IDEX Health & Science, manufacturer of liquid subassemblies and precision components, debuts its new long-life, torque-assurance technology at Clinical Lab Expo 2012 in booth 1022. The Upchurch Scientific Intuitive Technology with two flat bottom fittings is suited for IVD instrumentation.
Customer demand drove development of the Intuitive Technology product. Senior development engineer Eric Beemer said of the technology, “More and more, our customers requested this type of product because it eliminates the need for tools during installation or service. Anyone can use the fitting correctly, even without instruction, and be assured that it works as promised.”
Customers also wanted a broader pressure-holding range, Beemer said. “The Upchurch Scientific design expands that range significantly. Beemer elaborated to IVD Technology: “In the early development phase, an OEM set up an instrument in our engineering lab and demonstrated the fluidic pain points in assembly, in field service, and in day-to-day operation. Without question, reliability and ease of use topped the list of requirements. We noticed he didn’t use a torque tool for installing connections. He said he had ‘a calibrated thumb.’ Years of experience had taught him what tightening torque was needed. That’s what really clarified for us the need for a universally dependable tightening improvement that wouldn’t leak, would last a long time through repeated cycles, and could be used by everyone without training.”
To further illustrate operation, product development manager Scott Ellis added, “We validated a broad ‘finger-tightening range’ between 1.5 and 6 inch-pounds using a sophisticated torque tool. Numerically, that doesn’t sound like a big difference, but it is exponentially vast as far as the amount of pressure-holding force achieved at those polarities [goes].” On flat-bottom fittings, he pointed out, the difference in pressure performance between 2 and 4 inch-pounds can sometimes mean double the pressure-holding capability.
The Intuitive flat-bottom fitting is currently available in PEEK and Delrin materials for 1/8-in. and 1/16-in. tubing. Ellis explained that the technology already exists on a much bigger scale, and he offered the example of gas caps for motor vehicles. But getting it down to the scale, where multiple fittings can be fit into a small valve, is a different level of engineering.