The new STERICLEAN robot from Stäubli was developed for use in barrier isolator systems used in aseptic processes in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and medical device industries. According to the robot’s developers, the innovation represents a major advance in efforts to automate processes within isolators to eliminate repetitive motion concerns, as well as overcome contamination potential, inconsistency, and throughput issues that impact quality and productivity when human operators pierce an aseptic space.
Designed to protect both personnel and products, the new robot will withstand corrosive H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) used during regular sterilization processes by employing complex surface coatings and full encapsulation. The technology eliminates restrictive enclosures and problems related to glove ports and heavy mechanical arms, plus other factors that undermined previous attempts at using robotics with isolator systems. “Shadow areas,” or surfaces on and under the device that might otherwise elude the vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP), can now be effectively sterilized because the robot is deliberately and methodically moved during sterilization.
In addition to addressing product contamination issues, the robots also eliminate the chance that human operators will be contaminated by toxic drugs during syringe filling operations or will suffer from repetitive motion injuries. During extensive testing, the new technology has already demonstrated its ability to simulate human motion and meet productivity goals, raising the rate at which syringes can be filled on a high-speed line from 200 to 800 per minute.
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