Merck, a science and technology company, announced that Susumu Kitagawa, Professor at the Institute for Integrated Cell–Material Sciences at Kyoto University, Japan, has been named the sixteenth recipient of the Emanuel Merck Lectureship. He is being recognized for his pioneering scientific work in the field of metal organic frameworks (MOFs). His fundamental contributions to the development of this innovative class of nanoporous materials could lead to new ways of capturing, storing and releasing gases. Broadly speaking, MOFs could contribute to improving the state of our planet by helping to fight climate change.
“I am thankful for the honor bestowed upon me today for my work as a scientist,” said Kitagawa on receiving the news about this distinction. “My big dream is to synthesize very important chemicals such as amino acids directly from an ubiquitous element: air. When you think of it, all the elements are right there: oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, but also hydrogen in moisture. I’m not sure I will actually be able to achieve that, but I can encourage young researchers in this direction.”
“We are honoring an outstanding scientist whose contribution to mankind might not be visible to everyone now, but will be sooner or later,” said Klaus Griesar, Head of Science Relations at Merck. “This science prize not only serves to promote scientific exchange with internationally recognized researchers, but it also provides insights into front-line scientific research. It fits in well with Merck as a science and technology company and complements chemical research at the Technische Universität Darmstadt.”
The Emanuel Merck Lectureship was jointly established by Merck and the Technische Universität Darmstadt in 1992. It recognizes globally renowned scientists who have made superb contributions to chemical and pharmaceutical research. From 1993 to the present day, the award has been granted to 16 eminent scientists from all over the world. The prize, worth € 30,000, was presented to Kitagawa on May 13, 2019 during a public lecture at the Hörsaal- und Medienzentrum at the Lichtwiese campus of TU Darmstadt. At 5 p.m., the prize winner was hold a lecture entitled “Welcome to Small Spaces – Chemistry and Application of Porous Coordination Polymers /Metal-Organic Frameworks”.
Kitagawa’s development of nanoporous materials could lead to new ways of capturing, storing and releasing gases like in a cage with bars so small as to lock gas molecules inside it. In essence, metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are such cages. They combine metallic knots and organic ligands that hold them together. By combining different types of metals and ligands, the size and shapes of the pores can be controlled, which means MOFs can be used to capture or release gases on a molecular scale.
The potential applications are very wide, but certain fields are already quite promising, such as gas storage (typically for methane, hydrogen or CO2 ), gas separation (which would be useful in the field of air quality, for capturing harmful molecules for example), gas transformation – using the catalytic properties of MOFs – as well as for making high-sensitivity gas sensors. Capturing and re-using gases in these cages could help develop clean technologies to tackle climate change and open up new possibilities in energy storage.
Apart from the Emanuel Merck Lectureship, Merck honors science and scientist with many other awards. The latest addition to this is the Future Insight Prize, which was announced in July 2018 and will be awarded for the first time in July 2019. Merck aims to give up to € 1 billion annually for the next 35 years to incentivize people whose work has enabled significant progress towards making this vision a reality by discovering new ground-breaking science or by developing enabling technologies. This year’s prize will be granted for a visionary product to protect humanity from a new pandemic threat.
Fast and competent repair centers
Flender and Wikov announce service cooperation
Flender, Bocholt and Wikov Industry a.s., Prague announce a comprehensive service cooperation for gear units from other manufacturers. Both companies look forward to this long-term and sustainable partnership. Plant operators will benefit from Flender’s and Wikov’s comprehensive service portfolio, now also available for gear units from other manufacturers. The key objective is to provide customers a one-stop-service, globally.
Plant availability is the key driver of economic success across many industries. Frequently, components from multiple manufacturers are deployed in a single application, which increases complexity of maintenance for operators. Flender’s and Wikov’s cooperation will enable their customers to benefit from a one-stop-service. Both companies are leading gear unit specialists, and well known for their comprehensive and competent service portfolio.
By combining resources, their customers will benefit from Flender’s service network with more than 50 repair centers globally. Short distances between a customer’s plant and a service center are a cornerstone of the business model, which ensures flexible and fast execution combined with Flender’s proven highest quality.
“Our global set-up enables us to serve customers fast, and exactly according to their needs. This is key to further increase our customers’ plant availability.” says Nevzat Oezcan, General Manager Flender Customer Service.
Wikov has extensive and long-lasting experience regarding spare parts for gear units from other manufacturers, and hence can provide these with highest quality in short time. “Our engineering know-how enables us to offer customers our comprehensive service portfolio for all gear units, irrespective of the manufacturer.” states Antonín Růžička, Managing Director of Wikov.
