WARWICKSHIRE, UK -- In response to the European Space Agency's demand for higher quality laminate, Ventec Europe is establishing processes to maintain aerospace-standard cleanliness in the prepreg handling areas of its distribution center here.
The ESA has noted contamination of laminates by foreign material in the dielectric as a major problem. It is pressing laminate manufacturers to define a new procurement specification, to be added to IPC-4101D.
Ventec Europe has installed clean rooms for polyimide and epoxy prepreg cutting and packing, respectively. Access is reserved to trained operators in full clean-room outfits, and no card or wood is permitted in the prepreg processing rooms. Each room has a set of dedicated handling equipment, color-coded to identify where it belongs, and stainless steel work surfaces. Certified ISO Class 7 canopies have been installed, so that each machine has a constant laminar down-flow of highly filtered air to give an ultra-clean operating environment with real-time monitoring of temperature and humidity.
Outside in the warehouse area Ventec is fitting wheel cleaners at the entrance from the loading bay to prevent fork trucks carrying dust in from outside.
Mark Goodwin, Ventec chief operating officer, Europe and US, said, "We have always made every effort to ensure that the pre-preg we deliver is completely free from foreign object debris in the form of particulate contamination. We are determined to maintain those cleanliness standards all the way into the customer’s lay-up room and our fabrication equipment and environment here in Ventec Europe have been specifically designed to aerospace standards."