Particle Counters


Compiled by Steve Smith

Worldwide growth in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, plus a move toward global adaptation of ISO standards, make the particle counter an increasingly important tool for contamination control. Here are some of the newest devices and enhancements:

Battery-operated counter

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The Solair 5100+ line of battery-operated laser particle counters offer a sensitivity of 0.5 µm and a flow rate of 1.0 cfm (28.3 LPM), with a wide dynamic range up to 25.0 µm. The series features a new large, color (5.7") backlit touchscreen interface. Particle count data from six channels and from up to four environmental sensors can be stored—all downloadable to either computer or the counter's own built-in thermal printer. A lithium-ion battery is rechargeable. The manufacturer says its instrument can be used as a stand-alone portable counter or integrated into a larger facility-monitoring or management system.
Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions
Milpitas, CA

Portable airborne particle counter

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Portable APC airborne particle counters are used for the detection of particulate contamination in controlled environments, or anywhere particulate contamination is a concern. Features include 0.2-micrometer particle sensitivity, ability to measure six size ranges simultaneously, 1 cubic foot per minute flow rate, and three concentration modes (total particles, particles/m³, particles/L and particles/ft³.
Biotest Diagnostics Corp.
Denville, NJ

Facility monitoring software

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CIMScan facility monitoring software is designed for easy monitoring of particle counter instrumentation and key parameters in critical areas of a facility. The software provides a complete environmental monitoring solution and, according to the company, typically requires no special training for configuration and use. Parameters monitored include particle counts, filter conditions, airflow rates, electrostatic discharge, temperature, relative humidity and differential pressure. Collected data can be analyzed in real time or linked to an ODBC database or Microsoft Excel program.
Hach Ultra Analytics
Grants Pass, OR

Four-parameter particle counter

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The Kanomax Model 3886 (shown with optional probes) hand-held particle counter is, according to the manufacturer, the only instrument of its kind on the market that is capable of measuring four parameters: particles, air velocity, temperature, and relative humidity. The device measures five particle sizes (0.3, 0.5, 1, 3 and 5 µm), and is designed to hold 500 samples in data memory. The company says that its Model 3886 is especially suited for monitoring and verifying cleanrroms and test filters, and for tracking down particle sources. A new three-channel version particle counter will be introduced this month at CleanRooms East/PDA.SciTech Summit in Orlando, Fla.
Kanomax USA Inc.
New York, NY

Thermally-chilled counter

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Billed as the first monitor to use a thermally-chilled, solid-state diode laser to count 0.1 µm particles, the LASAIR II-110 aerosol particle monitor is designed to provide accuracy and reduced operating costs while offering a three-year laser warranty. The device stores 3,000 samples, provides a wide range of data collection and recipe features; and, according to the manufacturer, the LASAIR II-110 is the only particle counter you can control from your desktop Web browser as it samples in the cleanroom and then downloads data in Excel. (You can also download the data into FacilityNet for advanced analyses and reports.)
Particle Measuring Systems
Boulder, CO