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Maximator and University of Zurich develop HPL6 high-pressure homogenizer

Nordhausen / Zurich, 29. September 2017 | In conjunction with the Biochemistry Department of the University of Zurich (UZH), Maximator GmbH, Nordhausen, has developed an innovative high-pressure system for the production or amplification of organic material like DNA, RNA or viruses. Maximator's HPL6 working principal is based on the principle of the "French press" and is used for particularly gentle high-pressure cell lysis.

  

High-pressure cell lysis including four-zone cooling 

  

The system has been designed to the latest standards for laboratory operations and specially optimized with regard to temperature control and cleaning. Now that the prototype has been thoroughly tested by UZH's Biochemistry Department and achieved positive results throughout, Maximator is taking on production and global sales of the HPL6 high-pressure cell lysis unit. 

High-pressure systems for physical cell lysis are used in medical technology, biotechnology, chemistry, biology and the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in research, to "break" cell walls. It is usually not crucial to adhere exactly to a specific low temperature in this process; that is why only the sample vessel in the final step of the process is cooled in most of the commercially available systems. 
This type of cooling, however, was not sufficient for a project of UZH's Biochemistry Department, the aim of which was to capture and analyze intact cell membranes. On this subject, Prof. Raimund Dutzler, from the University of Zurich, says: "In order to preserve the cell membranes undamaged, the temperature range in our case needs to be below 8 °C throughout. Commercially available systems were unable to achieve this. What we needed, therefore, was a new device that keeps the temperature constantly cool across every individual step of the process." At the same time, the device was to be easier to clean than currently available systems. 

  

The HPL6 high-pressure system is delivered to the University of Zurich. From left to right: 
Prof. Raimund Dutzler, Sascha Weidner (both from the Biochemistry Department, University of Zurich), René Himmelstein (Maximator GmbH Deutschland), Peter Brülhart (Maximator Schweiz AG). Picture: Maximator GmbH 

  

UZH designed a prototype according to its own high requirements, which Maximator GmbH, one of the leading suppliers of systems and components for the high-pressure technology sector, transformed into a reproducible system and is now bringing to market. The HPL6 (High Pressure Lyser, 60,000 psi) achieved consistently positive results in UZH's tests, setting new performance standards. 

  

Four-zone cooling for even temperature 

 

The HPL 6 has a four-zone cooling system, which means that the temperature is constantly kept at > 2° C over the entire process, i.e. also in those areas in which heat is generated. 

  

The cooling zones are located on the high-pressure pump head (pump cooling), on the piping between pump and needle valve (T-piece cooling), on the lysis nozzle (nozzle cooling) and on the sample vessel containing the finished product (outlet cooling). 

  

Simple handling, problem-free cleaning 

 

It was very important to Maximator and UZH's Biochemistry Department that the system should be suitable for everyday use. By using high-quality quick-lock couplings made of stainless steel, switching between sample vessel and flushing head is carried out quickly. The cleaning effort is significantly reduced - a huge advantage over comparable systems. Whereas cleaning and disinfection took around 15 to 20 minutes in comparable systems, they take no more than 5 minutes with Maximator's HPL6. 
A further plus point is that simple handling and fast cleaning speed up the entire process flow, thereby also contributing to cost reduction. 

  

Convincing benchmark data confirm best performance for high-pressure cell lysis 

 

Maximator's quiet and low-maintenance HPL6 can already be operated with a sample volume upwards of 20 ml. The dead volume is significantly minimized, at less than 6 ml. 

Apart from the extremely high cooling capacity of approx. 2 °C for even the most difficult use cases, the system impresses by virtue of good flow rates at very high pressures (maximum pressure: 4,200 bar / 60,000 psi). The flow rate of E.coli, for example, is 120 - 330 ml/min at 1,400 bar / 20,000 psi while, for yeast, it is 80 - 150 ml/min at 3,200 bar / 45,000 psi. 

