Sealing in Precision Syringe Pumps
The Project: Resolve a problem with a premature seal failure on a pump.
The Solution: Using a slightly modified but pre-existing design, an integrated polymer dynamic seal in the syringe assembly resulted in a seal that substantially outperforms its predecessor.Jerome Zawada is the life science segment manager at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. With over 18 years experience in the field, he is responsible for designing fluid handling components. Zawada can be reached at 310-371-1025 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
In pharmaceutical development and research, in vitro diagnostics, and other industries, syringe pumps are used in analytical equipment rather than for drug infusion into patients. This diagnostic equipment is used in numerous applications, including testing blood and urine samples for things like drug, hormone, and vitamin levels. Large clinical and research labs, such as those found in pharmaceutical company R&D labs, run such a large quantity of tests, they require automated liquid handling workstations to help prepare the samples for testing. These types of workstations often require numerous syringe pumps. The pumps are typically designed to be modular so each workstation can be customized.
TriContinent Scientific, a leading manufacturer of syringe pumps used in the in vitro diagnostics industry, was developing a new syringe pump to improve on existing designs.
One of their customers was experiencing problems with a competitor's pump due to premature seal failure, resulting in significant instrument down-time. The seal and ceramic piston that were being used in the competitor's design were beginning to fail because the reagents were adhering to the ceramic pistons and, in turn, deteriorating the seal material.
"The success of this syringe pump design hinged on finding the perfect seal material and configuration," says Mik Bajka, engineering manager from TriContinent. "We could not have asked for a better outcome. Our reputation is built on delivering high value, reliable, and innovative products to our customers, and we were able to do that here. Working with Trelleborg Sealing Solutions engineers, we solved our customer's problem and produced another quality component for the critical in vitro diagnostic industry."
OnlineFor additional information on the technologies and products discussed in this article, see MDT online at www.mdtmag.com  and the following websites:
• www.tricontinent.com 
• www.tss.trelleborg.com