compiled by Angela Godwin
Trade-In Program for the MFC & MFT HART communicators
Meriam Process Technologies has announced a new trade-in program available on its MFC and MFT HART communication products. The competitive but obsolete Rosemont 275 is no longer available on the market but customers wanting to trade in this old unit for a Meriam product are eligible for a 20 percent savings on the base price of the Meriam unit. The MFT 4010 is a multifunctional calibrator with full HART digital communications capability. It can be used to measure pressure or differential pressure; to source or measure temperature; to source or measure voltage or current; to calibrate field devices; and to document the performance of field devices. The MFC 4100 is a full function HART communicator that offers several unique features such as over 20 hours of continuous battery life, quick start-up and connect, quick menu for commonly used commands, a full alphanumeric keypad and the ability to review and edit on the fly. For more information, call Meriam Process technologies at (216) 281-1100.
White Paper outlines significance of training control in ISO and FDA environments
Training control is historically one of the top 10 problem areas that cause Form FDA-483 citations. Life sciences personnel are required to undergo continuous training in GxP regulations, and FDA investigators typically review employee competency whenever a deviation is observed during inspection. Companies certified to ISO 9001:2000 have similar training requirements to ensure that employees know how to perform their duties within company and industry guidelines. A new white paper from MasterControl discusses the most common obstacles in training management, such as tracking and implementing training, and different training approaches. For more information, visit www.mastercontrol.com.
Three new tests for speciation of TOC in ultrapure water
Balazs Analytical Services, a division of Air Liquide Electronics U.S. LP, has announced three new tests for total oxidizable carbon (TOC) speciation in ultrapure water (UPW). The tests-for urea, resin amines (trimethylamine and tetramethylammonium) and organic acids-allow for greater understanding of TOC contributors.
Commonly, TOC is tested in UPW systems using on-line monitors. However, results can be inconclusive concerning the specific compounds contributing to TOC levels. Speciation of organic molecules is beneficial because urea, resin amines and organic acids affect semiconductor processes at different contamination levels. The results of these tests allow system engineers to take specific actions to reduce TOC and keep the UPW system in control.
Typical fab systems cannot remove urea from UPW or cleanroom air humidified with contaminated water. Each molecule of urea has the potential to travel to the wafer environment and generate two molecules of ammonia. The ammonia can then interfere with acid-catalyzed photoresist and cause T-topping and CD (critical dimension) shifts.
As bases, resin amines can also interfere with acid-catalyzed photoresist. Anion exchange resin is the most significant source of resin amines, followed by tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) occurring in reclaim water.
Speciation of TOC indicating increased levels of organic acids provides assurance that something more serious is not going on with a UPW system. Generally, processes can tolerate higher levels of TOC when organic acids, including acetate, formate, glycolate, lactate, propionate, pyruvate, butyrate, malate, tartrate, oxalate, and citrate, are the source.
TOC speciation testing is offered though Balazs’s ISO 17025 certified laboratories and is available to customers worldwide.
For further information, please visit www.airliquide.com.
Health Canada approves technology from Pall
Pall Corporation recently announced that Health Canada granted it clearance to market the AcrodoseTM PL System. The new system gives blood centers the ability to pool and store whole blood-derived platelets and conduct a single bacterial detection test that enhances patient safety and increases platelet availability. The resulting AcrodoseSM Platelet provides hospitals with a transfusion-ready product that is safer than currently available whole blood-derived platelets. It also reduces the cost burden to hospitals by eliminating the need for additional processing and testing.
Adequate availability of safe platelets is a fundamental blood transfusion challenge. There is a disparity in the level of safety that currently exists between platelets that are derived from a one- to two-hour procedure called apheresis (single donor) or from standard whole-blood collections. The Acrodose PL System eliminates the safety and availability disparity by providing a cost-effective way to test all types of platelets for bacterial contamination using a highly sensitive culture-based test. Bacterial contamination of platelets is the leading infectious cause of sickness and death from a blood transfusion.
There are approximately 130,000 platelet transfusions performed annually in Canada and another 2.1 million platelet transfusions annually in the United States. Health Canada is the federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health. As part of its mission, it regulates and approves the use of thousands of products including biologics, medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
For more information, visit www.pall.com.
Produce Safety & Security International (PDSC) responds to industry’s concern
The fresh produce industry’s concern over recent outbreaks of E. coli H157 virus have prompted Produce Safety and Security International, Inc. (PDSC), an ozone and chemical sanitation disinfectant process supplier to the food and medical industries, to provide further information concerning its FDA approved Ozone Process.
PDSC first brings the product into the facility for processing with its proprietary ozone procedure. Each lot is chemically tested for E. coli H157, Salmonella and Listeria. PDSC provides complete checks and balances, with the ability to monitor the fresh produce all through the food chain providing an audit trail for food illness outbreaks in the chain.
PDSC’s systems consist of unique machines that deliver high-pressure cold water and ozonated cold water in a dual stream. A technician can simultaneously clean and sanitize in a single application with considerable benefits, such as reduced energy and water comsumption, and elimination of the use of traditional sanitizers.
With ozone technology’s effective, no-rinse solutions, supermarkets can take advantage of many of the same cleaning and sanitation benefits experienced by food processing companies. The ozone process, which meets the regulations of the FDA, USDA, HACCP and APHIS, can be used at the retail level in each produce section of the store.
Cardinal Health acquires medical analytics firm
Cardinal Health (Dublin, Ohio; www.cardinalhealth.com), a leading provider of products and services supporting the healthcare industry, has announced the acquisition of privately held MedMined, Inc. (Birmingham, Ala.; www.medmined.com), a leader in technology and services that identify and prevent hospital-acquired infections.
Hospital-acquired infections directly affect patient outcomes and are estimated to cost the healthcare industry billions of dollars each year. Using patented data-mining methods to analyze real time clinical data, MedMined helps identify specific opportunities to manage infections and change processes to prevent future infections. The data may also be used to efficiently report infection rates, enabling hospitals to provide the public with meaningful information from which to make comparisons.
MedMined services are currently used in approximately 185 hospitals in more than 25 states and are made available to local hospitals for quality initiatives through Blue Cross Blue Shield in six states: Alabama, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Texas.
The acquisition will immediately extend Cardinal Health’s portfolio of patient safety solutions in the areas of hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial management. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Semi R&D spending exceeds $30 billion per year
Information derived using company profile information found in IC Insights’ newly revised Strategic Reviews Online database showed that total R&D spending by semiconductor companies exceeded $30 billion in 2005, an increase of nearly 10 percent from 2004. Overall, research and development spending by all semiconductor companies worldwide grew at an annual average rate of 9 percent between 2001 and 2005. The world’s 30 largest fabless semiconductor suppliers increased their R&D expenditures at double that rate during the first half of this decade. Among the top 25 integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), IC Insights’ analysis showed Intel’s R&D expenditures were $22.1 billion between 2001 and 2005, about $10 billion more than any other semiconductor company. Intel’s R&D spending accounted for 26 percent of total R&D money spent by the top 25 IDMs that manufacture products and break out semiconductor financial results, along with research and development costs. While Intel’s R&D expenditures dominated the semiconductor industry, the company’s five-year average rate of spending, based on a percentage of sales, was just 14 percent. In the past five years, the top 25 IC manufacturers averaged 16 percent of sales for R&D expenditures. The R&D spending level for the top 30 fabless suppliers was 17 percent of sales based on the analysis from the Strategic Reviews Online database. For more information about the online database, contact IC Insights at (480) 348-1133 or [email protected], or visit www.icinsights.com.