The measured data of the powerful HPL6 confirm that Maximator has achieved its goal, targeted at the very beginning of the development, of becoming "best in class" in this area. René Himmelstein, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at Maximator, adds: "HPL6 has been developed with users for users, which is having a positive impact in physical cell lysis practice. Through this development, our company is also opening up a new area of application for high-pressure technology, which is being marketed exclusively by Maximator. Apart from this biochemical use for organic material, the system may also be of interest in respect of other analysis tasks, e.g. in testing laboratories of the food industry or waste water technology." 

  

Further information 

  

About the University of Zurich and the Biochemistry Department 

 

The University of Zurich (UZH), founded in 1833, is Switzerland's largest university, with over 25,000 students, and nowadays is one of the best universities in the German-speaking world. As a member of the "League of European Research Universities" (LERU), UZH belongs to Europe's leading research institutions. To date, the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars, including Albert Einstein and Conrad Röntgen. 

Research at UZH's Biochemistry Department focuses on the functional investigation of proteins, using biophysical, biochemical and structural methods. Currently, the department houses six research groups. The department's mission is to be a leader in protein technology and structural biology and to conduct international-level cutting-edge research. 

  

About MAXIMATOR GmbH 

 

Maximator GmbH is one of the leading suppliers in the high-pressure and test technology, hydraulics and pneumatics sector. Its employees develop, design, manufacture and distribute international products that are used in industrial systems across the world. The company manufactures, among other things, systems for gas and water-assisted moulding applications, gas dosing stations, high-pressure pulse test systems, burst pressure test stands, leak test systems, autofrettage machines as well as high-pressure pumps and high-pressure gas boosters, hydraulic units and booster stations, valves, fittings and tubings. Maximator's long-standing experience in the project business for test and production systems makes it a valuable partner for the automotive industry, general mechanical engineering, the chemical and petrochemical industries as well as the oil and gas industry.

Maximator acquires REN Corporation, USA

Nordhausen, Germany / Stillwater, USA , 31. March 2017 | In February 2017, Maximator GmbH, based in Nordhausen in Thuringia, acquired the REN Corporation, the US specialist in microprocessor controlled test equipment, based in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

  

REN Corp. was for sale as part of a succession arrangement. Maximator GmbH prevailed in the negotiations and, owing to high synergy effects, was given the go-ahead to make the acquisition.

  

Maximator is growing in North America

The acquisition of REN will enable Maximator to strengthen its access to the North American market in relation to the test and production systems of its Division Systems. The acquisition will give a long-term boost to Maximator's brand presence in the USA. It will also enable it to expand its product and service portfolio.

  

REN’s core expertise is in designing and developing tailor-made equipment technology for electrohydraulic function testing and automated assembly of fluid technology assemblies. "As a specialist in this area, REN has products and solutions that provide an excellent complement to the portfolio of our Division Systems and extend our high-pressure technology offering as a whole", said Henning Willig, Managing Director at Maximator.

  

REN Corp. will continue to trade as an independent company in future. The acquisition will also enable REN and Maximator to combine their sales and service activities and to supply their North American customers, in particular, with individual solutions on a longer term basis. Owing to the existing overlap in terms of the customer base, both companies expect significant synergy effects, which will contribute to profitable growth.

  

The REN personnel structure will be retained. The company will continue to be managed by President Ryan Ashley and Vice-President Bryan Rattan. The intention is to recruit additional staff for sales activities.

Safe Validation of CNG / H2 Components

Nordhausen,15. November 2016| Compared with liquid fuels, natural gas is a cost-efficient and more environmentally friendly propulsion option. Motor vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen require special fuel tanks that need to be light, but simultaneously extremely strong, because the gas they contain is subject to high pressure. In order to be able to ensure that such tanks operate safely, manufacturers need to test them in terms of pressure resistance and leak-tightness. For one such manufacturer, Maximator GmbH in Nordhausen, Germany has developed a special pressure testing system, the world's first process-optimized end-of-line test stand for large-volume composite tanks.

