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Materials testing pulls medical industry into shape

Lloyd Instruments : 08 July, 2003  (Company News)
Lloyd Instruments has long supplied the medical devices industry with materials testing solutions for research and product quality assessment. Latest launches include the LF Plus universal test machine, and an upgraded version of NEXYGEN MT software that guides users through the set-up, analysis and reporting stages of testing with ease. Of particular interest to the medical industry is the new security and audit trail software module, which ensures that testing is performed to strict procedures and will help companies meet the requirements of FDA 21 CFR Part 11.
The 1kN LF Plus is designed to widen the appeal of materials testing to a greater number of users, without compromising on accuracy. The modular design enables customers to choose an exact solution. It accepts XLC Series load cells or CHATILLON digital force gauges as the load measuring device, and features a generous working area to accommodate larger than average sized samples.

NEXYGEN MT is a powerful Windows based program with a huge test library, flexible control and easy user interface. The new version allows supervisors to password protect critical areas and set appropriate levels of access. Full audit trail entries are made when operators log in and out, and when each test is created, changed, deleted or aborted. Automatic saving and archiving also ensures no data is ever lost. Other features include video capture and playback of 'live' tests for additional analysis and training and integrated Lab VIEW platform drivers.

Lloyd Instruments pioneers innovative testing solutions and recently designed a semi-automated solution for a leading pharmaceutical company to test the firing mechanisms of one shot pressurised metered dose inhaler canisters. Until now, there has been no known dedicated testing solution for testing MDIs, and this test ensures the correct dosage of drug is delivered upon every release to protect patient safety. The MDI Test System fits onto a Lloyd Instruments testing machine, such as an LRX Plus, and provides a significantly faster testing turnaround than conventional systems.

A semi-automatic X-Y table, with a built-in pneumatic grip, was also developed for another pharmaceutical company to test the resealing capacity of rubber stoppers used on glass vials. Once fitted onto the Lloyd Instruments test machine, it is possible to conduct numerous penetration and leak tests on up to 25 enclosures at any one time, for greater efficiency during Quality Control.

In another application, the University of Exeter is currently spearheading research into the performance of artificial hip joint designs prior to their application in patients. A Lloyd Instruments EZ20 20kN testing machine (fitted with a thermal cabinet) is being used to test the joint designs under simulated body temperature conditions. The aim is to determine what effect different shapes and surface finishes have on performance and predicted lifetime inside the patient.

Testing generally falls into two main categories: the evaluation of materials in research and the testing of component quality during assembly on the production line. Typical applications include checking penetration forces when a needle is inserted into synthetic skin and the tensile strength of withdrawing plungers from casings. Strength tests are also conducted on surgical gloves, bag seals, bandages, sutures, scalpels, catheters, tubing, condoms, couplings, valves and dentistry products.
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