Cleanroom.net Exclusives : Interview With AmeriPride Services’ Rob Nightingale
Cleanroom.net Exclusives talks to Director of Research & Development and Cleanroom Technologies at AmeriPride Services/Canadian Uniform Services, Rob Nightingale. AmeriPride Services have over 40 years of clean room laundry development and quality service experience.
Cleanroom.net : Thanks Rob for taking the time to talk to Cleanroom.net. Can you tell us a little bit about AmeriPride?
Rob : AmeriPride Services and Canadian Linen & Uniform Services is one of the largest and oldest uniform and linen service companies in North America. AmeriPride is a multi-national organization operating 50 production facilities throughout the United States and Canada. The company is still privately owned and actively managed by the founding family, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. AmeriPride has provided uniform rental and linen services to our customers for over 120 years.
Cleanroom.net : What does AmeriPride’s Clean Room Garment Service System offer?
Rob : AmeriPride and Canadian Linen & Uniform Services’ CleanStyle Cleanroom Division provides both reusable and consumable Cleanroom products and services from multiple ISO 4 / Class 10 cleanrooms. The Superior Apparel Management System (SAM) uses RFID tracking for reliability, providing accurate and immediate data history for the tracking of all reusable garments. In addition, the CleanStyle Division offers Aseptic and Non-Aseptic Cleanroom Consumables, Cleanroom Technical Support, and On-Site Inventory Management Programs.
Cleanroom.net : Can you describe the total control, barrier system that you use for cleaning garment batches?
Rob : Our cleanroom laundries are certified Class ISO 4 as per ISO 14644-1 classification for air cleanliness. The cleanroom laundry equipment includes passthru stainless dedicated washers, HEPA filtered stainless dryers, impulse sealers for cleanroom packaging of ISO 3 cleanroom manufactured polyethylene, airborne laser particle counters, liquid laser particle counters and Helmke drums for ongoing product testing. The cleanrooms have dedicated ultrapure filtered DI water systems, and all wash chemicals are cleanroom compatible and filtered for purity. Additionally, The cleanrooms have environmental monitoring programs to ensure environmental cleanliness, and sample products from each batch processed for airborne particulate via Helmke drum method or for readily releasable particles to assess batch cleanliness prior to packaging and shipping as per IEST RP CC 03.3. and RP CC 04.3.
Cleanroom.net : What considerations do you take into account when analyzing a customers garment needs?
Rob : There are several considerations used to assess both an existing and potential customer’s needs and service requirements. The primary assessment tool is the customer’s application and contamination control considerations. This assessment can readily determine the type of garment system, reusable or disposable garment requirements, and any specific contamination issues akin to this customer and manufacturing environment. Careful consideration must also be given to the potential soiling of a garment system and the potential impact to existing customers and personnel health and safety. CleanStyle has a strict policy for reusable garments, in that we do not process any hazardous pharmaceutical soils, including antibiotics, hormonal, live immunity or oncology products in our cleanrooms.
Cleanroom.net : How does AmeriPride track and manage the garment inventory?
Rob : CleanStyle cleanrooms use an exclusive RFID chip in each garment, which is scanned upon installation and laundering of each garment. The garment is also scanned upon any repair or mending activities, and upon retirement. The RFID chip provides 99.97% accuracy, and is heat sealed inside each garment, head cover and shoe cover. In the event of a failure of an RFID scanner to read the chip, the garment, head cover and shoe cover have an individual serial number for the chip heat sealed beside the chip, to maintain all of the garment’s use history. Additionally, all garments have a non-shedding heat sealed label on the adjacent to the RFID that is man readable for easy distribution and identification of size and customer’s departmental usage. The RFID scan provides 5 types of reports which are shared routinely with our customers.
Cleanroom.net : Why should a cleanroom chose AmeriPride for it’s garment and laundry needs?
Rob : Superior service, technical experience and knowledge, quality, accountability and a history of innovative solutions.
Cleanroom.net : Have you noticed any new trends or exciting emerging technologies in the cleanroom garment and laundry fields?
Rob : In North America, there has recently been an industry consolidation in cleanroom garment processing. Two major multinational laundries have sold their cleanroom business to other vendors, and yet another has reduced it regional presence in the western United States. As a result, cleanroom customers have been left with fewer processing and service options. This is especially troubling for customers who own their own garments (COG) and require greater service frequencies due to the small on-hand inventories they carry.
Cleanroom.net : How do you feel the laundry market has been this year so far?
Rob : With the aforementioned downsizing of cleanroom laundry vendors, this market is probably more interesting than it has been for the past two decades. Large cleanroom customers may be forced to seek other options than what has been interpreted as the traditional vendor base, and smaller cleanroom customers may be forced to pay more for their services and carry larger garment inventories. As a vendor competing in this marketplace, we must ensure that service and quality are maintained at high levels, and that customers receive value and competitive price models from the vendor community.
One other point that should not be lost during the past year, is the experience gained from the cleanroom laundry community as it pertains to general areas of contamination control, and the acute awareness of viruses and immune disorders. With the experience of validation, segregation of product and documentation procedures within cleanroom laundries, much has been learned by both industrial and health care laundry providers to everyone’s benefit.
Our thanks to Rob for taking the time to talk with Cleanroom.net Exclusives
For more information about AmeriPride please visit http://www.AmeriPride.com