Sciex rolls out fix for mass specs affected by pump failure

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

TV 801 pump with single bolts. Picture: Sciex safety notice
TV 801 pump with single bolts. Picture: Sciex safety notice
Sciex is starting to install safety kits on mass spectrometers that had to be shut down due to the potential for the pump to fail and eject metal fragments.

The instrument company said affected pumps were manufactured by Agilent Technologies.

Sciex received two customer complaints for the Agilent Technologies’ TV 801 turbo pump and Agilent reported field failures of two of the pumps.

“The TV-801 Turbo Pump may experience a rotor fragmentation leading to a sudden separation of the body from the envelope, allowing metal fragments to be ejected at high speeds, which may result in serious injury or death​,” according to a safety notice dated March 13.

To date, there have been no reported injuries.

Agilent reinforces pump assembly

Agilent said use of the pump should be discontinued and it hasn’t been manufactured for a number of years.

Sciex would not confirm how many mass spectrometer owners were affected.

The firm said it ‘strongly advised’ affected customers to shut down systems until the issue was resolved.

Agilent has tested a solution to reinforce the TV-801 turbo pump assembly with minimal modification of the mass spectrometer, according to a Sciex safety notice from 24 March.

“The safety kit will be provided and installed free of charge to all affected Sciex customers.

“Based on current information from Agilent, we expect the majority of safety kits to be installed between early to mid-April, with installations ramping up within this period.

“In preparation, during the week of 3 April, Sciex will start contacting customers to schedule service calls for affected systems.”

Affected mass spectrometers

Varian TV-801 Turbo Pumps were used on some API 4000, 4000 QTRAP and API 5000 mass spectrometers.

They were sold under brand names including Sciex, AB Sciex, MDS Sciex and Applied Biosystems.

In the previous safety notice, Sciex said it took action after being told of the issue by Agilent.

Agilent declined to answer our questions but said the affected pumps are only used in Sciex instruments.

“Returning the affected Sciex customers to operation safely is a top priority for both Agilent and Sciex. As the manufacturer of the TV-801 turbo pumps, Agilent is working closely with Sciex and is unable to offer any additional comments at this time.”

An investigation into the root cause of the failure is ongoing.

The safety notice covers all TV-801 Turbo Pumps regardless of date of manufacture.

TV-801 pumps were manufactured by Varian between 2002 and 2009. If the pump has double bolts, then it is not a TV 801 pump.

Turbo Pump models, such as the TV-902 or TV-903, are not in the scope of the safety notice.

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