High Demand for Pre-Saturated Wipers
Teknipure has seen a significant increase in pre-saturated wiper orders for a number of reasons, and we are projecting steady growth moving forward. With the amount of orders coming in, our production output is moving at a rapid pace. Although the demand has greatly increased in recent months, we have invested in some positive changes to help keep the momentum going while maintaining the quality of the products manufactured in-house. We are happy to share our ability to fulfill orders timely as production volumes have increased by 50% with the new automation and expanded staff!
We will grow to include a 2nd production shift and 3rd shift for preparation and packaging; essentially doubling our staff for the best possible output. As previously mentioned, we are proceeding with plans to build a 2nd larger cleanroom and that will add more capabilities and additional equipment – we are excited to see this expected enhancement be completed by end of 2020. With the additional room and production staff, we will be able to increase our production volume by 400% once the upgraded operation is up and running smoothly!
In addition to our already expansive product offerings, Teknipure is excited to announce that we will be adding the capability to manufacture pre-saturated disinfectant wipes with the new equipment. Along with these wipes, we will plan to begin offering bottled IPA/DIW & Disinfectants that can be coupled with our dry mops and wipes. The new product lines will complete the current Teknipure items and build more opportunities with our customers. We are looking forward to faster service and a newly expanded offerings list from Teknipure in Q1 2021.
The Development of Vaccines in a Controlled Environment
Developing any kind of medicinal treatment or vaccine requires that the area it is manufactured in is a tightly controlled one. This means that not only the equipment and materials being used need to be controlled, but also the surface areas, supplies, and room need to be maintained accordingly.
All decontamination prevention guidelines must be followed from beginning to end. In manufacturing a vaccine, a highly specialized and established process referred to as “biopharmaceutical manufacturing” is used to ensure the safety and quality of the product. Innovation and enhancements are necessary contributions to evolving science; however, sterility, cleanliness, and consistency remain the most important aspects of manufacturing and testing processes; and assurance that the end user may not be potentially harmed is crucial.
A USP 800 cleanroom is used in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. It is a negative pressure clean room that runs on low pressure, keeping the virus being tested contained within the room as well as preventing organic contamination from coming in. The air pressure must be regularly calibrated to the standard which ensures the pressure does not fall too low, because excessive negative pressure will increase the risks of gaps, allowing contamination to pass inward. This is inverse from traditional positive pressure cleanrooms that are designed to blow contamination outside of the room, but similar contamination control practices are in place.
The two most obvious culprits of contamination come from materials and personnel (that enter and exit the room). As much as these processes attempt to alleviate personnel, hands-on production is still essential. Therefore, all items entering the room should be wiped down after outer packaging is removed, all personnel should be expected to gown up in personal protective gear, such as full body coveralls, shoe covers, hair nets, gloves, and masks to ensure that no outside particles or contaminants enter the room. Inside, surfaces are cleaned regularly with a product that is designed to sanitize and disinfect fully, while equipment is more likely to be autoclaved to confirm proper sterilization.
While there are always medical vaccines that are being developed, there is currently a push for a COVID-19 vaccine within a very short amount of time. Aseptic manufacturing, or “sterile” manufacturing, is the focal point during the fast-tracked development and it is because of that, more than a handful of pharmaceutical companies have pledged that they will not sacrifice the safety of the vaccine for the speed in which it is created and mass produced. Currently, these are being fast-tracked to complete all 4 stages of approval but with enhanced urgency. Although the COVID-19 vaccine has extremely high expectations to be available by the end of 2020, these pharmaceutical companies are also standing by meticulous processes that cannot be negotiated for the obvious reason of safe delivery and administration.
Maintaining the safety and quality of a vaccine is crucial in administering it, this is exactly why medical devices and treatments must be manufactured and tested in controlled environments, sometimes aseptic. In this case, every pharmaceutical company is following strict processes to guarantee that their results are the most accurate as possible and that the vaccine itself has been handled with appropriate and diligent care from beginning to end.
Ultimately, once these companies strongly believe that they have done the best they can to develop a high-functioning product, they must then generate it in high quantities with consistent purity and concentration, and the goal is to do this quickly. However, just as anything else manufactured, it is extremely important to maintain the quality, especially in the case of vaccines being provided for human ingestion. Continuous preventative measures and care in controlled areas will be essential in supporting the ongoing decontamination for the purest vaccine.
