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Cost-effective prenatal testing spectrum



News, Pharmaceuticals, Processing Technologies

Recently, Eluthia introduced its new non-invasive prenatal testing spectrum, which combines optimized testing procedures with very affordable prices.

The NIPT Classic has been optimized for testing for trisomies 21, 18 and 13. The test now costs just EUR 179, which is around EUR 50 cheaper than other non-invasive prenatal screening tests (NIPTs) that test for these three trisomies.

The range of tests has been optimized specifically for couples who want more advanced testing, such as that for sex chromosomes or microdeletions (particularly the 22q11.2 microdeletion, DiGeorge syndrome). The test can also provide more information than other tests for couples pregnant with twins. Starting at just EUR 299, the patented SNP technology enables an enormous leap in quality for these questions.

For the first time, it enables non-invasive prenatal testing for the clinically highly relevant single gene disorders cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), sickle cell disease and the thalassemias. One in 225 couples in Germany carries the genetic predispositions that cause one of these diseases in 25% of their children. The panel now costs only EUR 449.

Underlying technologies of the tests

The NIPT Classic, PerkinElmer’s Vanadis Test® has been completely redesigned with the aim of optimizing testing for trisomies 21, 18 and 13. This is achieved by a new procedure based on ‘rolling circle replication’, which analyzes only DNA fragments relevant for testing. For each analysis, an incredible 1.8 million measuring points are evaluated by means of a completely automated laboratory process in the Eluthia laboratory in Gießen. This reduces the number of test failures to well below 0.5%.

The product is optimized for testing for sex chromosomes, the 22q11.2 microdeletion and for twin pregnancies. It provides accurate sex determination that is approximately 1,000 times more accurate than other NIPTs. For testing for the 22q11.2 microdeletion, the test has an excellent positive predictive value of 53%, which is approximately 10 times better than other NIPTs. This has been demonstrated in the multicenter, prospective SMART study of over 20,000 pregnant women. Panorama is the only NIPT that allows maternal mosaics to be filtered out when testing for Turner syndrome, reducing the number of false-positive results. Furthermore, it is the only NIPT that allows determination of whether twins are identical or fraternal; it determines the fetal fraction for both twins separately and determines the fetal sex for each twin separately.

For the first time, the new QCT technology makes it possible to detect tiny single base exchanges, i.e. changes at the molecular level, in order to be able to determine the genetic triggers for certain serious diseases in the fetus as early as the 10th week of pregnancy. The most common form of SMA, for example, leads to the death of affected children after only a few years. Brand new gene therapy drugs that can cure this disease require the earliest possible diagnosis.

To round off the prenatal testing spectrum, Eluthia, also in collaboration with the Zotz|Klimas laboratory, offers a NIPT for testing for rhesus factor D, which has recently become a statutory health insurance benefit in Germany.

News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

Advanced analog IC foundry process technologies



Now, Siemens Digital Industries Software announced that its new mPower™ solution for power integrity analysis of analog, digital and mixed-signal integrated circuit (IC) designs has now been certified for Tower Semiconductor’s SBC13 and SBC18 process technologies.

This software is the industry’s first IC power integrity verification solution that offers virtually unlimited scalability for analog, digital and mixed-signal ICs and provides comprehensive power, electromigration (EM) and voltage drop (IR) analysis for even the largest IC designs.

“Siemens is proud that Tower Semiconductor, an industry leader in analog technologies, has now certified mPower for the SBC13 and SBC18 processes it offers. This solution, developed collaboratively by Tower Semiconductor and Siemens, contributes to more accurate and faster EM/IR analysis for joint customers. This, in turn, results in shorter time-to-market and higher quality end devices.”

– Joseph Davis, Senior Director

With this technology, IC designers can more quickly and thoroughly verify that their analog and mixed-signal designs meet performance-based design goals – capabilities that help IC customers dramatically improve quality, increase reliability and shorten time-to-market.

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Mechanical Processes News Processing Technologies

Novelties in relation to tank cleaning



With the PlusClean tank cleaning nozzle, Alfa Laval sets a new standard for hygienic fluid handling in the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. Users achieve 100 percent cleaning coverage, which is unique in the market. In addition, up to 80 percent water and detergent savings can be achieved compared to conventional methods.

The cleaning nozzle works in tandem with primary tank cleaning equipment such as rotating spray balls or jet cleaners. Depending on the design of the tank, the nozzle can be easily integrated flush into the wall or floor. When activated by the cleaning medium or, optionally, the air drive, it removes contaminants below the agitator blades and in other areas in a fan-shaped pattern.

Controlled and repeated rotation of the agitator shaft and blades ensures 100 percent cleaning coverage. Even the shadow areas below the agitator blades, heating or cooling coils and connections, which are inaccessible to top-mounted tank cleaning equipment, are reliably hit. When the cleaning cycle is complete, the integrated drive returns the piston to its original position, securely closing and sealing the cleaning device.

Contamination risks are minimized by thorough tank cleaning with PlusClean. Faster and safer changeovers increase the productivity of batches or continuous processes.

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News Processing Technologies

On the way in the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea



In the middle of Lower Saxony’s Wadden Sea lies Norderney – a sea that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. The East Frisian island is a climatic health resort and spa. That’s why freight forwarder Georg Fischer has recently turned to electromobility. A native of Norderney, he is the fourth generation of his family to run the island haulage company “Johann Fischer”. His fleet includes 35 MAN vehicles – among them several semitrailer tractors and, since about a quarter of a year, three MAN eTGEs. With the electrically powered transporters, he wants to set an example. Holidaymakers are very nature-conscious, he says, and Norderney is known throughout Germany.He is one of the first companies on the North Sea island to switch to electric mobility.

“If we set a good example here, that radiates out.”

– Georg Fischer

Vehicle fleet for transporting goods on the islands

Georg Fischer is a “reception forwarder” for Norderney and the other East Frisian islands. Its core business is distribution services along the North Sea coast. He operates a large warehouse in the town of Norden, where the other forwarders unload their goods, and delivers them to the ferries six days a week with his own vehicles. He also travels for grocery and drug store chains. He picks up the goods from their central warehouses and then transports them to the stores on the islands. He even transports building materials with his fleet of vehicles specially tailored to the island. 85 employees are on the road for him and active in the warehouses in Norden and on Norderney.

Delivery service to the hotel

Since larger trucks are allowed to cross the island by ferry but are not allowed to drive across the island, the freight forwarder handles the goods directly in the warehouse at Norderney harbor. From the articulated trucks, they are loaded onto smaller vehicles – including the battery-electric transporters that take drinks, food and parcels from the warehouse through the narrow alleyways to the hotels, guesthouses and stores. The suitcases of the vacation guests are also delivered directly to the vacation domicile by the electric transporters.

For Georg Fischer, the three vehicles are an ideal addition to its fleet. The range of up to 130 kilometers is absolutely sufficient for the distances on the island. Often, one battery charge is enough for two full days of work. The three vehicles are charged at wallboxes directly at the warehouse. The eTGEs are quiet and hardly disturb the tourists who are looking for peace and quiet on Norderney, says Georg Fischer. He is also convinced of the driving comfort: “You quickly get used to the electric drive. After all, an all-electric van like this has no gearshift and delivers full power to the axle.” In addition, he says, the eTGEs offer the comfort he has been used to for many years. “I am absolutely convinced of the quality of my vehicles, the workmanship, the reliability – nothing squeaks or creaks,” he says.

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