A Spring Manufacturer’s Collaboration in a COVID-Specific Medical Application

Battling COVID-19 One Spring at a Time

The news came as a shock to businesses of all sizes and specialties. Here in Pennsylvania, on Thursday, March 19th, 2020 – just hours after business closing time – operations were ordered to cease. For sure, a familiar story to many. We were left wondering how a business like ours could not be considered essential, as we manufacture springs for critical life-saving devices. Vulcan Spring was about to learn just how important some of our springs are. Fighting to keep the doors open – we received an exemption within 24 hours. Shortly after, a call came from Avidien Technologies. It was time to, no pun intended, test our mettle.

Vulcan Spring has long been a key supplier to many critical medical device, equipment, and component manufacturers, so supporting Avidien was something our experience had prepared us for. What was not common was the expedited time to deliver an optimal part to meet Avidien’s requirements, but solving complex spring challenges is what we live for. Vulcan had the opportunity to collaborate with Avidien on their microPro 300 benchtop 96 channel semi-automated pipettor. It was clear early on the use of this important instrument was going to increase significantly and FAST!

Vulcan’s expertise involves manufacturing custom springs and engineering solutions. Vulcan was tasked with optimizing the product’s function to improve both the instrument’s efficiency and provide rapid response. Avidien specializes in creating products that are simple to use while solving complicated problems in scientific laboratory settings like pipetting errors and repetitive strain injury to achieve greater efficiency.

Avidien Technologies explained, “These instruments are essentially responsible for a wide range of liquid handling tasks that are part of scientific research and diagnostics.” Our Conforce® constant force springs have been a component of Avidien’s microPro 300 pipettor for the past two years now, acting as a counterbalance, allowing the head of Avidien’s instrument to move up and down effortlessly. Specifically, over the last year, as a direct response to COVID, there was a demand to increase the instrument’s longevity due to extraordinarily high usage. Thus, Vulcan was challenged to develop springs with a longer life cycle that would then be incorporated into the microPro 300 – and we met the challenge – designing and manufacturing constant force springs that deliver up to 100,000 cycles.

The pandemic has been an immense challenge for everyone. However, our contribution to a project such as this, that has helped save lives, is extremely gratifying.

Avidien Technologies Director of Sales and Marketing, Andrew Langlois stated that “In general, it is very rewarding to have customers all over the world involved in research, drug discovery/development, vaccine development, and clinical diagnostics.”

Vulcan’s lead Technical Sales Engineer on the project, Cameron Mitchell added, “Working with Avidien’s team and seeing their passion for the project was a pleasure. Knowing the potential impact this piece of equipment has to combat COVID and being able to provide expertise on how our springs will provide a positive impact, was a privilege.”

“It was very helpful that we had a great existing working relationship with Vulcan Spring, and when the need arose for a modified version, we were able to create a working prototype quickly,” said Langlois.

Serving the medical industry for over 50 years, our ISO 13485 team has the passion to support the success of medical devices and healthcare applications. In the grand scheme, our springs are a small, but critical component to the functionality of these lifesaving applications. At Vulcan, we love innovation and going Beyond the Spring™.

By Laura Jean Null

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