Keeping areas and equipment sterile in hospitals, laboratories and clinics is a constant battle

DNA Neutra Plasma 50

The Challenge

Keeping areas and equipment sterile in hospitals, laboratories and clinics is a constant battle, especially since contaminating particles are airborne. Over the years there have been a variety of attempts to produce an economical and efficient method to neutralise micro-organisms.

DNA contamination in laboratory tests and experiments causes suspect results to be generated which is frustrating as it also wastes time and money.

Several years ago, the design development team at GX were approached by a local company, Nimbus Innovations, involved with CD mastering.  Nimbus Innovations were looking to utilise their skills and expertise by diversifying into economic sterilisation methods. They enlisted GX’s help to develop a reusable decontamination flask using ultra violet light to render bacteria and micro-organisms inert.

The Solution

The process to generate UV requires a mixture of gases and mercury to be excited by microwaves. Nimbus Innovations had already worked with a glass blowing company to manufacture a quartz glass flask that contained mercury and the gases in a hollow chamber, but needed GX’s expertise to design and manufacture a protective plastic enclosure. They wanted to be able to place the flask, filled with microtubes, in a laboratory microwave to generate the UV and thereby neutralise DNA in any micro-organisms that may be present.

Since the plastic surround protecting the quartz flask needed to withstand many uses, the design team at GX researched into a variety of plastics to find one which would not go brittle or shatter through repeated use. They chose Ultem, a high-performance plastic known for its UV and heat resistance. The team also spent time value engineering the design, assisting with tooling for production purposes. 

The Result

This high-temperature plastic container was incredibly efficient at decontaminating items such as microtubes. Once excited by microwaves, a mixture of gases and mercury generated incredibly bright UV emitting plasma. American pharmaceutical company, Merck took the design to market as the Neutra-Plasma 50.