DON WHITLEY SCIENTIFIC – THE LEADING INTERNATIONAL SUPPLIER TO THE MICROBIOLOGY AND TISSUE CULTURE INDUSTRIES


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Archive for June, 2018

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How to choose an Anaerobic Workstation

In this exclusive interview with rapidmicrobiology.com, Dr. Andrew Pridmore, Head of Microbiology at Don Whitley Scientific, discusses the benefits of using an anaerobic workstation over traditional gas jars. Andrew explains what to look for when choosing a system and how the new Whitley A135 HEPA can deliver efficient, cost effective anaerobic incubation conditions for routine and research laboratories.

What are the benefits of using a modified atmosphere workstation over gas jars?
Anaerobic jars can be prone to leaks and, therefore, may not always provide strictly anaerobic conditions. They also require a large volume of incubator space and become expensive to operate in laboratories with a high anaerobic workload. Most importantly, culture plates in anaerobic jars cannot be inspected during incubation; anaerobic conditions must be interrupted to read the plates. This results in a loss of bacterial viability if plates need to be reincubated or when subcultures need to be made for further investigation.

In comparison with jars, anaerobic workstations offer more precise and reliable atmospheric control, more stringent anaerobic conditions and consistent low running costs. Perhaps their greatest advantage is that culture plates can be inspected at any time without disturbing the incubation conditions. In clinical laboratories, this facility has been proven to increase the isolation rate of anaerobic pathogens and also provides the earliest possible indication of their presence in a patient’s sample.

What key factors should a lab consider when choosing the right workstation for their lab?

One of the first considerations is usually what size of workstation is appropriate for a laboratory’s requirements. In the case of Whitley Workstations, a range of capacities is available from 250 to 1400 petri dishes. However, it is not just size but also layout and useable space that makes a controlled atmosphere workstation truly efficient. At DWS, we believe that combining the working and incubation area (so that the whole interior is at incubation temperature) is the best way to maximize useful capacity.

Also high on the list of desirable features is rapid entry to and egress from the interior – both for operators and for samples or culture plates. A workstation with convenient rapid access encourages the transfer of plates to anaerobic conditions immediately after inoculation; this reduces the degree of oxygen exposure experienced by plates and this maximizes recovery of fastidious anaerobes. Better still, samples can be transferred into the workstation and plates inoculated within the anaerobic environment.

To ensure optimal results and aid compliance with laboratory quality standards such as ISO 17025, it is essential that anaerobic incubation conditions can be verified, for example by use of appropriate biological or chemical indicators. Modern anaerobic workstations can automate this process by continuously recording critical environmental parameters such as oxygen concentration, temperature and humidity in real time. In Whitley Workstations, the activity of the palladium catalyst responsible for removing trace levels of oxygen can also be regularly checked and recorded.

 

A135 Anaerobic Workstation

The Whitley A135 Anaerobic Workstation is the tallest, deepest and widest anaerobic workstation available

 

In the DWS range, what functions can be accessed remotely?
The latest Whitley workstations are controlled via a touch screen interface. This provides various “intelligent” functions and includes a network connection as standard. Any parameter that is controlled by the touchscreen can also be accessed remotely. These include graphical records of oxygen concentration, temperature, humidity, gas pressures and catalyst activity, each of which can be monitored remotely via a networked computing device.

DWS have recently introduced a new model – the Whitley A135 HEPA, what new features does this model offer?

The Whitley A135 HEPA is a tall, wide, deep anaerobic workstation fitted with the unique Whitley Internal HEPA Filtration System. It provides excellent conditions for the processing, incubation and examination of samples without exposure to atmospheric oxygen. With a usable internal volume of 560 litres, a variety of equipment can be accommodated within the chamber. As well as providing ideal conditions for anaerobic studies, this workstation operates from two gas supplies for the most cost-effective running conditions.

• The built-in rapid airlock ensures samples can be transferred into the workstation atmosphere as soon as possible (takes only 60 seconds)

• Fitted with the unique Whitley Internal HEPA Filtration System. All the atmosphere passes through the filter hundreds of times an hour, which ensures the chamber environment is cleaned quickly.

 DWS filters are located inside the workstation, which prevents the filter becoming saturated with moisture and rendered ineffective.

 Levels of atmospheric cleanliness inside the workstation exceed the requirements of ISO 14644 Class 3. Proof of atmospheric cleanliness can be provided on request.

 Fitted with a removable front to facilitate thorough cleaning, easy replacement of the HEPA filter, and the transfer of bulk samples and larger pieces of equipment for use in the workstation.

 The internal atmosphere is circulated continuously – contributing to even temperature distribution and ensuring internal particulate will be in motion before capture by the filter.

 Fully integrated gas control avoids bulky add-on systems – reduces the need for additional bench space.

 A colour, touch-screen control panel for ease of use and for visual display of parameters such as temperature, humidity, and airlock cycle status.

 Includes an automatic commissioning cycle to save you time and resources.

 Options include an integrated Anaerobic Conditions Monitor with data download facility.

DWS have many years’ experience with anaerobic workstations – what are the most common applications?
The main application for anaerobic workstations is routine clinical microbiology (hospital labs) but we have customers using them in a wide variety of work conducted by universities, including dental, veterinary, gut modelling research, preparation of faecal transplant material and the determination of the efficiency of cleaning agents. We even have a customer who uses an anaerobic workstation for soil research and a commercial enterprise in the oil industry researching bacteria that damage pipelines.


