New Luer Stopcock Design

sclp-400f We have recently had a design change to our Luer stopcocks. While this sleek design is consistent with the look and functionality of today’s fittings and valves, probably half the users will like them and the other half will hate them. Unfortunately for the latter half, the old style has been discontinued and the molds no longer exist. There is good news, however. The new design uses less material and is less expensive. The handles are easier to grip and adjust, and the ports conform to ISO 594-1 and 594-2 standards. Plus, a couple of new configurations have been added to the line so you have more options. These new stopcocks still accomplish the same thing they always have, but they conform to the new standards and look and feel better than the old design.

Four-way Stopcock vs. Three-way Stopcock

Sometimes we’ll get a customer question about our Luer stopcocks that goes something like this:  Your website lists 4-way stopcocks, but the stopcock in the picture only has three ports. Do you carry a 4-way?

The answer is: YES, the one with three ports is a 4-way!


The stopcocks are called 4-way because of the flow options rather than the number of ports. The best way to visualize this is to focus on the handle positioned at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. Each one of these positions opens the ports differently to create the four different flow options as seen in the graphic.

So, yes! We stock 4-way stopcocks, and the name is appropriate when considering the number of flow options they provide.

Luer Fittings & Connectors – In General

Luer fittings are used extensively in medical and life sciences applications.  But there is a tremendous amount of confusion about what these fittings really are.  The” Luer Taper” is named after Hermann Wülfing Luer who was a German instrument maker working in France on the development of tapered glass bottle stoppers, and glass syringes.   The result of his research and development was a conical 6% taper that produces a quick tight sealing connection between male and female mating surfaces.  Mostly relegated today to the antique stores and museums are the glass stopper apothecary bottles of old, but his design is still as useful and relevant today as it was in the late 1800s.  At its most basic level, a Luer fitting is defined as a small-bore, friction based, leak-proof connector.   Its prominent use is to connect tubing and equipment for the transfer of fluids and gases.

Currently there are two categories or types of Luer fittings in use.  The slip Luer based on the original design, and the Luer lock based on a design improvement made by  Fairleigh S. Dickinson in the early 1900s.  Mr. Dickinson working on what would become the “Becton-Dickinson Yale Luer-Lok Glass Syringe” added a twist­-lock mechanism to hold the hypodermic needle safely in place. It was a simple way to attach and to remove a needle from a glass syringe, minimizing the danger of the needle slipping off the tip while in use, as well as reducing the breakage of the syringe tip.  The male and female slip Luer fittings, as the name implies, simply slip together to form a seal.   Luer lock fittings have the addition of interlocking threads to hold the connection together.   The male Luer lock has an external housing with internal threads, while the female Luer lock has the addition of an external thread added at the base of the taper.  These threads draw the two fittings together, tightening the seal, while providing a mechanical attachment for the two elements of the connection.  The result is a secure leak-proof connection that can be easily taken apart by untwisting the two fittings to disengage the threads.

Luer fittings form the nucleus of an extremely versatile family of connectors.  They are widely used in laboratories, medical devices and intervention therapies.  Some examples are gas chromatography, cell research, intravenous catheters, feeding tubes, ventilators, and the common hypodermic syringe.  Luer fitting are available in a variety of materials and configurations.   Materials such as nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, PEEK and stainless steel are readily available.  Both male and female Luer taper fittings can readily configured to work with threaded connections, fractional barb fittings, and ultra small tubing such as Tygon®Microbore tubing.

In summary, the term Luer represents a type of connection rather than a brand or manufacturer.  The fitting consists of a 6% conical taper that precisely mates to its male and female counterpart forming a tight, leak-proof, connection that can easily be disconnected when desired. They are available in a variety of materials and configurations making them extremely versatile for use in a myriad of applications.  While primarily used in the life sciences, they may be the perfect fitting for your next project.

Many Different Industries Have Uses for Blunt Needles

Blunt needles are used in other industries and fields, in addition to medical applications. Industries, including automotive, electronics, henna art, food production, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing, all have their own purposes for using these kinds of needles in the workplace. They can be used to control the delivery of fluids, water, liquids, and viscous materials in the desired amounts. By attaching the needles to syringes, or bottles with measurement lines, organizations are able to control production costs and reduce waste expenses. Additionally, they are able to be attached to certain types of automated machinery where the equipment measures and controls the delivery amount.

For example, applying adhesives to different parts during a production process requires the precise amount is used. Using too little can result in the parts falling apart, later on. On the other hand, using too much adhesive could damage surrounding parts or components and prevent the product from performing as expected. In either case, quality of the finished good would not meet standards, and either has to be taken apart, or end up as waste.

In addition to the standard lengths available in blunt needles, you are also able to utilize secondary finishing operations to have needles custom finished to fit your own requirements. Customizations might include cutting hypodermic tubing to a longer length, having it deburred and cleaned, and then attaching it to polypropylene Luer hubs. You may also require a specific curvature or angled degree applied to the tubing in order to create needles used for accessing hard to reach areas.