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Netstal’s 128-cavity system solution for pipette tips

Netstal’s 128-cavity system solution for pipette tips

News 02.11.2016

At the recent K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Netstal premiered a 128-cavity pipette tip system with a compact design, quicker operation and automation separated by cavities. Safety features can as well be optionally integrated as to prevent adverse effects of product counterfeiting.

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Netstal highlighted their expertize as system solution provider at K 2016 by demonstrating a 128-cavity line for pipette tip manufacture on an electric ELION 2800-870 machine.

Visitors of Netstal’s booth could witness production of pipette tips with a 5.6-second cycle time in a 128-cavity mold on an all-electric ELION 2800-870 injection molding machine. Dr. Patrick Blessing, who heads Medical Technology division of Netstal, commented on the live demonstration: “The high precision-controlled process of the all-electric ELION 2800 ensures that the shot weight of 33.28 g is distributed homogeneously over the 128 cavities.” The used precision mold, first of its kind in the world, was developed by Tanner Formenbau (Switzerland).

In turn, the automation system, quick, compact and separated by cavities, is a child of Zubler Handling, a Swiss specialist as well. Removal gripper is made of aluminum and carbon. It takes out the 128 pipette tips in less than one second of mold open time, checking simultaneously for presence of each individual item. The tips are then deposited onto a tray directly and carefully, cavity by cavity. Aiming at premium quality of sensitive manufactured parts, the gripper does not touch neither outlet openings nor collars of pipettes. “The handling system does not require more space than a comparable 64-cavity system, several of which have already completed the strict qualification process and are successfully being used in Europe and the USA,” emphasizes Blessing. Additionally, machine operator can take a complete HD picture of an entire 128 tips batch by pressing a dedicated button.

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The first ever 128-cavity mold for pipette tips (image source: Tanner Formenbau AG).

To avoid emergence of counterfeit products and related negative effects, respectable manufacturers need labeling solutions for complete protection of their products against forgery. Accordingly, Netstal and U-NICA (Switzerland) have jointly presented options for forgery-proof integration at K 2016. Visitors of Netstal’s booth witnessed how individual pipette tips are labeled with observable holograms. Blessing gave details of the new technology: “Each option can be integrated into new or existing molds with little effort. Each pipette tip gets a visible hologram in the same place, which allows for an identification without any technical aids.” Another possibility, according to him, is using a dedicated masterbatch mixed with the raw material: “The masterbatch contains special additives that become visible as a pattern of dots when examined with light featuring a certain wavelength. Using an optical reader, it can be determined whether it is an original pipette tip or a forgery.” At production sites, authentication will be fully automatic thanks to a latest image processing technology.

Jointly with mold making, automation and robotics specialists, Netstal develops customized and turnkey manufacturing systems for their customers. Processors cooperating with Netstal benefit from many strategic advantages. The company's independent partner network brings to every customer a system solution ideal for specific applications. Netstal supports their customers actively and competently throughout the entire process of solution development. Installing a manufacture line often implies significant costs, especially for medium-sized processors, since they do not have the required expertize internally. A competent and trustworthy system partner such as Netstal allows plastic processors to save time and continue using their assets for their core business.

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