Keep control of consumables expenditure
Sales of cleanroom consumables are increasing, with gloves and wipes heading the list. Increases in the raw material price of latex have led glove consumers to consider alternative materials, such as nitrile and polychloroprene. For garments, there are fundamentally three options – disposable, reusable (laundered) or a combination of the two. The choice will be governed by the number of garment changes per week. If a reusable system is decided upon, consideration needs to be given to the choice of purchase, lease, lease-to-own or rental.
Reusable garments being packed in an ISO class 5 cleanroom at The Cleanroom Laundry
Cleanroom consumables are a major expenditure for cleanroom users. Karen Rossington, on behalf of Nitritex, looks at current factors affecting costs and offers expert advice on how to control them.
Sales of cleanroom consumables and hardware will exceed US$10.3bn (€7.6bn) in 2011, according to the latest report from McIlvaine’s Cleanroom World Markets. Gloves are the single biggest cleanroom consumable, with wipes in second place. Most cleanrooms spend an estimated 40% of their consumable budget on gloves.1 Reusable and disposable garments are equal in revenue terms, but not in unit sales, as more disposable garments are purchased.
Fuelling this consumable revenue growth, especially in the area of gloves, is the significant rise in raw material pricing that has been experienced over the past 8–12 months in both natural latex and nitrile latex. As the raw material contributes around 55% of the overall cost of a non-sterile cleanroom glove, in many instances at least, some proportion of this increase has been passed on to the customer as higher end-user prices.
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