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American Cleanroom Systems® Presents Cleanroom Classifications

American Cleanroom Systems is a full-service manufacturer, specializing in the rapid production and installation of superior quality custom Pharmaceutical, Medical and Industrial cleanrooms.

Our team can design, manufacture and install your certified cleanroom in as little as 4 weeks, on-site with minimum disruption.

View FAQs about Cleanroom Classifications

Cleanroom Classification Standards

US FED STD 209E Cleanroom Standards | Cleanroom Classifications
Class Maximum  Particles/ft³ ISO equivalent
>0.1 um >0.2 um >0.3 um >0.5 um >5 um
 1 35 7 3 1 ISO3
 10 350 75 30 10 ISO4
100 100 ISO5
1000 1000 7 ISO6
10,000 10,000 70 ISO7
100,000 100,000 700 ISO8
ISO 14644-1 Cleanroom Standards | Cleanroom Classifications
Class Maximum  Particles/m³ FED STD 209E equivalent
>0.1 um >0.2 um >0.3 um >0.5 um >1 um >5 um
ISO 1 10 2
ISO 2 100 24 10 4
ISO 3 1,000 237 102 35 8 Class 1
ISO 4 10,000 2,370 1,020 352 83 Class 10
ISO 5 100,000 23,700 10,200 3,520 832  29 Class 100
ISO 6 1,000,000 237,000 102,000 35,200 8,320 293 Class 1,000
ISO 7 352,000 83,200 2,930 Class 10,000
ISO 8 3,520,000 832,000 29,300 Class 100,000
ISO 9 35,200,000 8,320,000 293,000 Room Air
Design Requirements for Cleanroom Classifications
Criteria Class 10 ISO4 Class 100 ISO5 Class 1000 ISO6 Class 100,000 ISO8
Air changes per HR/Min 500-600 / 8 to 10 300 to 480 / 5 to 8 180 / 3 60 /1 20 /0.33
Filter coverage % 90 – 100 60 – 70 20 – 30 7 – 15 4  – 5
CFM per square foot 85 – 90 36 – 65 18 – 32 9 – 16 4 – 8
Filter Efficiency 99.9997% ULPAs 99.997% HEPAs 99.997% HEPAs 99.997% HEPAs 99.97% HEPAs
Ceiling Type Aluminum T-bar grid Aluminum T-bar grid Aluminum T-bar grid Conventional T-bar grid Conventional T-bar grid
Light Fixture type Tear drop or Flow thru Tear drop or 2’x4’ cleanroom fixture 2’x4’ cleanroom fixture 2’x4’ cleanroom fixture 2’x4’ standard fixture
Ceiling Panel FRP, Vinyl rock or Mylar FRP, Vinyl rock or Mylar Vinyl rock or Mylar Vinyl rock or Mylar Vinyl rock or Mylar
Wall System Modular or standard built Modular or standard built Modular or standard built Modular or drywall Modular or drywall
Flooring cover Welded sheet vinyl or Epoxy Welded sheet vinyl or Epoxy Welded Sheet vinyl or Epoxy Sheet vinyl or VCT Sheet vinyl or VCT
Flooring base 2” to 6” cove Cove or Aluminum base channel Cove or Aluminum base channel Cove or Aluminum base channel Cove or Aluminum base channel
Air Returns Raised floor or center returns Low wall on long axis Low wall at perimeter Low wall Low wall or ceiling
GMP Annex European Community Cleanroom Standards
Grade At Rest >0.5 um/M3 At Rest >5um/M3 Operational >0.5um/M3 Operational >0.5um/M3 Equivalent ISO at rest/operational Equivalent Fed209E at rest / operational
A 3,520 20 3,520 20 ISO-5/5 100/100
B 3,520 29 352,000 2,900 ISO-5/7 100/10k
C 352,000 2,900 3,520,000 29,000 ISO-7/8 10k/100k
D 3,520,000 29,000 not defined not defined ISO-8/na 100k/na
recirculating modular cleanroom
Cleanroom Air Flow – Recirculating Modular Cleanroom

Types of Cleanrooms:

modular cleanroom
Modular Cleanroom

Modular Cleanroom

A Modular Cleanroom is a cleanroom built using prefabricated modular components then assembled on-site. Why choose modular cleanrooms?

