Designing for Wipe Down

Wiping surfaces down and promoting proper sanitation is not novel to the current environment we find ourselves in, but rather a fundamental requirement in the medical and life science fields.  Proper aseptic technique is a part of all health-related devices and systems, and as product developers we must help facilitate this.  Designs must allow and promote ease of cleaning so users can focus on their daily responsibilities without unnecessary cleaning distractions. When designing the APEX Compounder, Key Tech followed a set of general principles to facilitate proper cleaning practices.

Limit Surface Features – Cleaning and wipe down procedures of systems and devices that operate in highly controlled environments, like the APEX Compounder, benefit from minimizing unnecessary surface geometries, and large internal radii of corners. Limiting nonfunctional surfaces and providing users with larger continuous surfaces reduces cleaning time and the possibility of missing contaminates that could potentially cause harm.  Because of aseptic requirements of cleanrooms, the APEX Compounder followed these strategies during the product development process.  Utilizing only two outer enclosure ‘skins’ facilitated easy wipe down procedures and limited areas where potential contaminates could hide.  The main user interface surface incorporated a large rim around the working surface with generous internal radii to contain and allow for simple cleanup of spills or drips from the compounding ingredients.

Similar to the main enclosure, the device touchpoint points also applied the principle of utilizing smooth and limited surfaces.  Consumable loading features, including pump platens, platen locks, and sensor housings incorporate large rounds and smooth surfaces to promote easy wipe down at the end of a compounding shift.  Additionally, the platens and platen locks hide essential tube loading, hardware like springs and fastening hardware, to prevent areas that could be cleaning concerns.

Material and Finishes – Surfaces finishes, and coatings also need careful consideration when designing a device that will be repeatedly wiped down during its lifespan.  Key Tech has extensive material and surface finish knowledge in selecting coatings that not only withstand cleaning agents but also promote easy wipe down.  It is essential that the right paint or treatment be taken into account. For the APEX Compounder, it was vital that the finish enabled easy visibility of spills while also adhering to brand guidelines.  Key Tech worked within our vast vendor network to source finishes that met both chemical compatibilities and aesthetic criteria.

Ease of Disassembly – When feasible, components should be designed to be easily removable, providing better access to surfaces for cleaning and maintenance. In the case of the APEX Compounder, key touchpoints were fabricated without fastening hardware that required removal tools. Embedded magnets enabled quick and easy removal of the main touchpoints on the compounder, while additionally limiting the number of parts that require cleaning. In combination with the smooth surfaces of these components, they can be easily removed and soaked in a cleaning bath to ensure every part of the component is properly sanitized.

Proper cleaning and wipe down is achievable within every program, but having the proper strategy in place is critical to the ultimate success of the product.  Key Tech will structure the development process to adhere to your technology’s aseptic requirements while assuring users can focus on their job. To learn more reach out to us at TalkToUs@keytechinc.com.

Chet Larrow
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