AKRON—Akron Rubber Development Laboratory Inc. is boosting its capabilities by adding personnel and developing a laboratory designed to expand its testing in the microbiological field.
ARDL recently hired Da-vid Kostyal as senior microbiologist to oversee its newly equipped Microbiological Services Laboratory. The lab initially will focus on latex protein testing and biocompatibility assays.
In addition, the independent testing and development lab firm hired Nicole Hershberger as technical adviser. She brings experience in compounding testing and quality control from the custom mixing and carbon black industries, and most recently worked for Sid Richardson Carbon & Energy Co.
“She will work with customers on compound development and help with quality control,” said Sean Djurcic, ARDL sales development manager.
“She brings real technical knowledge and hands-on experience,” he said.
Kostyal worked for 20 years at Guthrie Research Institute in Sayre, Pa. For 16 of those years, he said he headed up the lab that did latex protein testing and was involved in the early 1990s when problems with latex allergies first showed up.
“One of the things that came out of all this was it took a critical look at the process to make sure steps were taken to ensure the proteins were removed,” he said, noting that since the late 1990s, the reports of latex allergies has decreased.
Kostyal, who joined ARDL in May, also serves as chair of ASTM International Committee WK 25942, which is looking at a new test method for immunological assay to quantify extractable guayule proteins. He also is a member of ASTM WK 28994, which is looking at revising ASTM D 6499-07, the standard test method for the immunological measurement of antigenic protein in natural rubber and its products.
He said the microbiological lab represents a different area for ARDL. The firm traditionally has been involved in chemical and physical testing, he said. “Now we're getting into the biological side, using biological systems to get answers.”
ARDL had received a number of customer requests for this type of testing, including one for proteins where a sample needed to be extracted for submission for the Food and Drug Administration, according to Kostyal. In the past the firm would have sent that out to another company for evaluation, but “we thought it would be good if we could send in all the testing for them.”
Right now, ARDL is in the process of getting all the proper equipment for the lab and seeking accreditation to ASTM standards D 6499 and D 5712, which set standards for latex protein testing.
Such accreditation would open the lab to a wide range of possible opportunities, Kostyal said. “If something is part of an FDA submission, you have to make sure it comes from an accredited lab.”
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