The WASHtAK is set to revolutionise current clinical washing practices
A plastic washing monitor designed and manufactured in the UK is set to drive up standards of cleanliness in hospitals throughout Europe.
Designed by Bristol-based ‘BioTAK’ and manufactured by Birmingham-based Andel Plastics, the new ‘WASHtAK’ product has launched to market after six years of research, design and investment.
The product is an enzyme-based wash indicator technology housed within an injection-moulded plastic holder designed for submersion in a clinical wash along with surgical instruments contaminated with blood or other residues after use in medical environments.
Currently, there is no quantifiable way of ensuring the instruments are completely clean after washing. The WASHtAK has been created to provide a clear and immediate indication based on the number of enzymes left on its test strip as to whether a wash has been successful.
As handling of the enzyme strip can lead to contamination and inaccuracies, the WASHtAK needed an appropriate ‘casing’ that would protect it during the wash and analysis phases.
The design for an appropriate case for the product underwent several iterations, with revisions made to keep both the tooling and end product cost effective.
The result was to make two halves of a moulding, with integral clipping features and a place for the enzyme coated strip to sit safely, whilst still sitting freely in the wash, but without risk of contamination by being touched.
After a prototype tool was manufactured the product was tested by the Health Protection Agency by assembling small batch runs, which provided the necessary feedback for alterations before Andel Plastics manufactured a final production tool.
"The product has always excited me and it's so good to see a product go from concept, through all the testing and tweaking, into full production. It's a really simple clever device that will solve a complex issue,” commented Graham Robinson, Techical Director at Andel Plastics, who worked on the design of the WASHtAK.
The first major production runs of the product have now been completed ready for launch trials with the NHS and European Hospitals.
Joanne Harmer of BIOtAK said the whole aim of the WASHtAK is “to give accurate, quantifiable results, straight after the wash, driving up standards and driving down costs for the NHS and other healthcare operators.”
Andel Plastics, who will manufacture the WASHtAK, secured match funding for a Class-8 cleanroom in order to assemble the enzyme strip into the plastic holder.
The plan is now to enhance the range of products for decontamination, with components designed by BioTAK and manufactured by Andel Plastics.
The WASHtAK has taken six years to research, develop and bring to market