A chance conversation about the difficulties that some medical specialists have to in-house disinfect and sterilise their equipment has resulted in a potential world-wide market of millions and the Bayer Innovators Award 2010 in Design and Engineering for Stella Performance Ltd.
The Tauranga-based subsidiary of British company Tristel PLC is now producing a relatively small and cost-effective manual disinfectant system that handles the parent company’s chlorine dioxide sterilant chemistry in a single-use product.
The Stella Performance unit, about the size of a small computer printer, has received enormous excitement whenever it has been exhibited at medical conferences or congresses said New Zealand director Justine Beale.
“It falls into a gap that there has been no solution for,” she said. “Our product is about a simplicity and sophistication of design, and providing a safer and better way to process instruments than is currently available.”
The product’s development came about following a conversation over a year ago between local urologist Mark Fraundorfer and Tristel chief executive Paul Swinney. Fraundorfer had expressed frustration at the cost and time ineffective ways of decontaminating his flexible cystoscopes for his medical practice.
What Stella has produced, along with product development manager Jeremy Turner, is a disinfection system that operates independently of mains power, requires no maintenance, and eliminates storage of the disinfectant in the compartment in which the instrument is disinfected, along with an incorporated traceability system.
Such an in-house system allows an instrument to be freed up within a practice and allows more patients to be seen Beale said.
“A special component is the Stella I.Q, which is a battery operated device that directs the disinfection process through its five minute cycle,” she said. “This produces a validation code for the instrument that a certain process has been carried out. You can plug the Stella I.Q. in a computer via our software, and produce a report that shows what has happened to that instrument for complete traceability.”
As well as being designed in New Zealand, most of its components are sourced from this country and assembly also takes place here.
Various patents have been taken out on the decontaminator, including its design, and distribution will take place through Tristel Beale said.