  • Modular cleanrooms can be manufactured and installed 50% faster than stick built conventional construction cleanrooms.
  • Unlike conventional construction cleanrooms, modular cleanrooms are easily modified, expanded, or relocated.
  • Modular cleanrooms can be built for any classification (class 100-100k, ISO5-ISO8) with temperature and RH control.
hybrid cleanroom
Hybrid Cleanroom

Hybrid Cleanroom

A Hybrid Cleanroom is a cleanroom built combining modular components with existing conventional construction walls. When to use a hybrid cleanroom design?

  • Combine modular cleanroom air returns and internal walls with existing conventional construction walls can offer cost savings.
  • The use of modular cleanroom components significantly speeds up installation of cleanroom.
  • Hybrid works best for less demanding ISO-7 or ISO-8 class cleanrooms.
softwall cleanroom
Softwall Cleanroom

Softwall Cleanroom

A Softwall Cleanroom is a cleanroom created by hanging clear vinyl curtains on an aluminum frame to create walls.

  • Softwall cleanrooms are one pass. Filtered air is pulled by HEPA fan filter units into the cleanroom. The air passes under the curtain back into the surrounding room.
  • Softwall cleanrooms can be mounted on casters so they can be easily relocated.
  • Unlike recirculating modular cleanrooms, you cannot add air conditioning to softwall cleanrooms.
medical device cleanroom
Medical Device Cleanroom

Medical Device Cleanroom

A Medical Device Cleanroom is a cleanroom that is used to manufacture medical devices.

  • Medical device cleanrooms are designed to provide a controlled environment as specified by the device approved FDA validation and CGMP practice.
  • The modular cleanroom is optimized to create a sterile manufacturing environment for the medical devices.
  • Often FRP modular cleanroom walls are chosen for medical device cleanrooms because of the frequent cleaning done in these types of cleanrooms.
pharmaceutical cleanroom
Pharmaceutical Cleanroom

Pharmaceutical Cleanroom

A Pharmaceutical Cleanroom is a cleanroom that is used for pharmaceutical manufacturing.

  • Pharmaceutical cleanrooms are designed to provide a controlled environment as specified by your approved FDA validation and CGMP practice.
  • The modular cleanroom is optimized to create a sterile manufacturing environment for the pharmaceutical products.
  • Filling rooms are typically ISO5 class 100.
  • FRP modular cleanroom walls are standard due to the aggressive chemicals used to clean pharmaceutical cleanrooms.
rollup cleanroom door
Turnkey Complete Cleanroom

Turnkey Complete Cleanroom

A Turnkey Complete Cleanroom is when the modular cleanroom company provides beginning to end service, doing all aspects of the cleanroom project. This includes:

  • Modular cleanroom design
  • Manufacturing of modular cleanroom material
  • Installation of modular cleanroom
  • HVAC, electrical, and flooring provided
  • Certification of modular cleanroom
mask manufacturing cleanrooms
Mask Manufacturing Cleanroom

Mask Manufacturing Cleanroom

A Mask Manufacturing Cleanroom is a cleanroom that is used for manufacturing of K95 and surgical masks during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • The cleanroom is designed to provide a sterile controlled environment due to mask classification as medical device
  • Special modular cleanroom design for rapid manufacturing in factory and installation by customer in field
  • Using modular cleanroom walls systems allowed existing warehouse to be quickly converted into cleanroom at reasonable price
black cleanroom laser curtain
Laser Cleanroom

Laser Cleanroom

A Laser Cleanroom is a cleanroom optimized for sensitive laser experiments.

