Reduce Foreign Object Debris by Vacuuming Equipment Regularly

Foreign object debris (FOD) in products is a quality and safety risk. Boeing has estimated that FOD costs the aviation industry more than $4 billion annually. Preventing or eliminating FOD in products is a top priority for food processors and manufacturers in general, and particularly those in the pharmaceutical industry. FOD can occur due to cross-contamination when equipment or components are used to produce multiple products but are not properly cleaned before a different product is manufactured.

FOD can also result from the accidental or unintended introduction of foreign substances, including metal shavings or other particulates, dirt, dust or rust into the manufacturing process. The introduction of one or more of these substances diminishes safety and product quality, and the introduction of FOD violates the Food and Drug Administration’s zero tolerance policy for pharmaceuticals.

Due to the fact that FOD contamination can occur at any one of multiple points in the manufacturing process, there isn’t just a single step that can entirely remove the threat posed by FOD. However, the importance of good housekeeping habits can’t be overstressed, and good cleaning practices are a critical component in eliminating FOD in manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.

Vacuum Often
Sweeping floors and dusting equipment with a cloth doesn’t eliminate dust; instead these activities often displace dust and dirt – without effectively capturing them. Vacuuming with a machine equipped with a true HEPA filter captures and removes dust and debris, and can also help eliminate cross contamination.

High-level cleaning helps ensure dust and debris won’t drift down and settle on manufacturing equipment or production lines. Regularly vacuuming pipes, catwalks, walls and other overhead structures helps ensure dust, rust and debris isn’t dislodged, but rather captured and removed.
Industrial-grade backpack vacuums enable safe, easy access to hard-to-reach areas, and provide excellent cleaning results.

Clean as You Go
Many manufacturing facilities embrace a “Clean as You Go” philosophy, where employees are trained to recognize potential FOD in the production process and are required to clean and remove any FOD when encountered. This helps ensure manufacturing operations are always conducted in the cleanest, safest environment possible.

Pre-positioning high quality vacuums in manufacturing areas allow employees to quickly and efficiently address any housekeeping issues that arise and minimize production interruptions. Using a vacuum to dry clean surfaces, rather than wet mops or rags, reduces extraneous moisture in manufacturing plants and reduces the likelihood that products will be compromised by moisture.

Good cleaning practices, including regular vacuuming, can help manufacturers and pharmaceutical plants improve or maintain their product quality, and reduce the risk of FOD in their products.

Atrix carries a full line of vacuums designed for industrial cleaning. If you’re looking to add vacuuming to your plant cleaning process, please contact [email protected]. Our team can answer your questions and provide you with additional product information.