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As it manufactures and packages high-speed drill systems used for skull and spinal surgery, The Anspach Effort must maintain a sterile environment in order to reduce post-surgical infection risks. But last spring the 25-year-old Palm Beach Gardens company discovered disturbing increases in particles that could breed bacteria in the "clean room" where it packages the drills.

Worse, it couldn't identify the source of the particles, says Gary Riggs, the company's manufacturing engineering manager. "The unknown cause was a worry because we felt an uncontrolled factor could take a turn for the worse and could force us to suspend our packaging operation."

Through the Palm Beach County Development Board, Riggs linked up with the NASA-funded Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program -- a group of more than 45 technical companies, universities, colleges and NASA-related centers that offers 40 hours of free technical consulting to Florida companies.

Since 1995, SATOP has helped about 150 Florida companies a year. In one case, it helped Sarasota's Sunguard Shade Structures design a cantilever shading system that saved an entire product line.

Harland Hyde, an engineer at AJT & Associates, a technical services company in Cape Canaveral that's a SATOP partner, worked with The Anspach Effort to solve its problem. Hyde recommended Anspach use an advanced filtration system that cut particle counts by as much as 75%.

Says Riggs, "The risk to our business and customers was profound. SATOP offers real solutions, which is peace of mind of incalculable value."

Florida DATOP Center
Phone: 321-869-6330
e-mail: Paul@spacetechsolutions.com