For bioprocessing and aseptic applications, TPE tubing is used to connect process devices to each other. In certain circumstances, it may be necessary to separate these devices. An aseptic disconnection is then carried out at the tubing. In order to ensure this disconnection, a tube disconnector is required. GE Healthcare, currently Cytiva, designs this type of device. Focus on this equipment allowing the disconnection of thermoplastic tubes.
GE Healthcare-Cytiva’s TPE Tube Disconnector
The GE Healthcare-Cytiva Tube Disconnector is a fully automated equipment. It has been specifically designed to allow the sealing of harvesting, feeding and sampling TPE tubing connected to bags or other containers for transport or storage. The main uses of the disconnector are in aseptic and bioprocessing applications.
Cytiva’s Hot Lips tube sealer, for example, is pre-programmed for many brands of tubes. Its operation prevents leakage of fluids such as inoculum, products, media and buffers through tubes, clamps and caps.
Cytiva’s Hot Lips are used to permanently seal tubing. The process involves clamping the inserted tube between two heated jaws. Once melted, the tube is pressed and then cooled under high pressure, resulting in a permanent, leak-proof butt joint.
Programs can be selected to seal all types of thermoplastic tubing in all sizes (from 6.4 to 31.8 mm OD), empty or filled and without adapters. The disconnector is equipped with a tamper-evident and watertight closure to secure the tubes from bags, bottles and other containers.
GE Healthcare-Cytiva Disconnect Operation Steps
The operating process of disconnecting tubes from the Cytiva Hot Lips is as follows:
Step 1: The jaws are retracted by the machine which advances them to the starting position. The previous parameters, tube type and diameter are displayed on the screen. The successful completion of the machine initialization is indicated by a beep. The information on the correct positioning is provided by the device through encoders and position sensors.
Step 2: Once the tube is inserted into the jaws, the device closes the jaws. Before the jaws reach the final position, depending on the predefined tube thickness, the cycle start button is released.
Step 3: If the jaws are in the right position, the machine starts heating them. Their temperature is preset according to the type and thickness of the TPE tube wall.
Step 4: The preset temperature level is maintained for the time that has also been preset to seal the tube. Once the time is up, the fans cool the tube.
Step 5: The temperature to cool the tube is preset to a level that is safe for the operator. A beep is then emitted by the device at the end of the tube cooling cycle. The jaws then retract. To reset the device, a simple press of the start button is sufficient.
The GE Healthcare-Cytiva tube disconnector is lightweight. It can therefore be carried and used anywhere in the plant or laboratory. Its motor is microprocessor controlled for repeatable performance.