Project Code: 15039
Project Title: High-Throughput Curing Oven
Project Type: Industry
Project Intellectual Property: Company Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No
Sponsor Company: Ventana Medical Systems Inc.
Description: Ventana Medical Systems asked the team to design a small-scale in-line curing oven for use in histological glass slide storage preparation. The oven heats a glass/polymer protective layer that after curing creates an airtight bond between the shielding glass and the specimen slide. The specimen is tissue being tested for cancer cells. When heated in the curing oven, the polymer layer on the slide changes from a solvent state to a pure polymer state, in which the slide, tissue, and the coverslip become hardened together, facilitating handling, microscopy, and archiving. The design allows the slide, cover glass, and tissue specimen to enter the oven along with the solvent-state polymer, which heats up to the necessary curing temperature within one minute. The slide then exits the oven and the polymer cures upon cooling. The oven is designed to sponsor specifications and can be adjusted for a variety of fit and form factors, and cures slides continuously as they are fed into the system rather than curing several at the same time.