18 Jul High purity stainless steel process piping: Clean after installation or build clean?
In the past, the process of manufacturing metals would create a product that would not be suitable for high purity applications. This would require cleaning or flushing systems after installation, as well as verification that the system was clean and ready for use. With modern advancements such as electric furnaces and cleanrooms, stainless steels can be produced, formed, and packaged inside high grade cleanrooms, and with virtually no contaminants such as total hydrocarbons (THC’s) or particulates. This allows installers and fabricators to utilize protocols to keep the materials clean throughout the process of installation.
It generally costs less to put in place these proper protocols to ensure that the system stays clean from un-packaging to initial start-up of the system. In fact, introducing cleaning agents or DI water can actually be more detrimental as they can be difficult to fully remove from a system, and they can lead to issues when purity analysis is performed during validation. Building clean typically results in lower costs in the end as well as a lower risk of having issues with contamination in your system.
Bryan Smith is a QA/QC Specialist with AMA Consultants Corporation. He specializes in cleanroom testing and certification, ultra-high purity (or UHP) process piping systems, and non-destructive testing. He has spent 7 years with AMA Consultants serving clients in various high-tech industries including pharmaceutical, aerospace and nuclear power. He currently holds Level II NDT certifications in Leak Testing (LT) and Visual Inspection (VT). You can reach Bryan or AMA Consultants at www.amaconsult.com or 706.654.3905.