  • Cleanroom blackout curtains
  • HEPA filtration to remove air particulates in cleanroom that could influence experiments
  • Tight temperature and humidity control for the cleanroom space
static dissipative cleanroom
Static Dissipative Cleanroom

Static Dissipative Cleanroom

A Static Dissipative Cleanroom is designed to prevent static from building up within the cleanroom which can damage sensitive electronic components. Features include:

  • Static dissipative modular cleanroom walls
  • Static dissipative cleanroom flooring
  • Humidity control
  • Ionizer bars
e-liquid cleanroom
E-Liquid Cleanroom

E-liquid Cleanroom

An E-liquid Cleanroom is designed for mixing of E-liquids for electronic cigarettes.

  • E-liquid cleanrooms provide a controlled clean environment for manufacturing of e-liquid ingredients per government regulations
  • Modular cleanroom features result in quick installation and easy expansion of the e-liquid cleanroom
  • Modular cleanroom is an economical solution for a smaller size cleanroom used by many e-liquid companies.
USP797 cleanroom
USP797/800 Cleanrooms

USP797/800 Cleanrooms

USP797/800 Cleanrooms are used for compounding pharmacies.

  • Sterile or negative pressure cleanroom is required depending on type of drug being compounded.
  • USP797/800 cleanrooms typically require ISO7 compounding rooms, gloveboxes and ISO8 gown rooms.
  • A modular cleanroom is an economical solution for the wide variety of USP797/800 cleanroom sizes.
CBD cleanroom
CBD Extraction Cleanroom

CBD Extraction Cleanroom

A CBD Extraction Cleanroom is required for FDA regulated CGMP practice. Typical features include:

  • ISO7 or ISO8 cleanroom with HEPA fan filter units to filter the air in the cleanroom
  • Cleanable modular cleanroom walls
  • Gowning room airlock to don cleanroom garments
  • Magnehelic gauges to measure air pressure of cleanroom vs. ambient.

Common Cleanroom Standards

  • Fed209E. US government standard for cleanroom classification issue by the GSA. Measurements are in particles/cubic foot. It was superseded in 2021 by ISO 14644-01 -
  • ISO 14644-01. ISO standard for cleanroom classification. Measurements are in particles/cubic meter.
  • FDA GMP or CGMP: FDA standards for Current Good Manufacturing Practices for pharmaceutical, drug, cosmetics, food, nutraceutical and products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration
  • EU-GMP Annex 1: European standards for drug manufacturing
  • USP797 and 800 cleanroom standards hazardous and sterile compounding pharmacies
  • NSF ANSI National Sanitary Foundation standards for food drink processing
  • BSL1-4 : Bio Safety Level or pathogen protection level is set of biocontainment precautions designed to isolate dangerous biological agents in a contained biological laboratory. Issued by the US Center of Disease Control or CDC.   
  • Nonviable testing (particle count). Laser particle counters measure particle density without regard to if they are inert or alive.
  • Viable testing (settling plates and growth cultures). Culture plates and tapes to measure density of live organisms such as bacteria, yeast, mold, fungus, virus, etc.

FAQs About Cleanroom Classifications

Q: What Is a Cleanroom?

A: A cleanroom (or clean room) is a room that has HEPA filtration to remove particles from the air. Cleanrooms are used for manufacturing where high levels of cleanliness and sterility are required. Common applications are medical devices, pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing. The FDA mandates the use of cleanrooms to create GMP manufacturing factories.

Q: What Are Cleanrooms Used For?

A: Cleanrooms are used for manufacturing where high levels of cleanliness and sterility are required. Common applications are medical devices, pharmaceutical and semiconductor manufacturing. Cleanrooms use HEPA filters to remove particles from the air. It is common to see pharmaceutical cleanrooms, medical device cleanrooms, semiconductor cleanrooms, electronic cleanrooms, aerospace cleanrooms, food cleanrooms, USP797 compounding pharmacy cleanrooms and biotech cleanrooms. Cleanrooms are also used by the government such as national labs, defense industries, and R&D labs at universities.

Q: How Clean Is a Cleanroom?

