for removing the particles. Consequently, a shoe comes in contact with the particles shed by the previous shoe and is not perfectly clean. Therefore, adhesive mats are often preferred over the washable ones for entering cleanrooms. Adhesive softness: Adhesive softness is highly important for the efficient performance of each layer of the mat. When particles come into contact with the surface of the mat, they need some place to go. The softness of the adhesive layer makes sure that these particles are embedded into the layer instead of remaining on the surface, provided the layer has sufficient thickness to grab the particles.

If the adhesive is hard, this function will not happen and instead the dirt will stay on the surface which will reduce the performance of the mat. However, the adhesive should not have a high tack level, otherwise too soft an adhesive will stick to the surface of the shoe or wheel and contaminate the controlled environment of the cleanroom. Therefore, the right amount of tack level, adhesive thickness and adhesive softness play a crucial role in the performance of the cleanroom mat application. Disposable mats are made from a stack of sheets of polyethylene film, with a specially treated pressure sensitive adhesive on the exposed surface. This adhesive film is strong enough to remove dust and dirt from the bottom of a sole, yet mild enough not to cause the shoe cover to stick to the mat. There are typically 30 or 60 sheets per mat. Operators or carts entering a cleanroom or clean zone walk or roll on the film to remove contamination on shoe heels, soles and wheels.

When a sheet becomes loaded with contamination, it is peeled off exposing a new clean sheet for use. Sheets that need to be disposed of are easily identifiable by the visible dirt and debris on the surface. Each mat is adhered to the floor or a frame with double-sided adhesive tape or a full bottom sheet of double-faced adhesive film. The top of each mat is protected with a clear release sheet until it is ready for use. The sheets have corner tabs that are consecutively numbered to shoe the number of remaining sheets, thus providing the economy of only one sheet being removed at a time. Dirty sheets are loosened for removal by pulling up on the corner tab that has no adhesive. The mat is skid resistant and is not damaged by footwear or wheels. Disposable mats are usually packaged 4, 6, or 8 mats per case. Each mat contains 30, 40, or 60 sheets per mat. Therefore, a standard case would contain between 120 sheets and 480 sheets. Even though there is a great difference in the number of sheets per mat, the relative height difference is very small because each sheet is so thin. Disposable mats are also available with a biocide that is added to each sheet. Important in a life science or biotech account, this anti microbial agent kills much of the bacteria that can enter a space on shoe soles or cart wheels. Variations from the standard disposable mat include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Beveled edges White, gray or blue sheets Clear sheets over a base color of white, gray, or blue Custom colors and sizes are available Company logos may be inserted to display through the mats made of clear sheets over a colored base sheet

Disposable Mat Frames Frames are used to provide a uniform and effective base for adhering mats securely, yet permitting easy removal of the last sheet. This eliminates problems caused by left over adhesive sticking to the floor after the mats are removed. Disposable mat frames can also be used to enhance appearance. Disposable mat frames are very similar to picture frames in that they consist of a sloping edge base into which the tacky mat is placed. Frames also allow carts to roll over the mat easier due to the beveled edge of the frame.

How to Store a Cleanroom Adhesive Mat Mats need to be stored horizontally and must be stacked with care. When stored vertically or with heavy objects on top of them, the adhesive film can become damaged. Damaged film can be spotted in the form of bubbles and veins. These bubbles and veins cause the mat to have an irregular surface, which leads to delamination of the mat from the floor. Be aware of the environment you store your mats in. Extreme cold hardens the

adhesive on the mat and renders it ineffective. This will not cause permanent damage to the adhesive, but the mat must have a chance to warm up before being placed. Extreme heat, however, will break down the adhesive and cause permanent damage. Temperatures above 80 degrees can melt the adhesive, and on top of that, if they are also stored vertically, the adhesive will begin to run.

How to Properly Place an Adhesive Mat The most important step in placing a cleanroom adhesive mat is floor prep. First, make sure the surface is clean, even and without cracks. If there is any surface irregularity, the mat will conform to that, and as we already discussed, this causes delamination of the mat from the floor, and leads to pockets under the mat where contaminants can harbor. Delamination can also lead to a dangerous side effect, when the mat actually lifts up from the floor while it is being walked on by an operator. This can result in operator injury if he or she loses balance and falls. Next, clean the surface thoroughly, checking for residual adhesive from a previous mat. Any dirt or residual adhesive will cause the mat to adhere unevenly. Adhesive mat frames can be used to ensure the surface they are placed on is clean and smooth. Make sure you are positioning your mat properly. The orientation of the mat is always lengthwise to maximize the area walked on by the operator. Do not place an 18-by-36 inch mat across the width of an entrance, because it will only capture one footprint. The recommended amount of footprints to capture is three. Do not tile mats. Tiling is the term used when placing two smaller mats, usually 18-by-36 inch in size, side-by-side to make the mat area wide enough to fit the entrance width. This is wasteful and creates a space between where the mats meet in the middle where contaminants can harbor. Now you are ready to place the mat on the floor. Pull back the backing of the mat 6 inches, then firmly press this exposed area on the floor, starting in the middle and working outward to the edges. This helps removes bubbles and veins that may form as you are placing. Pull back another 6 inches and press outward, repeating the process until the entire mat is adhered to the floor. Characteristics of Adhesive Mats Tack Level This is determined by the force necessary to remove a one inch (25mm) wide strip from a polished stainless steel plate at a constant speed, and usually measured in ounces or grams. Adhesive Softness If the adhesive is too hard, particles will not transfer from the shoe or wheel to the mat. If its too soft, adhesive transfer from the mat and to the shoe or wheel can occur. Adhesive Thickness Typical adhesive layers have a thickness between 2-4 millimeters (50-100 microns). If the adhesive layer is too thin, the particles will remain on the surface and shorten the time that the mat can continue to function.