Alphacos offers new guard against needle-stick injuries

By Peter Mansell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hypodermic needle

Swiss packaging-machine manufacturer Alphacos has launched a new
product to help protect healthcare workers using pre-filled
syringes against needlestick injuries.

By assembling the syringes into safety devices that shield the needle after use, the Type 211 machine addresses the growing and potentially very risky problem of needlestick injuries. According to the Department of Labor, some 800,000 of these injuries are sustained each year in the US alone, with around 2 per cent of cases likely to involve needles contaminated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). As Alphacos spokesman Laurent Veuillet pointed out, in that country it is now compulsory to equip prefilled syringes with safety guards. Where Alphacos claims an advantage over its competitors in this field, such as Italy's Marchesini Group, is in the Type 211 machine's speed, smooth operation and adaptability. The model can accommodate all marketed safety devices and offers quick, easy size changeovers. Moreover, Veuillet notes, it does not break the devices. A continuous-motion, single-belt transport system provides "smooth, precise and efficient handling combined with quiet operation". According to Alphacos, the Type 211 machine can achieve an output of roughly 350 assemblies a minute. A video control system checks the syringes are correctly fitted with safety devices and automatically rejects any defective assemblies, while a touch-screen operator-interface terminal with intuitive graphic displays facilitates operator training and helps to ensure the system operates with maximum efficiency. Users may also add a module for the assembly of back-stops - a form of tamper-proof seal that shows the syringe has never been used before. The Type 211 machine is priced at around €370,000, although this will vary according to the options available. Veuillet said the price was very close to that of Alphacos' competitors.

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