A: Very clean. A class 100 cleanroom has 100 particles per cubic foot. By comparison your typical office space has between 500,000 and 1 million particles per cubic foot. Cleanrooms come in different classes from class 100 to 100,000.

Q: When Is a Cleanroom Required?

A: Medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing requires sterile environments to produce their products. Cleanrooms provide this sterile super clean manufacturing space which reduces the chance of contamination getting in your medicine. Semiconductor manufacturers produce devices with ultra small super dense features. Examples are computer chips for your cell phone or PC. If contamination were to get on the chip during manufacturing, they would not work.

Q: What Does ISO Stand For?

A: ISO is the International Standards Organization. It has created the ISO 4644-1 Cleanroom Standards that describe the allowed number of particles, the allowed size of particles and HEPA filtered air flow changes per hour meet ISO-4, ISO-5, ISO-6, ISO-7, and ISO-8 standard. It relies on measurements per cubic meter. It corresponds to the USA based Fed Standard 209E which relies on measurements per cubic foot. Fed Standard 209E corresponding classes are 10, 100, 1000, 10k and 100k.

Q: What is Clean Room in Pharma?

A: In pharma a clean room is a controlled environment using HEPA filtration to minimize particulate contamination. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are subject to FDA validation of their manufacturing which typically specify use of a clean room to ensure the quality of the manufactured pharmaceutical product. Sterility is highest priority. Pharma cleanrooms focus on both non viable (inanimate) and viable (live) contamination. They typically use laser particle counters to measure non viable contamination levels and settling plates with culture media to measure viable contamination levels. Pharmaceutical cleanrooms use aggressive chemical and UV light cleaning techniques to maintain sterility.

Q: What is a Data Cleanroom?

A: A data cleanroom is a secure isolation virtual platform that typically stores anonymized marketing data from multiple sources. It is used to protect privacy and share data from multiple sources. It is very different from physical cleanrooms used for manufacturing.

Q: How Do Cleanrooms Work?

A: Cleanrooms rely on HEPA or ULPA filtration to remove particles from the air and create an ultra clean environment. With sufficient air changes per hour and laminar air flow it is possible to reduce particulate count from greater then 500k/ft3in typical office space to as low as 100/ft3(class 100 cleanroom). Airlocks are used to prevent contamination from entering the cleanroom. Workers inside cleanrooms typically wear cleanroom garments such as booties and bunny suits to prevent them from bringing contamination into the room. Eating and drinking are never allowed in cleanrooms.

Q: Who Needs a Cleanroom?

A: Industries such as pharmaceutical, medical device and USP797 compounding pharmacies are required by the government to manufacture in sterile environment and must use cleanrooms. Other industries such as semiconductor, electronics, aerospace and optics find the ultra-clean environments in cleanrooms are the only way to cost effectively manufacture their products. Other industries that use cleanrooms include food, beverage, e-liquid, CBD and vitamins.

Q: What is a Pharmaceutical Cleanroom?

A: Pharmaceutical manufacturers are subject to FDA validation of their manufacturing which typically specify use of a clean room to ensure the quality of the manufactured pharmaceutical product. Sterility is highest priority. Pharmaceutical cleanrooms focus on both non viable (inanimate) and viable (live) contamination. They typically use laser particle counters to measure non viable contamination levels and settling plates with culture media to measure viable contamination levels. Pharmaceutical cleanrooms use aggressive chemical and UV light cleaning techniques to maintain sterility.

Q: What is a Class 1 Cleanroom?

A: A class 1 cleanroom refers to ISO standard allowing less than 2 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter. A class 1 cleanroom typically has from 500-750 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors. It is the cleanest classification.

Q: What is a Class 2 Cleanroom?

A: A class 2 cleanroom refers to ISO standard allowing less than 11 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter. A class 2 cleanroom typically has 500-750 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors. It is the 2nd most clean classification.

Q: How Many Types of Cleanrooms Are There?

