During the fall of 2014, we received requests from a couple of large, single-use technology (SUT) system integrators asking whether we could develop a new tube clamp for their SUT assemblies and skids. There were several motivating factors behind these requests. As bioreactor skids became larger and larger (with thousand-liter and larger SUT containers), technicians had increasing difficulties assembling current clamps onto tubing. In some cases, technicians were lying on their stomachs and reaching under the bioreactors trying to install clamps. In other cases, they were standing on tall ladders or platforms reaching across the tank and container to access tubing.
After discussing the technicians’ needs in more detail, we came away with a list of challenging requirements for a potential new product. The number-one desire was for a clamp that can be easily opened and closed using just one hand. This would simplify assembly while technicians reach into the center of skids to get to installation points. There were also numerous standard specifications, including the following: