What is a “Clean Room Work Environment?”

When looking for a data recovery service, you often hear the word “clean room” thrown around a lot. But what defines what a clean room or clean room work environment is, and why are they important?

A cleanroom or clean room is an environment with a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapors. ~ Wikipedia

Anyone can look up the definition of a clean room on Wikipedia, but the reality is that clean rooms can be one of many different sizes, configurations, and classifications. The question is – what kind of clean room environment is suitable when the only thing standing between a data recovery technician and your valuable data is a speck of dust?

The magnetic read/write heads that work with the platters where your data is stored float a distance of mere microns over the platter surface. If your drive is opened by an inexperienced technician outside of a clean environment, small airborne particles can end up inside the drive, risking contamination. Should any of that contamination find its way into that extremely tiny gap, the heads could collide with the platters, scratching them and rendering your drive irreversibly damaged – and possibly unrecoverable.

This is why a special environment is so important. A clean room is designed to filter and circulate air inside a controlled area, maintaining a level of air quality far cleaner than that of the air we breathe. While no clean room can remove all of the particulate in the air, nor are they considered a “sterile” environment, most certified clean rooms are efficient enough to maintain a level of airborne particulate that is less than a fraction of a percent that you would find in the air outside. To put this in perspective, outdoor air contains some 35,000,000 particles (dust, pollen, etc.) per cubic meter – our clean room cuts that down to just 100.

Our clean room environment is a certified Class 100, also known as an ISO 5-standard environment under the ISO 14644-1 specifications. While there is no “industry standard” for data recovery, this type of environment meets or exceeds the standards for use in manufacturing and biological and chemical sciences.

A clean room can come in many sizes, from a small laminar-flow hood that you may have worked in during chemistry class in high school, to a large room with air-locks. The important thing to understand when considering a data recovery provider’s clean room facility is not the size of their clean room, but thequality of the clean room itself, and the experience of the technicians working in it.

Don’t be fooled by data recovery companies claiming they have the only “certified” clean room in the country.

We know that when researching data recovery labs, a proper clean room is one of the most important things to take into consideration, should your drive need to be disassembled. We are confident in both our equipment and our experience, and we believe you will be too. Please contact us if you have any further questions about our facilities.

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