What Type of Stainless Steel Table is Right for Your Clean Room?

Aug 2nd 2013

Stainless steel tables are manufactured from different types and gauges or thickness of stainless. Here are a few guidelines for choosing a table for a cleanroom, lab area, or sterile environment.

Clean Room Table

The stainless steel cleanroom table should be made of a higher grade 304 or 316 stainless steel. The gauge of stainless steel would depend on if the table will be used for holding heavy objects. If this is the case a heavier gauge should be chosen such as 14 gauge vs 16 gauge. The underside of the work surface should have cross braces to ensure strength.

Clean Room Workstation

A stainless steel workstation with 12” wide overhead cantilevered shelves allows storage space in the work area without cluttering the table top. The overhead shelves can be made of stainless steel or chrome. The table base can have a lower shelf, C frame or H frame which would allow the table to be used in a sitting position.

Sterile Cleanroom Table

An electropolished stainless steel table provides corrosion resistance when cleanroom cleaners and sterile disinfectants are used to wash down equipment. The electropolished table is clean, microscopically smooth and has a “mirror” finish. Stainless steel tables will rust if the chromium oxide layer on the surface is removed from a scratch or chlorine solution. The electropolishing process removes the metal ions from the stainless steel which would cause corrosion from the chlorine.

Semiconductor Clean Room Table

A critical clean environment used in the semiconductor industry often requires a perforated stainless steel table to be used. The perforated work surface allows the HEPA or ULPA filtered clean room air to pass through the holes in the work surface and keeps the area clean of air borne particulates. The stainless steel can have a brushed or electropolished finish. If budget is more of a concern a stainless steel wire shelf with four posts and lower shelf or C frame can function as a table.

Class 10,000/Class 100,000 Cleanroom Table

A standard type 304 stainless steel table with lower stainless steel shelf or C frame would be a good choice. An alternative would be a formica table with lower stainless steel base. When choosing a formica table for a cleanroom environment the underside of the table top should be sealed with formica or backer so the wood core is not exposed.

Lab Table

Generally a lab environment will have less concern with particles and not wiped down as extensively as in a cleanroom or sterile area. A standard stainless steel table with galvanize steel lower shelf or C frame could be used. The galvanized steel will rust if exposed to water or chemicals. If the lab area is a relatively dry area a type 430 stainless steel table could be a less expensive alternative to a type 304 stainless steel table.

Controlled Environment Table

There are locations outside of the cleanroom that require an assembly or staging area. The type 430 stainless steel table with lower galvanized steel shelf could be used. An alternative would be a laminate table top with baked enamel painted lower base.

ESD Workstation

A typical ESD workstation would have a static dissipative laminate worksurface with a painted steel base. Uprights can be mounted on the back of the table to allow overhead cantilevered shelves, bin rails, electrical strips, lights, and ion blowers positioned over the work area. If the workstation is placed in a cleanroom the underside of the work surface should have a phenolic backer so the wood core is not exposed.

There are many options when choosing a stainless steel table.
1) Type of stainless steel: 304, 316 or 430
2) Gauge or thickness of the stainless steel
3) Laminated or stainless steel top
4) Overhead shelves made of chrome or stainless steel
5) Base of table made of stainless steel, galvanized steel or painted
6) Lower shelves, C-Frame or H-Frame
7) ESD or standard laminate top

It is important to make the correct choice of table for the environment. Find additional information and table styles on our web site www.CleanRoomWorld.com

Cindy Weist
Western States Sales Inc

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