This year, Planer is celebrating 45 years since it was set up. We have been taking a trip down memory lane looking at how our incubators have evolved from an anaerobic incubator in the 70s to our latest, sophisticated benchtop incubator launched just last year.
Though already well known for our controlled rate freezers by the 1980s, we actually piloted our first incubator in 1976, collaborating with the then UK Department of Health and Social Services. It was a novel form of anaerobic incubator, to be an alternative to the prevailing jar system for the isolation of anaerobes from clinical material. A prototype machine was built around 1980 and was tested by a team from the Department of Microbiology at St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, London who published a note on it the Journal of Clinical Pathology in 1982. The product went on to be distributed for a while by Gallenkamp who became part of Fisons Scientific plc, in turn part of Rhone-Poulenc.
Fast forward fifteen years and we revisited the area of controlled warm environments. In 2008 we came out with a prototype high precision benchtop incubator and the distribution of this, the BT37, by Cooper Surgical Inc., Origio AB and IMV Technologies SA has now put that unit at the forefront of many of the world’s human and animal IVF laboratories.
All our incubators use our proprietary software management system PIMS , a 21 CFR Part 11 compliant, password protected, logger that alerts users of any out of range alarms and provides placement information to easily locate samples and ensure they are returned back to the same spot as well as giving full audit reports of function.
The success of the BT37 was due to its reliability, rugged construction and its worldwide regulatory compliance. We felt that space-limited laboratories might need the same precision in a more compact form, and so designs for a high capacity incubator – to complement the BT37 – were started in 2014. It used the best of our existing technology within a unique modular, patented, ‘stack’ to produce accurate environments for optimal clinical conditions inside each independently humidified incubation chamber. The space saving design of this new model, the CT37stax multi chamber benchtop incubator, provides high dish capacity and uses a third less space than a normal incubator. Additional chambers can be added too, enabling a laboratory’s capacity to grow in modular fashion.