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Controlled Environments Q&A: How Puritan Helps

Posted on Mar 6, 2017 11:00:00 AM

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Think Puritan is just a tongue depressor and flu testing swab manufacturer? Not even close!

Our cleanroom swabs are manufactured in an ISO:2008 certified and CE-compliant facility, providing reliable, consistent performance to ensure the quality of your end product. Designed for use in specific environments like precision manufacturing, fiber optics, electronics, semiconductors, and biotechnology, our critical environment swabs and devices keep your cleanrooms clean. 

Interested in learning more about how Puritan's products could be the right fit for your controlled environment? We've asked the top experts on our staff—many who have experience with applications in this industry—to answer some frequently asked questions.  

Q: What are some of the other controlled environments your customers work in?

Though not an exhaustive list, here are the ones that first come to mind: 

  • Aerospace. We work with some industry giants for manufacturing aircraft and spacecraft that specify Puritan. 
  • Automotive. We have been in a General Motors plant and met techs there who found many uses for Puritan products.
  • Department of Defense. We’ve worked with many DOD contractors, including those that manufacture night vision scopes and eyewear.
  • Medical device manufacturing. One interesting trip was to a pacemaker plant with a vendor, who used swabs to troubleshoot a problem there.
  • Optics manufacturing: Our cotton-tipped applicators are used in the refurbishment of the instruments your optometrist uses to determine what lenses are needed to correct your vison.
  • Consumer electronics. Our applicators are used in everything from the manufacturing of cell phones to the refurbishment of Red Box vending machines.

Q: What kinds of products do customers in these industries use?

Application-specific needs include everything from basic cotton on wood to our polyester fabric tips. 

At a General Motors plant, end users there told us the foam tip is great for smoothing decals without tearing, removing lubricating grease, and detailing.

Manufacturers in aerospace often use applicators as cleaning devices. They are low-tech, low-cost, and single-use, keeping contamination at a minimum. Even the outside of spacecraft can be cleaned with a swab! At one aerospace lab, Puritan swabs are used for environmental specimen collection. They swab everything—from cargo and cargo bays, to astronauts (for diagnostic testing).

Another company who uses an ambient curing silicone to seal night vision apparatuses (installed in turrets of tanks and aircraft) needs to eliminate all wood from the production floor because wood particulate inhibits the curing of the sealing material. In this case, our swabs with wire or polypropylene shafts are just the thing.  

Q: Why do your customers choose Puritan over any other company?

We are among the elite manufacturers of these products and our line is the broadest in the industry. While some choose Texwipe for a specialty device or Solon for lowest price, many come to Puritan as the best source for all tipped applicators.

Q: Are all sterile swabs the same?

No, all sterile swabs are not the same. Our dry swabs can be sterilized by ethylene oxide (EtO) gas or gamma irradiation. Both of these methods are done off-site, and whether EtO or gamma, sterility is certified. 

Ethylene oxide gas is the more economical method used, but sterilizes only permeable wrappers and packaging. A gas process, EtO requires more time for the gas to flood the product, render the product sterile, and then be evacuated. Once the product is returned to Puritan's warehouse post-sterilization there is still a quarantine time to allow for testing by an independent lab that confirms sterility of the product. For this to be done, an adequate number of days must elapse to be sure there has been no growth of microorganism that would indicate the sterilization process was not effective.  

For products packed in metal foil, or plastic transport tubes of similar materials, it’s necessary to sterilize them by gamma irradiation. Gamma irradiating takes less time but is more expensive, each load requiring a specific dosing or radiation to penetrate the product and render it sterile, as appropriate for the material and quantity of product being sterilized. No additional time is needed to render the product suitable for transport back to Puritan’s plant and the product can be quickly shipped to the customer.   

Q: What are some common questions you are asked about our products for these industries?

We like your CE applicator [insert product number here]. Can it be provided sterile?

The answer is yes! With adequate volume requirements, we can sterile-wrap singles or several per wrapper, or sterile process in bulk. Just tell us how many are needed and your preferred pack configuration and we will look for the best solution for your production plan.

What do you mean by "sterile process?"

Though sterile process is not a common offering, it has applications, such as when bulk pack is OK for the facility’s use, but incoming supplies must be sterile. In this case, a bulk pack of applicators—maybe 100 or more—is EtO sterilized as one unit and a certificate of sterile process is provided with the product. This differs from a certificate of sterility.

What does "10/10/100" mean?

The case pack of our product is described as boxes/packs/units so 10/10/100 is translated as 10 boxes of 10 bags of 100 applicators per case, or 10X10X100, or 10,000 applicators in each case of product.

What technical documentation can you provide for [insert product here]?

Data sheets and SDS are available for all catalogued items. For custom configurations, a technical drawing is provided for final review and approval by the customer prior to production.

Still Have Questions?

If you have a question that wasn't asked and answered above, don't hesitate to reach out and ask one of our knowledgeable product specialists

Download information sheet about a variety of Puritan Foam Swabs

Topics: Controlled Environments

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