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Lab-in-a-Box Slashes RapidTest Development TimeLab-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

Additional information:

Besides providing system purchasers with on-site installation and training assistance, BBInternational offers ongoing technical support from its Cardiff laboratories. The firm also supplies off-the-shelf and custom gold conjugates to system users. The objective, said Rees, is to ensure consistent output wherever the LIAB is set up. "The guidelines and processes are the same . . . we are bringing uniform quality to the table."

In addition to smaller companies that want to enter the rapid test market with a minimum of fuss, the product has also sparked interest among larger medical device firms. "We have had some major players take a look at LIAB for use in their R&D departments," notes Rees. "They have told me that the product is sufficiently cost-effective for them to consider using it in product development applications, which allows them to keep the technology in-house."

To contact British Biocell International Ltd.:
Golden Gate
Ty Glas Avenue
Cardiff, UK CF14 5DX
Tel: +44 (0) 2920 747232
Fax: +44 (0) 2920 747242
[email protected]

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.

To contact Matthias Oechsler & Sohn GmbH & Co.:
Postfach 16 51
Ansbach D-91522
Tel: +49 9 8118070

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

Additional information:

One unique application for Advantech's displays involved a cytotoxic treatment system. To reduce hair loss in patients undergoing treatment with cytotoxic drugs, the Swedish company Dignitana developed a system for cooling hair roots during the treatment. An Advantech touchscreen display was built into the control unit, and it allows all commands to be entered directly on the screen. Two patients can be treated and monitored simultaneously, and an alarm is activated if the temperature deviates from set values.

To contact Advantech Technologies Inc.:
15375 Barranca Pky., Ste. A-106
Irvine, CA 92618
Tel: (800) 866-6008
Fax: (949) 789-7179
[email protected]

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