Blue Line, a Danish manufacturer of technology for demanding environments, has released a line of tablets designed for cleanroom use
Blue Line tablets are 60% lighter and thinner than competing tablets
Part of larger efforts to comply with the increasing mobility of pharmaceutical manufacturing, Blue Line’s tablets are the thinnest and lightest tablets for cleanroom use currently on the market, weighing less than 1 kg (60% lighter than competing tablets). They were able to achieve this lightness, says Marino Persiani, an engineer working for Blue Line, by exchanging stainless steel for an aerospace engineering polymer that is equally durable and chemically resistant, but upwards of 80% lighter. Their lightness allows for long-term uptime and flexibility in work practices, while eliminating physical strain.
Blue Line’s cleanroom tablets are among the few designed specifically for pharmaceutical cleanrooms. Many existing products are merely adaptations of tablets designed for healthcare environments, says Niels Pedersen, Blue Line’s CEO. Accordingly, these tablets tend to be less durable and chemically resistant as well as more difficult to clean because they have vents and charging ports wherein bacteria and other contaminants can hide. In talks with customers, Blue Line found that pharmaceutical companies were steadily pushing for the use of tablets because of their perceived potential to improve documentation, handover, and communication with support staff. Accordingly, to ensure that tablets could be used in cleanrooms without undue contamination, cleanroom technicians had to use workarounds. Pedersen says that clients were wrapping commercial tablets in plastic to be able to use them in their cleanrooms, making them cumbersome to use and clean and incompatible with multiple layers of personal protective equipment (PPE).
To address these issues, Blue Line built their cleanroom tablets from a single piece of polymer to eliminate all creases and lack both vents and a charging port; for charging and USB connectivity, they utilise a magnetic connector. This means that they can be easily cleaned without harming the device. The aerospace polymer can resist all known cleaning agents and the touchscreen is sensitive enough to be used with up to three layers of PPE. Thus, the tablets fit well into existing cleanroom procedures. They also complement other IoT technologies by making documentation simpler and more intuitive, as well as more consistent across the production process, preventing potentially millions of dollars in losses due to human error.
Blue Line aims to release two versions of the cleanroom tablets, differing in size. They are testing them in the full range of cleanroom classes, and expect them to be useful at all levels of the manufacturing process, from technicians to management.