Volume 8 | Issue 1 | Year 2005

Theodore C. Wheaton started his glass company in the late 1800s by making a variety of small glass containers. It grew steadily and eventually provided all the glass bottles used during World War II. By 1957, Wheaton entered the scientific arena and created a cornerstone product: the glass scintillation vial. This vial was used primarily to hold samples and originally became popular in the science of radio carbon dating. In 1961, Wheaton created the media bottle, another mainstay of its product line and still widely used in cell culture to this day.

Today, Wheaton Science Products, based in Millville, N.J., manufactures and markets laboratory instruments and equipment, liquid handling equipment, and specialty glass apparatus of all types. Wheaton Science Products is also a critical part of the marketing of the glass and plastic containers manufactured by the company for the laboratory and diagnostic packaging markets. The company has thousands of products in its laboratory products catalog and a stock of over 16,000 different units and parts to serve its customers and lab distribution partners. “We take pride in being incredibly easy to do business with. We sell to the lab markets through a number of traditional laboratory supply companies worldwide and market glass and plastic containers for use in packaging by diagnostic reagent and kit manufacturers,” explains Jack Silver, product manager for Wheaton Science Products.

Wheaton Science Products is backed by the power of Alcan Packaging, a multinational, market-driven company and a global leader in aluminum and packaging, as well as aluminum recycling. With approximately 88,000 employees in more than 60 countries, Alcan has leading positions in raw materials, primary metals, fabricated products and packaging. These include products and systems for the automotive and mass transportation markets, aluminum sheet for beverage cans, as well as flexible and specialty packaging for the food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries worldwide. Alcan is also a combination of world-class smelting business, leading smelter cell technology and leading rolling businesses that create a world-leading aluminum company and a $6 billion global leader
in packaging.

Custom Creations
As a manufacturer for the laboratory market for more than 50 years, the Wheaton Science Products name has become synonymous with producing and providing high quality products. It manufactures containers and vial products from both Type I borosilicate glass and Type III soda lime glass, and manufactures’ containers from varied resin materials, including high- and low-density polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, and PET as well as a number of other plastic resins. It is known internationally for the BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) bottle, glass scintillation vials and a wide variety of glass and plastic rigid containers and closures.

Wheaton Science Products also manufactures other lab must-haves like closure assemblies, rubber stoppers, septas, and aluminum seals as well as various types of caps and liners for exact laboratory applications. “Our glass manufacturing produces Type I borosilicate glass vials, bottles and lab apparatus for compatibility with the most sensitive materials and reagents. We also mold bottles from Type III glass for lab applications where the need for purity is less stringent,” says Silver.

Because of its materials expertise in glass and plastic, as well as its years of experience in molding technology of glass and plastics, Wheaton Science Products has become a versatile and economical source for all labware components. With literally thousands of products in its lab catalog, it offers even more custom options for packaging and lab equipment. “We have over five decades of experience in injection and blow molding and can custom-blend and custom-color plastic parts for special applications,” says Silver. “If you have a demanding packaging or lab application, that’s where we excel. We’ll create the tools necessary to complete your project.”

Singularly MantaRay(tm)
In recent years, customers buying cell culture products traditionally purchased glass flasks. These were expensive enough that they were often cleaned and reused. However, they had their drawbacks. They were fragile. There was a chance of infection from one culture to another, and contamination concerns between experiments. Wheaton Science Products moved cell culture a step forward with the recent introduction of its innovative MantaRay(tm) single-use culture flask. The MantaRay comes pre-sterilized to protect cell cultures and has a unique impeller that provides efficient, gentle stirring for both suspension or microcarrier culture. The MantaRay is also disposable and can be discarded after it is used, which saves the time, trouble and expense of autoclaving and cleaning.

Made of unbreakable cell-friendly materials, which enhances lab safety, the MantaRay is a unique, single-use product. It is manufactured from flexible plastic that reduces the chance of broken shards, should it be dropped. In addition, this product is space saving, providing the same head space as spinner flasks of a similar volume without the height. It can be used for growing cultures of mammalian cells, as well as plant and insect cells. The MantaRay’s proprietary stirrer technology is designed to minimize damage to fragile cells, such as mammalian cells. The MantaRay also allows media and gases to be added or changed during the experiment under sterile conditions. The MantaRay can culture cells on micro-carrier beads, which the cells use as a growth surface. Because it comes pre-sterilized, all you need do is fill the flask with media, add the cells and let them grow.

Safety First
Wheaton Science Products has been an ISO: 9001 registered company since April 1995. However in March 2004, Wheaton Science Products became registered to not only ISO – 9001:2000 but also ISO 14001:96 and OHSAS 18001:1999.

Alcan and Wheaton Science Products are committed to excellence in environment, health and safety (EHS) through continual improvement of its awareness, understanding, and performance. “Our goal is to protect and promote the environment, and the health and safety of all employees and communities where we operate,” says Silver. “This will contribute to greater sustainability thereby benefiting all employees, communities, customers, suppliers and shareholders.”

Wheaton Science Products cooperates with its customers to understand their needs and support their use of best EHS practices in the design and manufacture of safe and reliable products that take full advantage of its materials’ properties throughout their life cycles. It also has a goal of ensuring a working environment that motivates and supports all employees in their efforts to achieve zero work-related injuries and illnesses.

“It is also important for us as a company to minimize any adverse environmental impact from operations and business practices, and use natural resources and energy more efficiently through the effective use of management systems that continually improve EHS performance,” says Silver. “EHS is the highest priority and number one objective for all associates at Wheaton Science Products.”

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