A: The most common type cleanrooms are modular cleanrooms, stick-built cleanrooms (or standard), and softwall cleanrooms. Modular cleanrooms utilize prefabricated modular wall systems which allow for faster installation, easy modification(s) and reasonable cost. Stick built or standard cleanrooms rely on conventional steel stud(s) drywall construction. It can be slightly cheaper. Softwall cleanrooms use clear vinyl curtains suspended from metal frames. Small softwall cleanrooms are often mounted on casters so they can be easily moved around.

Q: What is a Class 4 Cleanroom?

A: A class 4 cleanroom refers to ISO standard allowing less than 1020 particles greater than 0.3 microns and less than 2 particles greater than 5.0 microns per cubic meter. A class 5 cleanroom requires from 500-600 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors. It is the 4th most clean classification.

Q: How Do You Prepare For Cleanroom / Installations?

A: If you need an ISO-7 cleanroom you should prepare your facility for the modular cleanroom installation. Check that area is free and clear up to height of cleanroom. Frequently existing electrical conduit, lighting, sprinklers, and HVAC ducting need to be relocated. When installing new cleanroom flooring make sure the existing concrete is in good shape. Have any cracks and depressions filled to level the floor.

What Are the Do and Don’ts in a Cleanroom?

Do:

  • Do wipe down all surfaces on a regular basis to remove contamination.
  • Do make sure doors are always closed to maintain positive pressure.
  • Do always have all staff were cleanroom suits over their street clothes to prevent bringing contamination into the cleanroom.

Don't:

  • Don’t eat or drink in your cleanroom.
  • Don’t bring dirty equipment or material into cleanroom – always wipe it down before bringing it in.
  • Don’t turn off the HEPA fan filter units – it will take several hours after you turn them back on before the cleanroom is clean again.

ISO Cleanroom Specifications

The ISO 1 specification for cleanrooms require less than 2 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter. An ISO 1 cleanroom typically has from 500-750 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors.It is the most clean of the cleanroom classification.

The ISO 2 specification for cleanrooms requires less than 11 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter. A IS0 2 cleanroom typically has 500-750 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors.It is the 2ndmost clean classification.

The ISO 3 specification for cleanrooms requires less than 102 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no more than 8 particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic meter. A IS0 3 cleanroom typically has 500-750 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors.It is the 3rd most clean classification.

The ISO 4 specification for cleanrooms requires less than 1020 particles greater than 0.3 micronsand no more than 2 particles greater than 5.0 microns per cubic meter. An IS0 4 cleanroom typically has 500-600 air changes per hour and typically utilizes ULPA filtration. Other common characteristics are 100% ULPA ceiling coverage and raised floors.It is the 4th most clean classification.

The ISO 5 is a super clean cleanroom classification. A cleanroom must have less than 3,520 particles >0.5 micron per cubic meter and 250-300 HEPA filtered air changes per hour. The equivalent FED standard is class 100 or 100 particles per cubic foot. Common applications are semiconductor manufacturing and pharmaceutical filling rooms.

The ISO 6 is a very clean cleanroom classification. A cleanroom must have less than 35,200 particles >0.5 micron per cubic meter and 180 HEPA filtered air changes per hour. The equivalent FED standard is class 1000 or 1000 particles per cubic foot.

The ISO 7 is a common clean cleanroom classification. A cleanroom must have less than 352,000 particles >0.5 micron per cubic meter and 60HEPA filtered air changes per hour. The equivalent FED standard is class 10.000 or 10,000 particles per cubic foot. Common applications are pharmacy USP800 compounding rooms, electronics manufacturing and medical device manufacturing.

The ISO 8 is the least clean cleanroom classification. A cleanroom must have less than 35, 200,000 particles >0.5 micron per cubic meter and 20 HEPA filtered air changes per hour. By comparison a typical office space would be 5-10 times more dirty. The equivalent FED standard is class 100,000 or 100,000 particles per cubic foot. Common applications include plastic extrusion for medical devices, e-liquid manufacturing, and nutraceutical packaging.

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