A story about quality: pipette tips from Hamilton

Hamilton has been producing liquid handling consumables for the global market at its new site in Domat/Ems since 2018. Hamilton relies on Netstal for the efficient production of its precise CO-RE II pipette tips.

The new Hamilton building in Domat/Ems makes an impressive impression with its glass facade. Even from the highway, you can see that this is not just an office complex like many others – it is also a production facility. And it is high-tech. Directly behind the glass facade, the Netstal machines are lined up lengthwise on the first floor. A beautiful and high-quality presentation.

Hamilton manufactures pipette tips from its CO-RE II range using the all-electric machines in the Elion series. The innovative technology offers maximum precision when picking up and positioning tips. With an extremely robust and airtight lock-and-key mechanism, Hamilton tips are attached to the independent pipetting channels with virtually no effort. The optimum seal enables highly precise and uniform liquid transfer steps. Hamilton’s CO-RE II tips have a fine, thin tip that facilitates the dispensing of micro volumes.

However, it is not just the tips themselves that have been continuously developed. Hamilton also considers the entire underlying process technology, which is fully automated from the provision of the granulate through to packaging and storage, to be innovative.

"We are absolutely convinced of the high performance and precision of the Netstal injection molding machines. At the same time, we are very satisfied with the partnership-based cooperation and the services provided. If we have a problem, we can always rely on Netstal to work on a quick and optimal solution for us."

Simon Freitag, Plastics Specialist Hamilton Bonaduz AG

Safety and quality go hand in hand

Hamilton manufactures its consumables in an ISO Class 8 clean room that complies with ISO 14644, ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 standards. Hamilton does not rely solely on statistical quality analysis to ensure the highest product quality. Each pipette tip is monitored in the manufacturing process for the concentricity of its opening and the absence of burrs from the casting process. The medically equipped injection molding machines are adjacent to the centrally located clean room. The pipette tips enter the clean room via the removal systems. There, the tips are further processed separately by cavity and their quality is checked in-line. The next step is the packaging process. 96-well tip trays are loaded, packed in blister frame racks and sealed with a paper lid.

The sealed blister frame racks are then transported to the fully automated packaging system above the clean room. Blisters and outer cartons are “married” by means of unique coding, so that complete traceability is always guaranteed. The packaging units are then transported on a conveyor belt to the high-bay warehouse, which is 40 meters high and has a capacity of 12,000 pallets.

300 % increase in capacity within 2 years

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the global demand for consumables exploded to cope with the increased volume of PCR tests performed. At this time, the Hamilton team in Domat/Ems was also under great pressure. Within 2 years, the production capacity for pipette tips was tripled. This was achieved by doubling the number of injection molding lines and production personnel. Netstal was able to contribute to this success. Even in normal times, specially equipped injection molding machines are almost impossible to procure at short notice. At that time, the situation was becoming increasingly difficult due to interrupted supply chains. This is where Netstal’s used machine program came into play. To bridge the delivery time for the new machine ordered, a used rental machine was put into operation in Domat/Ems at short notice. Subsequently, further new machines were sent to Domat/Ems and the USA to produce pipette tips.

At its peak, production in Domat/Ems ran day and night in four shifts, 365 days a year. As demand has now fallen again somewhat, there is a break at weekends. An interruption that would not be necessary from the injection molding machines’ point of view.

More Information about Hamilton:

Hamilton Company

Images: Hamilton