May 1, 2006

NanoScreen Building a Rock Solid Foundation

Sheila Watson  /  CRBJ

There is already much about NanoScreen LLC, the manufacturing company specializing in the production and packaging of pharmaceutical research supplies, that can be considered distinctive. It already produces the world's smallest pipette and syringe, for instance. And now, distinctive can also be applied to NanoScreen's new facility.

"In the wet lab, we have a 16,000-pound piece of granite," said Daniel Dechert, president and CEO. "It's designed to be a vibration dampener for the equipment."

The granite, he said, is a surface plate that is low-cost, clean and flat within a thousandth of an inch. "It's very inexpensive but a pretty large weight," he said. The granite was quarried in North Carolina then finished and trucked to the new facility near Clements Ferry Road. Carolina Engineering is building a stainless-steel frame to support the weight.

"Granite was the best choice," Dechert said. "I've had experiences traveling over the world troubleshooting pipettes, and I discovered that granite is a good material for absorbing vibration."

For instance, at one facility where he was troubleshooting a machine not performing properly, he took the machine off the table and put it on the ground. That simple act fixed the problem. That's when he realized the need for a stable, vibration-free environment for the equipment. The primary concern he has for his new facility is that several machines will be running at the same time, all of them shaking fluid, which produces vibrations. "If we run more than one pipette at a time, one can affect the other just by being on the same tabletop or in the same room," he said. "The vibrations would cause problems for both machines."

The company also has scales and plates that determine volume accuracy, which must have a stable base. "The granite eliminates those problems," he said.