Driving practical solutions in the race to combat Covid-19

Over the past 12 months, testing has proven to be a vital line of defence in combating Covid-19.

In the UK, a plethora of engineering companies have been working tirelessly to build testing and point-of-care diagnostic instruments, with the aim to increase accuracy and reduce waiting times for results.

At PCML, we have collaborated with a number of biomedical and Medtech companies from across the UK, to help design, manufacture and assemble the precision parts and components for a range of highly-sophisticated, rapid point-of-care testing devices.

One such leading biomedical company, QuantuMDX is making preparations to scale-up and manufacture of its Q-POC™ rapid point-of-care diagnostics testing device. Thich would allow the sensitivity of molecular testing to move beyond the laboratory, to point-of -care centres across the world, where diagnostics testing and results can be given in just 30 minute.

However, the pace in which the pandemic has unfolded over the past 6 months, has meant that the PCML’s engineering and manufacturing teams have had to overcome a number of issues and problems along the way.

PCML, recently received a contract to manufacture and assemble a thousand ‘Point of Care’ Diagnostic devices for a leading Biomedical company. The equipment, which had originally been developed to test for AIDS in the Third World, had previously been built in low volumes, by a small manufacturing team.

When the unprecedented numbers of devices needed for Covid-19 testing changed the game completely, PCML stepped in to help significantly ramp-up production, over a very short lead-time.

However, during the manufacturing process, the team encountered a persistent problem. The scale of units needed, required an increase in people to assemble the devices, which inevitably led to inconsistencies. One such challenge was the disparity in hand torque levels applied to HPLC nuts by each technician – which was causing the machines to leak and thus, jeopardising their fidelity.

Fortunately, PCML’s engineers quickly identified the issue, and by blending old school engineering intuition with modern technology, lead engineers, Dominic Roach and Daniel Bax found a practical solution.

After an iterative design process, the team designed and 3D-printed an additional component which would interrelate with the machine.  The result – by using a low value Geodore torque driver, a uniformed torque setting can be achieved each time, thus considerably reducing the failure rate for the devices.

Their innovative solution ultimately means the machines can be produced quickly, efficiently and yet still meet consistent quality standards. A relatively simple solution, born form the minds of practical engineers.

As we continue to fight this deadly virus, PCML will continue to offer the highest standard of biomedical, assembly solutions.

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