Lab-in-a-Box Slashes RapidTest Development Time

May 1, 2000

6 Min Read
Lab-in-a-Box Slashes RapidTest Development Time

Originally Published May 2000


Lab-in-a-Box Slashes RapidTest Development Time

Turnkey system requires no prior experience

Companies wanting to enter the rapid test market typically can spend as much as two years developing the technology and processes and sourcing equipment before achieving full-scale manufacturing capabilities. With the recently developed Lab-in-a-Box (LIAB), BBInternational (BBI; Cardiff, UK) promises to slash start-up time to two months regardless of prior experience. The company demonstrated the system at the January MD&M West show in Anaheim, CA.

0005p14a.jpgLab-in-a-Box is composed of several units, this one developed by Kinematic Automation.

LIAB was developed in conjunction with Millipore, a supplier of membranes and filtration equipment, and Kinematic Automation, which produces systems for the production of rapid diagnostic test strips. BBInternational is a global supplier of gold conjugates and silver and gold colloids. "By purchasing this package," says BBInternational marketing manager Lyn Rees, "companies are buying the expertise of three firms with more than 30 years of combined experience in rapid testing processes."

At the front end of LIAB is a BBI Bioprinter that captures antibodies or antigens on a solid-phase substrate. The Bioprinter can run 24 hours a day and produce several million tests annually. For small to medium-size production runs, system purchasers can opt for a Kinematic module that dispenses reagents onto card stock. An optional dip-and-dry machine can be added to accelerate throughput.

Rapid test processing continues as the membranes are laminated and sliced into test strips by means of a membrane cutter or programmable shear cutter. The strips are then placed in a vacuum drying oven to ensure proper binding of the antibody or antigen to the membrane. Downstream, a roller-driven machine closes the tops and bottoms of the plastic housings of the test device. A pouch sealer is also available for sealing the strips or devices inside aluminum pouches.

A turnkey system that eliminates protracted research and development and the recruitment of a multidisciplinary team is only part of LIAB's appeal, says Rees. "It's also extremely easy to use and requires no prior experience in rapid test manufacture. Someone purchasing the system today could be producing 50,000 tests in two months."—Norbert Sparrow

Plastic Gears Offer Range of Reduction Ratios

Ratios ranging from 50:1 to 4800:1 are available

Molded gears achieve substantial reduction ratios while maintaining a high level of performance. Developed by Matthias Oechsler & Sohn GmbH & Co. (MOS; Ansbach, Germany), the low-weight Wave Drive gears attain reduction ratios ranging from 50:1 to 4800:1 in a single stage with minimal backlash. The components are suited for medical devices and laboratory equipment that require slow displacement or precise positioning.

0005p14b.jpgWave Drive molded gears are available in standard and custom configurations.

"Traditional planetary and worm gears rely on several groups of engaged cogs to produce reduction ratios on that scale," says project manager Frank Pöhlau, "and each of those groups produces a certain amount of play. The inner gear mechanism of Wave Drive components never has more than two stages, and so there is little in the way of backlash."

Applications include certain types of laboratory equipment such as shakers and stirrers, according to Pöhlau. The gears may also find a use in intensive-care settings, he adds. "We have just looked at a nonmedical application that involves depressing a plunger into a cylinder in a continuous manner over a very long period of time—more than a year, as a matter of fact," says Pöhlau. "This has obvious potential for the administration of medication, for example." MOS is attuned to possible medical applications of its molded components, he adds, because the company has extensive experience manufacturing asthma inhalation devices and other medical products under cleanroom conditions.

Displays Incorporate Processors for Space Savings and Other Benefits

Two new models feature increased processing power

Medical displays that incorporate computer processors are becoming increasingly popular with designers seeking to improve ergonomics and reduce instrument size. Advantech (Irvine, CA) recently introduced two new models that provide such benefits. The Models PPC-123T and PPC-153T can be panel, wall, swing, or ceiling mounted. Easier maintenance and service of these integrated units is possible without the hassle of cable management. They also provide customization flexibility for device engineers.

0005p14c.jpgThese displays can be panel, wall, swing, or ceiling mounted.

The Model PCC-123T features a 12-in. LCD or touch screen, 256-Mbyte memory, and a video RAM of 8 Mbyte. The PPC-153T has the same features but uses a 15-in. touch screen or LCD and has a DVD option.

The units incorporate parallel, serial, and USB ports; expansion ports for PCI/ISA or USB; 512-Kbyte flash PROM; hard drives of up to 6.1 GByte; and Ethernet and Internet connectivity. Options include a CD ROM and speakers.

Derived from industrial-grade PCs, the two models are rated at 50,000 hours MTBF for the base systems and 20,000 hours MTBF for their screens. Modular construction allows for swapping out a screen from the front of the PPC-153T should that become necessary after two or three years of 24-hour use. —Karim Marouf

Back to the MPMN May table of contents | Back to the MPMN home page

Copyright ©2000 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Sign up for the QMED & MD+DI Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like