Patients at a top UK foundation hospital are benefiting from the expertise and technology of Isopak, a supplier of equipment to the pharmaceutical, healthcare and food packaging industries
The Surrey hospital wanted to end the tedious process of producing quality control samples for diagnostic equipment, particularly in the Q-point test solution for the blood sugar metres used by diabetics.
The job had been done by hand-filling pre-formed plastic pipettes with a special glucose-based liquid and then sealing them, again manually, with a Bunsen burner.
But it was not an effective use of staff time or other resources and a better operation was needed.
So the hospital called in Isopak which, together with Dott Bonapace, for which it is sole UK distributor of a range of quality products, tailored an Easystrip SPB 4 single-dose pouch-making machine to produce small sachets of the solution containing a bottle-like form with a very small neck.
Each 30mm by 40mm sachet is automatically dosed with about 0.2ml of the liquid; the hospital is delighted with the results.
The Easystrip SPB 4 now does on its own in only 100 minutes what used to take three days - with input from lots of laboratory staff who can now get on with tasks they are employed to do instead of tackling time-consuming, fiddly work.
And the sachets are attached to letters sent to patients supplied with diagnostic equipment so quick and easy checks can be made to ensure it is working correctly and giving the required results.
Isopak's managing director, Robin Davies, says: "The hospital bought the machine because it is small, compact and mounted on castors for ease of movement and because it is one of the most economically-priced units of its type on the market".
"Typical of the Bonapace range, it is designed for relatively low output production for small-scale, niche-type products and is simple and easy to use".
The hospital's requirements were case-specific and, with very small volumes needed in each sachet, were outside the range of standard equipment.
But that was no problem to the technicians at Isopak.
They sourced a supplier of high-accuracy dosing equipment and working together the partners came up with the goods and sent them to Bonapace for integration into the unit.
Isopak also supplied a coding device to emboss a batch code on to each sachet, a print registration system and a notching device to allow easy opening of packs.
''The machine has made life a lot easier for the point of care team at the hospital and has provided it with spare capacity so it is available to benefit others,'' said Davies.