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Proper Usage of Cleanroom Wipes
Types of Alcohol (Part 1): Isopropanol
If you say the word ‘alcohol’ in 2020, it’s a good bet that most people in this era of COVID-19 will think of spraying or wiping down items before bringing them into the house. Of course, in the same breath, they might mention their favorite adult beverage as well, seeing as 2020 has been one of those…years. Most of us can identify the scent of alcohol when we smell it, whether it’s the kind we sanitize with – isopropyl, or the kind we imbibe – ethanol. Recently, the third common type of alcohol, methanol, made headlines for being in hand sanitizers, inappropriately taking the place of isopropyl alcohol.
Chemically speaking, alcohol is an organic compound composed of at least one hydroxyl functional group (-OH) bound to a saturated carbon atom. There are dozens of alcohols, and we’ll give some examples of the ones that can be found around us below. The three common types are ethanol, methanol, and isopropyl (IPA). They are monohydric, or carry one -OH. While smell might give primary alcohols away, how they look certainly doesn’t help identify them. At room temperature, most are liquid and colorless, making them look no different than water. This is why it’s vitally important to develop a good habit right now while fighting the novel coronavirus, and label our homemade IPA-based sanitizing solution accurately and clearly. Please be sure to label the bottle in such a way that the isopropyl alcohol won’t get onto the writing and smear the ink, and store it outside of the reach of children.
While methanol, ethanol, and isopropyl flow freely (much like water) and have a distinctive smell, higher alcohols with 4 to 10 carbon atoms are thicker, have a feel reminiscent of oil, and have an even stronger smell; 12 or more carbon atoms, and there’s a good chance the alcohol is solid at room temperature. From the chemistry perspective, alcohols can get very involved, with how they are named, bonds in the more complex molecules, melting and boiling points, density, solubility, and other physical properties.
For our purposes, we’re going to continue to share information about the three common alcohols, and where some of the others are (maybe without you even realizing they are there). In this month’s article in the ‘Types of Alcohol’ series, we’re diving (figuratively speaking) into isopropanol (IPA).
Isopropanol (Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), “Rubbing Alcohol”)
Not only is this alcohol – made of water and propylene – commonly used in the medical field for disinfection and sanitization, but it is also used on patients’ skin to cool them and an antiseptic too. Due to its use in combination with the analgesic methyl salicylate as a massage liniment in the 1920s, IPA has been dubbed “rubbing alcohol”, and when referencing it this way now, usually the 70% concentration is what’s in mind since it is the most widely available. Calling IPA “rubbing alcohol” was also an attempt during Prohibition to clarify the purpose of it, however, by 1925, some Americans unwisely began drinking it, as they were fed up with the law (and perhaps wasn’t aware that alcohol for drinking was relatively easy to find, especially considering what Prohibition was supposed to do).
Because IPA is so widely available (well, before COVID-19 hit anyway – it will be again someday though), bad-tasting additives are included to, hopefully, discourage consumption by less…finicky, shall we say…drinkers. Methyl salicylate (wintergreen oil) can be found in 70% IPA preparations, which gives the alcohol a somewhat more pleasant scent, turns the liquid green, and offers protection against accidental ingestion (should someone neglect to verify the identity of the liquid). It has a fast, high rate of evaporation, making it a perfect choice to clean electronics and to add to cosmetics so they dry on the skin faster.
While some believe just spraying their hands with commercially-available 91% or 99% IPA will obliterate the novel coronavirus, in actuality, this alcohol evaporates at such a high rate that some water is needed to slow down that process, and allow enough contact with potentially infected surfaces to kill the virus. The CDC has provided guidance that a 70% IPA 30% water preparation works the best for sanitizing spray to kill the virus. Plus, if you were to spray IPA at over 90% on your hands more than a scant few times, your skin would get extremely dry and uncomfortable, and if not treated, the dryness would lead to skin cracks, which would allow germs, bacteria, and viruses into your body. When shopping for hand sanitizers in stores, even if you’re looking at buying a product you have before or a new brand, please read the ingredients so you can be sure it is at least 70% IPA. So many brands are rushing to get their piece of the sales from COVID-19 necessities and meet market demand, and when comparing the different options in stores, we found the concentration varied between 60% and 78% or higher.
Our TekniSat Wipes are correctly saturated – lightly – with isopropyl alcohol to maximize contaminant attraction and eliminate static. Whether you need to clean and wipe down a general area, clean in preparation for critical processes, or clean equipment, IPA blended with distilled water to 9-10% or 70%, or 100% IPA, are perfect for those applications, respectively.
Next month, we’ll look at the other two common alcohols and some of their uses.
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