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Test & measurement


Revolutionising liquid analytes lab testing


From prototype to full scale production, technical moulder Broanmain Plastics has assisted lab testing spectrometer innovator Specac to develop a unique puck and slide concept that prevents cross contamination of food and drink, microbiological, chemical and forensic liquid laboratory samples.


scientific and industrial settings, - from life science research to polymers and plastics - recently unveiled its revolutionary ATR (Attenuated Total Reflection) consumable puck and slide innovation. The unique Arrow concept comprises a puck and silicon wafer ATR consumable polypropylene slides featuring overmoulded lids, allowing lab scientists to batch test, save and cross-compare chemical changes in samples over a period of time. Removing the need to clean the


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spectrometry puck between each individual lab sample has been hailed by Specac and industry experts as a major scientific breakthrough, as it safeguards against sample cross contamination as well as speeding up analysis. Technical tool developer and injection


moulding specialist Broanmain previously assisted Specac with its development of a new ATR accessory for the company’s high-spec offering to the spectroscopy market.. This project’s success instilled so much confidence in Specac’s team, they invited Broanmain’s tooling and production professionals - Kamil Stec and Thomas Catinat - to input into the full development of this completely new ATR concept.


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pecac, a global provider of spectroscopic accessories used in the laboratory analysis of specimens in a wide range of


Taking aTR in a new diRecTion Specac’s original concept was to create a disposable puck for high volume hazardous applications. Yet, through the company’s collaborations with Broanmain, the idea progressed to the development of an aluminum holding puck and disposable recyclable silicon ATR slides, which used less material, so was less wasteful. At the very first meeting, suggestions for tooling


and material mouldability were made. Within a week Broanmain had commissioned a specialist to


build the prototype Arrow aluminium tooling for the slide with a built-in silicon wafer ATR crystal. As the slide must create a liquid tight seal between the well and ATR element whilst also aligning the optical components accurately, design precision was critical. The Broanmain team also pooled their expertise in overmoulding and material selection for the development of the innovative disposable Arrow slide, opting for an acid resistant 100 per cent recyclable polypropylene combined with elastomer. The result was a single component, cleverly constructed to reduce part count and manufacturing complexity. Specac’s Anthony Gomme comments: “It’s


always our experience that collaboration with a production partner like Broanmain at the earliest stage results in the best product development and speeds up time to market.”


eliminaTing conTaminaTion RiSkS Just like a regular Quest diamond puck, the Arrow’s ultra-thin silicon wafer ATR can be used to analyse forensic, microbiological, food and drink and paint coatings samples. Yet more cost efficiently. Rather than placing samples directly onto the puck, samples can be prepared in batches away from the spectrometry unit and analysed consecutively.


March 2021 Instrumentation Monthly


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