  

Maximator's New End-of-Line (EOL) High-Pressure System for CNG and H2 Composite Tanks

The company, one of the leading suppliers of systems and components for high-pressure technology, has equipped the system designed for series pressure testing of type IV composite tanks with a number of special features, such that it can be called the world's first process-optimized end-of-line system for this application area. The systems point of use is at the end of a production line (EOL – end of line), its task being the 100% testing of vehicle tanks made of plastic with CFRP/GFRP casing in accordance with the specifications set out in ECE R110 for compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered vehicles. The system can accept large-volume tanks up to 1.4m in length and test them at a pressure of up to 350 bar in one work cycle. The system could also be converted with few specific modifications for the hydrogen field and hence testing in accordance with EC79/2009 for hydrogen-powered (H2) vehicles.

  

Optimized process, reproducible pressure curve

The test procedure is process-optimized, which is expressed in very short clock times. All the operator needs to do is place the tanks in a holding fixture, push this fixture into the test chamber, start the test program and remove the tanks again after the test. The progress of the test can be tracked through panes made of safety glass. In the test chamber, the tanks are automatically arranged for each of the cycles that follow one another – filling of the test fluid water, pressurization, and strength as well as leak-tightness test, draining and drying – such that they proceed at high speed. The pressure intensifier, equipped with a special control developed by our engineering team in-house, enables highly reproducible pressure generation. The deviation of the actual pressure value from the target value is less than 1%.

  

High-tech tanks

The system is intended for testing composite tanks, i.e. tanks that are composed of several materials. In the present case, the tanks are made of plastic enveloped and reinforced by several layers of carbon fibers. Components made of composites are extremely strong with a relatively low own weight and are therefore mainly used in aerospace technology, but also increasingly in motor vehicle technology; in fact, anywhere where high strength needs to be combined with low weight. This requirement can be found in virtually all modern structural lightweight applications, an example of which is provided by tanks for vehicles propelled with natural gas or hydrogen. For example, municipal transport services are increasingly replacing diesel-powered buses by those propelled with natural gas, as this drastically reduces the particulate emissions typical of diesel drives.

Since as much gas as possible should be stored, it is added to the tanks in compressed form, which means that they are subject to high internal pressure. In the first case (CNG), this pressure is up to 260 bar, while in the second case (H2) it is up to 700 bar. Compared with steel tanks, the stand-out feature of composite tanks is, as already mentioned, their relatively low weight; they are also highly resistant to environmental influences and never rust.

  

Tank testing as a service

Maximator also operates a state-of the-art laboratory at its head office in Nordhausen, Germany, where it not only carries out its own development activities, but also a wide range of tests as a service. The technical equipment has recently been enhanced, which means that tests on large-volume composite components (up to 500 litres capacity and 4m long) can now also be conducted. It is possible, while testing a tank, to record its expansion behaviour in longitudinal and circumferential direction to accuracies of 0.1 mm using laser-optical expansion measurement. In the case of burst tests, tank failures can be recorded with the use of high-speed cameras to help determine failure modes. In addition, the new test stand in the Nordhausen service centre enables composite tanks to be placed under mechanical load (torsion and bending) in burst or pressure load change tests. This gives rise to informative insights into the burst behaviour of test specimens, which is advantageous to component assessment and helps to reduce development times.

The test opportunities are likely to be of particular interest to companies in the automotive, general mechanical engineering and energy technology (CNG, H2) fields, as well as processors of composites and companies in the aerospace industry.

  

More Information:

Download: PM_Maximator_Safe Validation of CNG H2 Components

GID-s oXidem uhliČITÝM - PremiÉrA v SÉRIOVÉ VÝROBĚ

09.12.2015, Nordhausen: Systém je vyvinutý ve spoluprácí MAXIMATORU a Linde. Systém PLATINUM © GIM C pro použití oxidu uhličitého (CO2) v průběhu vstřikování plastů technologií (GID) poprvé v sériové výrobě. Tento systém představili obě společnosti na letošním veletrhu plastů Fakuma. První zkoušky systému ukázaly zkrácení cyklu na výrobu madla chladničky o 36 procent.

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WID-Technologie vstřikování vody jde do seriové výroby.

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