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Adhesive Mat Q&A: Why do I need to place the mat with its tab toward the entrance?

Here are Valutek, we are always happy to answer your critical environment consumables questions! This week, our team received an excellent inquiry from a cleanroom technician about placement of adhesive mats:

“On page 49 of your catalogue, [it is mentioned that] the tabbed corner should be closest to the door way. Any reason why?”

Each adhesive mat sheet has a small corner of non-adhesive material that is numbered, so that you can easily grab this tab and pull off one sheet at a time. Because this corner isn’t held to the sheet below it with adhesive, foot traffic can cause the corners to lift up from the sheet. Not only can this lead to a tripping hazard, but constant foot traffic over this non-adhesive area can lead to delamination of the sheet.  

If you are tiling your mats (“tiling” is when a cleanroom uses two smaller mats, such as an 18×36, placed side-by-side to cover a wide entrance instead of using one 36×36 mat – THIS IS NOT RECOMMENDED as it creates a space between the two mats where contaminants can harbor), the tabbed edges should be placed closest to the entrance and at the outside corners. This is preferred for the same reason listed above – keeping the tabs out of foot traffic prevents delamination and tripping.

More Adhesive Mat Placement Tips:

The most important step in placing a cleanroom adhesive mat is floor prep. First, make sure the surface is clean, even and without cracks. If there is any surface irregularity, the mat will conform to that, and this causes delamination of the mat from the floor, and leads to pockets under the mat where contaminants can harbor. Delamination can also lead to a dangerous side effect: when the mat actually lifts up from the floor while it is being walked on by an operator. This can result in operator injury if he or she loses balance and falls.

Next, clean the surface thoroughly, making sure to remove residual adhesive from a previous mat. Any dirt or residual adhesive will cause the mat to adhere unevenly. Adhesive mat frames can be used to ensure the surface they are placed on is clean and smooth.

Make sure you are positioning your mat properly. The orientation of the mat is always lengthwise to maximize the area walked on by the operator. Do not place an 18-by-36 inch mat across the width of an entrance, because it will only capture one footprint. The recommended amount of footprints to capture is three.

Do not “tile” mats. Tiling is the term used when placing two smaller mats, usually 18-by-36 inch in size, side-by-side to make the mat area wide enough to fit the entrance width. This is wasteful and creates a space between where the mats meet in the middle where contaminants can harbor.

 Now you are ready to place the mat on the floor. Pull back the backing of the mat 6 inches, then firmly press this exposed area on the floor, starting in the middle and working outward to the edges. This helps removes bubbles and veins that may form as you are placing. Pull back another 6 inches and press outward, repeating the process until the entire mat is adhered to the floor.

Need advice on a cleanroom product or have a question? Don’t hesitate to call one our technical sales representatives at 800.763.1250.

Related Blog Posts:

Cleanroom Adhesive Mats: Get the most for your money by using them correctly


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