East Hills, NY (January 26, 2005) - - The Palltronic® Compact Star from Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) is a new fully automated, portable and easy-to-use filter integrity test device designed to help ensure consistent wine quality from batch to batch. The test enables wine manufacturers to protect their brand through preventative quality control and rapid diagnosis. The Palltronic Compact Star device provides a simple, fast and accurate check of the integrity of the membrane filters used in wine processing, to eliminate the risk of microbial contamination prior to bottling, in a completely automated, reliable and operator-friendly system.
"Consistent product quality, including color, taste and aroma, is essential to establishing and maintaining a successful wine brand," says Nicole Madrid, General Sales Manager, Wine & Spirits, Pall Food & Beverage. "The Palltronic Compact Star device eliminates variability of test results which can occur with manual systems, allowing wine manufacturers to easily monitor filter integrity to ensure the quality of their final product."
The Palltronic Compact Star device performs a Pressure Hold test, a non-destructive method that measures pressure decay over a period of time. The test involves automatically pressurizing the filter housing at a predetermined level, allowing the pressure to stabilize. The device then takes the test measurement and depressurizes the assembly through the vent valve.
Both test progress and results with an explicit 'Pass' or 'Fail' indication are displayed visually so all information is available at a glance. The results are automatically saved in the memory and a printout can be generated quickly and easily for analysis and process documentation. Up to 250 test programs and 1,000 test results can be stored or downloaded to a computer.
The Palltronic Compact Star device also offers numerous flexible features including five operating languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and measuring units to choose from. The device is small, lightweight, portable and battery-operated.
In addition to the wine industry, the new device can be applied to test filter integrity in a broad range of food and beverage applications including beer, spirits, soft drinks, and ingredient processing.
About Pall Corporation Pall Corporation is the global leader in the rapidly growing field of filtration, separations and purification. Pall's business is organized around two broad markets: Life Sciences and Industrial. The Company provides leading-edge products to meet the demanding needs of customers in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, transfusion medicine, semiconductors, water purification, aerospace and broad industrial markets. Total revenues are $1.8 billion. The Company headquarters are in East Hills, New York with extensive operations throughout the world. Visit Pall at http://www.pall.com/.
The Palltronic Compact Star device will be featured at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, Pall booth # 1200-1204, at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1401 K Street, Sacramento, CA 95814, from Wednesday 1/26 to Thursday 1/27, 2005.
1. How long does it take to do a pressure decay test with Compact Star?
Once initiated a typical test takes 20 minutes and is performed in 2 phases:
Phase 1: Stabilization period: 10 minutes The unit pressurizes itself and stabilizes at the test pressure
Phase 2: Test period: 10 minutes The unit carries out a pressure decay test
The test time can be shortened to 10 minutes if necessary (5 min stabilization time, 5 minute test time).
2. How accurate are the results of the pressure decay test compared to other integrity test methods?
The pressure decay test, the forward flow test and the bubble point test are all based on the same physics: The flow of gas through the pores of a wetted filter. The difference is the point along the pressure vs. flow curve. The pressure decay and the forward flow test examine the filter during the diffusive flow portion of the curve while the bubble point measures the point at which there is a transition from diffusive flow to bulk flow. The pressure decay and the forward flow test are more accurate tests given that they measure actual pressure loss and flow. The bubble point is more controversial as it is sometimes difficult to differentiate bubbles from diffusive flow vs. a steady stream of bubbles (especially in large multi-round assemblies).
3. Why are other integrity test methods more expensive?
The Compact Star was developed as a user friendly, reliable and economical way to integrity test liquid membrane filters in the Food & Beverage industry. The Compact Star unit performs a pressure decay test with results that can be stored, transferred to and from a PC or printed for documentation purposes.
Other Pall automated integrity test devices were developed for the bio-pharmaceutical industry where documentation is more critical. In addition to the pressure decay test, these other units can be used to perform multiple types of integrity tests including bubble point, forward flow and water for intrusion tests on hydrophobic filters. These test units provide and graph real time forward flow.
4. Can I relate a pressure hold value to a forward flow value?
Yes. The Compact Star unit actually measures and provides the pressure decay value, however it is related to a forward flow value. Through a mathematical algorithm, the forward flow can be calculated from the pressure decay value.
5. What would it take to use the Compact Star to integrity test hydrophobic membrane filters?
The hydrophobic filter would have to be fully wetted out with alcohol or an alcohol/water solution in order to perform a pressure decay test with the compact Star. After testing prior to use in an air/vent application the filter would have to be dried.
6. What if I get a false positive due to operator error?
With the Compact Star, false positives are rare and would only occur if the wrong program was initiated. However, the test result printout should catch this. The documentation provides the program parameters. False test results are more common among manual integrity tests ( eg. mistaken test values, wrong test gas or wetting fluid, etc.)
7. How sensitive is the test to operator inexperience?
The Compact star is reliable and easy to use. Programs are initiated via the keypad pad or selected from the unit?s memory. Once initiated the test is completely automated. No operator assistance is required. Once the test is complete the operator will be notified on the screen or via a printout if the printer option is on.
8. What do I need to know about my filter in order to integrity test it with compact Star?
To perform a test the following information is mandatory: Test program name, Test Pressure, Stabilization time, Test time, Max allowable pressure decay (See the attached page on Information Required for determining the pressure decay values.)
9. How big of a housing can I integrity test?
The Compact Star can be used to integrity test a wide range of assemblies from capsules to multi-round assemblies. The pressure range for the unit is from 0.7 to 87 psi. However, realistically integrity tests are practical for 18 around assemblies or smaller.
10. What are the margins of error of the Compact Star test results?
The results are displayed with 1 mbar resolution. The accuracy is 0.5% FS (FS= 6000 mbar).
11. Why should I integrity test a disposable filter which I only use once?
To ensure that the filter was installed properly and not damaged during shipping/installation and/or handling.
12. If a filter passes using water, will it pass on my fluid?
No. The wetting fluid is critical when performing a pressure decay test. The test can vary due to the surface tension of the fluid, the test gas and the test temperature. A new program must be generated if these items change.
. 13. If I test an entire housing, and one filter is not integral, will I see this on my integrity test results?
Yes. With multiple around assemblies, however, each filter must be individually tested to determine the cause of the integrity failure.
14. Can an already plugged filter be integrity tested?
Yes. The filter is integral as long as the pressure decay is below the max specified value. (false failures can occur if the filter is not thoroughly rinsed)