 Click here for more information on the Whitley A135 HEPA Workstation


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Dr Andrew Pridmore is Head of Microbiology at Don Whitley Scientific.

Dr Pridmore has many years’ experience of running the GLP-compliant, contract microbiology laboratories at DWS where Whitley Workstations are routinely used.


 

Old vs New Workstation

Don Whitley Scientific says goodbye to its home of the last 35 years

As Don Whitley Scientific (DWS) leaves its Shipley premises to move to a new manufacturing facility in Bingley, we look back on how the company has changed in the last 35 years.

The company moved to 14 Otley Road, Shipley in 1982. With nine employees at that time, the building seemed to be far larger than was actually needed. However, the space allowed DWS to re-organise and expand at a consistent rate over the next few years and enabled us to overcome the obstacles of a worldwide economic recession.

Subsidiaries and Distributors

New Meintrup-DWS BuildingIn 1992, our first subsidiary was opened in Australia to provide a central hub for sales in the Far East and Australasia. In 1998, the second subsidiary was created in Germany. Meintrup DWS Laborgeräte now employs 15 people and in 2016 opened newly built headquarters with adjacent warehouse, which will provide the potential to expand. The move seems to be proving successful because in 2017, Meintrup DWS was awarded “Best Distributor” in recognition of their status as our current top selling distributor.

During this time, DWS began to further expand its export markets by establishing a network of distributors such as Microbiology International in the USA. We now have over 50 distributors around the world.

In 1992, DWS started working with AES Laboratoire (now part of BioMérieux) to sell media and sample preparation equipment in the UK. This relationship has also stood the test of time and we still sell many of those same product lines today. We also now sell goods in the UK on behalf of Synoptics, Tuttnauer and Ebers Medical.

As clinical laboratories saw more and more need for automation, DWS began working with Copan Italia in 2010 to sell the Walk-Away Specimen Processor in the UK. There are now two full WASPLab installations with others in the pipeline and several WASP front end systems throughout the country. We will continue to move forward with Copan as their interests expand into other markets.

Growth and Diversification

In 1991 DWS opened a suite of laboratories that offered contract research and sample analysis. This service has not only been a revenue stream in its own right but has been invaluable in assisting with the research and development of new products over the years.

Another facility that has generated income for the company is the machine shop. In 2012, substantial investment in new tooling automation and CAD capabilities allowed this department to not only create additional parts and components for the Whitley range in-house, but also to provide a sub-contract engineering/design service.

Harry in ProductionEmployees for the Future

In an effort to encourage young people to take up careers in engineering and to ensure we have future employees with a good standard of training, we set up the DWS Apprenticeship Scheme in 2010. We currently have eight apprentices – with our first female engineering apprentice joining us in July. Several apprentices have recently completed their training and all have been retained on permanent contracts.

Family Values

Don Whitley Scientific is an independent, family-owned company that now employs over 70 people. The structure, ethos and culture of the organisation extends this family orientation to its employees. We now have three families in the business that have three or more members employed. There are lots of other family relationships too: mother and daughter, mother and son, husband and wife.

The World is our Oyster

We have now manufactured over 4,000 Whitley Workstations, which have been exported all over the world – from the USA to China, from Brazil to Norway. The additional manufacturing capacity that the new Bingley premises affords us can only help our expansion plans. It provides us with the opportunity to improve the processes and procedures that have so far contributed to this success story.

And here’s to the next 35 years!

Whitley A95 Workstation for Jin Sung on final test

End of an Era for Don Whitley Scientific

Production comes to a close in Shipley

The last Whitley Workstation to be manufactured by Don Whitley Scientific in Shipley has now rolled off the production line. This particular order was an A95 Anaerobic Workstation ordered by Jin Sung Unitech, Republic of Korea.

JS Unitech LogoAccording to Junghoon Hong of Jin Sung, “We had no idea that in placing this order, we would be commissioning the last ever workstation to be built at Don Whitley Scientific in Shipley. We have been distributing Whitley Workstations for 19 years and are very proud to have ordered the last one from the Shipley production line.”

Paul Walton added, “I am extremely happy that we are moving to bigger and better premises that will provide the opportunity to improve our production processes. Victoria Works will provide considerably more warehousing capacity plus new offices, a bespoke production area, service centre, R&D mezzanine and improved staff facilities including a large, fully fitted, air-conditioned canteen. There will also be a new product showroom where customers can view demonstrations of the latest anaerobic and hypoxic workstation technology.

“An element of nostalgia is, however, creeping in as we draw close to the move date. We have been manufacturing in  Shipley for over 40 years and I have seen many changes in those four decades. We will, however, focus on the positives and move the business forward to face the challenges of the next 40 years!”

When Don Whitley Scientific began making workstations, it was purely for the UK market. We now have over 4,000 workstations in over 50 countries.

It might be the end of one era but another, exciting one begins at our new premises in Bingley.

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Managing Director speaks to local radio

Paul Walton, Managing Director of Don Whitley Scientific, recently spoke to local radio station Bradford Community Broadcasting. He was interviewed on the “About Bradford” programme, which highlights developments in the Bradford area. He spent time discussing the reasons why we are moving premises and the advantages it will provide to our different departments. Paul also mentioned how as a company we are expanding, both in scale and in terms of the number of people we employ, confirming the apprentice scheme will continue to recruit future full time employees for the company.

Click the play button below to listen to the interview in full