Flipper valve technology from Bürkert comes top in tests

Performs anti-blocking operation for KBioscience dosing machine

Bürkert’s new Type 6650 miniature solenoid valve, with its patented flipper technology, has proved to be a winner for KBioscience, a UK life sciences company that has developed the Meridian automated dosing machine to improve performance, reliability and operating life in the genotyping pipeline.

6650 miniature solenoid valve prevents blockages

Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire-based KBioscience provides SNP/InDel genotyping services and supplies consumables, such as reagent kits to the pharmaceutical and life sciences. The firm developed the Meridian because it was dissatisfied with the reliability and performance of existing equipment.

Sean Scotcher, head of projects at KBioscience, said: ‘The major problem with the old machine was clogging of the dosing heads that performed the dispensing of reagents. The clogging agent was salts, which built up in the miniature bore size valves used to perform the dosing operation, causing them to block completely.’

To prevent the same problem occurring on the Meridian machine, KBioscience tested all leading makes of miniature solenoid valves on the market. The project ran for some months and the product found to be least prone to blockage was Bürkert’s 6650 miniature solenoid valve.

‘This factor was instrumental in our specifying the Type 6650 on our machine; although we also liked the valve’s 4.5mm pitch, which allows us to pack the valves together tightly – exactly what’s needed on space-constricted dosing heads,’ said Scotcher.

The Type 6650 valve has been designed specifically for use in clinical, life science, analytical and fluid handling equipment. It therefore differs significantly from general-purpose miniature solenoid valves, not least owing to its patented flipper technology. This employs an elastomer element that moves between two opposite valve seats under the force of permanent magnets fixed to the flipper element; opening one as it closes the other. Only a temporary pulse is required for this operation, so the 6650 is characterised by its short response time. It also provides benefits in terms of reliability and low levels of wear.

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Burkert Fluid Control Systems (more information, website)