Fluidnatek_LE-500_Bioinicia

Electrospinning equipment products

Electrospinning equipment is designed for the fabrication of micro- and nano-scaled fibers or particles by electro-hydrodynamic processing, a technique that can be scaled-up for reproducible nanofiber production at commercially relevant volumes. There are many electrospinning equipment products in the market, catering for lab-scale materials research and proof-of-concept activities, all the way up to full industrial-scale manufacturing.  Due to the versatility of the electrospinning process and the wide variety of different applications, these electrospinning equipment products come in different shapes and sizes and are configurable with an array of different features and functionalities. In this article we provide some guidance on selecting the best configuration for your electrospinning equipment.

Basic Bench-top Laboratory Equipment

Simple apparatus suited to laboratory materials research and development activities and small-scale proof-of-concept projects. Usually an improvement upon user-built laboratory electrospinning apparatus, which are commonplace throughout academia, in terms of user-safety, process control and reliability, these simple bench-top electrospinning machines typically incorporate a positive high voltage power supply, one syringe pump, safety interlocked spinning chamber, flat plate collector, regulation of emitter-collector distance and integrated touch-screen controls. Many will also allow the addition of a negative HV power supply for improving deposition efficiency, a second syringe pump for coaxial spinning of core-shell structures, rotating collectors (drum, mandrel, disk etc.), automated scanning motion of the spinning head for obtaining uniform fiber sheets and coatings, a camera for viewing the Taylor cone and an extraction fan to exhaust the solvent vapors from the spinning chamber.

Fluidnatek_LE-10_Bioinicia

 

Bioinicia’s Fluidnatek® LE-10 electrospinning machine is an excellent reference within this segment of electrospinning equipment products, offering all of the features described above and more.

 

Advanced Bench-top Laboratory Equipment

For more demanding R&D activities requiring tighter process control and/or more complex configurations of the electrospinning apparatus, a larger electrospinning chamber and the ability to control the temperature and relative humidity during spinning are extremely important. The electrospinning technique is an evaporative process, which means that the environmental conditions (temp and %RH) within the spinning chamber play a significant role in the formation of fibers and their resulting morphology. As such, in order to achieve a stable process and consistent, reproducible results, it is necessary to use an air conditioning system that enables these conditions to be optimized and controlled. The larger chamber size in these advanced bench-top electrospinning equipment products allows for additional features, which may not be possible in the smaller, more basic machines, such as a secondary spinning stage for the simultaneous electrospinning (and/or electrospraying) of two different materials to create composite structures, multi-emitter spinning heads for uniaxial and coaxial spinning, a pressure-regulated air/gas flow enabling gas-assisted electrospinning, automated scanning motion of spinning heads in two directions (X and Y axes), syringe heating and tubeless solution feeding etc. All of these features are available in  Bioinicia’s Fluidnatek LE-50 advance bench-top machine.

Fluidnatek_LE-50_Bioinicia

Advanced Medium-scale Laboratory Equipment 

When cutting-edge laboratory research and product development activities demand ultimate experimental flexibility and process control, there are few electrospinning equipment products in the market that can meet these requirements. Whether for novel experimental configurations or for the manufacture of comple

x medical devices within a cleanroom, equipment within this category should be climate conditioned in order to optimize and maintain stable temperature and %RH throughout the process, and should be large enough to accommodate an array of advance features, such as independent, automated, programmable motion of spinning heads in 3 directions (X, Y and Z axes), larger multi-emitter spinning heads for increase productivity, larger stationary or rotating collector geometries, additional syringe pumps to enable simultaneous spinning of different materials or multi-axial spinning of complex structures,  multiple HV power supplies, and/or an in-line deposition thickness metrology system for real-time monitoring of the evolution of the fiber layer thickness during spinning.

Fluidnatek_LE-100_Bioinicia

 

The best example within this range of electrospinning equipment products is Bioinicia’s Fluidnatek® LE-100 machine, which has been adopted by many biomedical companies and other advanced-research organizations. This equipment can be provided with IQ/OQ documentation for validation in GMP or ISO13485 certified processes for the manufacture of pharmaceutical or medical devices, respectively.

 

Pre-industrial Equipment

Suited to companies or research institutes wanting to demonstrate the scalability of the electrospinning process; to develop electrospun products at small scale and then scale-up to semi-continuous production of many meters of electrospun sheet in the same machine. These electrospinning equipment products have many of the features of the advanced laboratory-scale equipment, but typically with less flexibility in terms of configuration – instead having a roll-to-roll collector, several multi-emitter spinning heads, and large-volume solution feeding systems for semi-continuous manufacturing of larger batches, not limited by syringe volume,  and much higher throughput. As with the smaller equipment, climate control of the electrospinning chamber is extremely important for maintaining consistent, reproducible product, independent of the atmospheric conditions.

The Fluidnatek® LE-500 is an ideal machine for R&D activities and semi-continuous manufacture of electrospun sheet for pre-industrial demonstration.Fluidnatek_LE-500_Bioinicia

Industrial Manufacturing Equipment

Electrospinning equipment products targeted towards industrial manufacture of electrospun products are typically designed and specified according the particular product and manufacturing volume requirements of each customer or market. The throughput of electrospinning equipment is highly dependent on the materials and solution formulations being spun and as such, in order to specify industrial manufacturing equipment to meet specified volume requirements, the process must first be thoroughly understood with the particular materials of interest. There may also be certain product acceptance criteria e.g. deposition uniformity tolerances along the length and width of an electrospun sheet, which would also require investigation and may involve new hardware design to achieve. Other considerations may include minimum air cleanliness levels within the electrospinning chamber, solvent exhaust regulations and recovery solutions, post-electrospinning processes etc. The procurement of such industrial manufacturing equipment should therefore always be preceded by a collaborative development product between the client and the manufacturer in order to correctly specify the manufacturing equipment according to the particular requirements of the product.

Bioinicia has developed in-house industrial electrospinning facilities and have achieved GMP  and ISO 13485 certification , enabling the high-throughput production of pharmaceutical products and medical devices.

About Bioinicia

Bioinicia are specialists in the electrospinning and electrospraying processes, and world-leading providers of premium-quality climate-controlled electrospinning and electrospraying equipment.  We are your ideal partner for electrospinning equipment products, development of nano and micro structured materials, scale-up and manufacturing services. Simply leverage our expertise in the electrospinning and electrospraying processes, from laboratory research to industrial manufacture, and advance the development of your future generation of products to the next level.

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