Customers across the globe now can rely on a single service partner for all gear units, due to the combination of customer proximity, highest quality and availability of spare parts, and the long-lasting service experience from Flender and Wikov. In addition, both companies will continue to offer their service portfolio for their original products.
Award for Young European Investigators
This year’s research prize goes to Austria
In 2019, the Hamburg life science company is presenting its highly prestigious research prize for the 24th time. The independent Eppendorf Award Jury chaired by Prof. Reinhard Jahn selected Dr. Georg Winter, Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria, as the 2019 winner of the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators.
The Award ceremony took place at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, on June 27, 2019. The laudatio honoring Georg Winter’s achievements was held by Award Jury Chairman Prof. Reinhard Jahn of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen.
Georg Winter, born 1985, receives the € 20,000 prize for his pioneering work developing a method for targeting specific proteins for degradation using heterobifunctional chemical compounds to specifically recruit ubiquitin E3 ligases to the intended protein target for destruction.
The Jury: “This powerful system enables targeting of previously undruggable targets and shows promise both in cells and in vivo in model systems as an emerging therapy.” Georg Winter’s work has led to a fury of excitement across pharmaceutical companies and has resulted in several patents; it holds promise to yield novel therapies for cancer and other diseases of unmet need.
“I felt incredibly honored and humbled when I learned that I will be awarded with the 2019 Eppendorf Award. This price recognizes our work in innovating a generalizable solution to targeted protein degradation in vivo. We are pursuing this new therapeutic paradigm towards our ultimate goal of degrading disease-relevant proteins that are thus far deemed ‘undruggable’. My contribution to this exciting field would not have been possible without groundbreaking work from esteemed peers, the amazing support from mentors, and close and fruitful collaborations with colleagues in the lab.”
Georg Winter, Principal Investigator at the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
With the Eppendorf Award for Young European Investigators, which was established in 1995, Eppendorf AG honors outstanding work in biomedical research and supports young scientists in Europe up to the age of 35. The Eppendorf Award is presented in partnership with the scientific journal Nature. The Award winner is selected by an independent committee composed of Prof. Reinhard Jahn (Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany), Prof. Dieter Häussinger (Clinic for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology, Düsseldorf, Germany), Prof. Maria Leptin (EMBO, Heidelberg, Germany), Prof. Martin J. Lohse (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association, Berlin, Germany), and Prof. Laura Machesky (Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Glasgow, UK).
The history of the Coburg compressed air specialist, Kaeser Kompressoren truly is a remarkable story. Although many a company celebrates its centenary, they cannot all boast such sustained and continuously positive development. A look behind the scenes.
Kaeser is active all over the world in its centenary year, 2019. However, the general public rarely comes face to face with the compressed air specialist’s products. Only the portable compressors catch the eye with their black and yellow livery and attractive design, when used for road construction work. Compressed air stations tend to be hidden away in outbuildings. Yet Kaeser compressors are just as likely to be found in power stations in Australia as in Peruvian gold mines, used by aerospace engineers in the US, fish farms in Norway, car manufacturers in Germany, at the Cern particle accelerator in Switzerland, on ski pistes in Austria, on Arabian oil fields or the weaving mills in Asia. Compressed air is just as vital as electricity. No company with an industrial production line can get by without compressed air. Today, Kaeser has a global presence. Its customers range in size from craftsman’s establishments to large-scale industry.
It all began in a small workshop in Coburg’s Hahnweg. The old buildings are still standing in which Carl Kaeser senior started producing spare parts and engines for cars, along with gear wheels and special machines for the glass industry, with a team of eight employees and two apprentices in June 1919. Business was booming. Within a few years, the company was to employ a 150-strong workforce. After World War II, virtually the entire customer base fell by the wayside as most were located in Thuringia and Saxony – and thus on the other side of the border. Taking advantage of the available automotive expertise, production was adapted without further ado to similar products: reciprocating compressors. Thus began Kaeser’s successful focus on compressed air. In 1948, the first reciprocating compressor rolled off the Hahnweg production line as the company continued to evolve.
Further challenges emerged during the mid-1960s. In retrospect, it may perhaps be described as the first technological shift. Screw compressors came onto the market. Once again, Kaeser spearheaded the change with its very own invention: Sigma Profile was born. Developed in-house, it is a rotary screw airend with a special energy-efficient rotor profile that was groundbreaking at the time. Since then, Sigma Profile has been the centrepiece of every Kaeser rotary screw compressor; needless to say, it is also refined on an ongoing basis. Screw rotors are interconnected spirals with helical lobes.
This innovative spirit pervades the company to this day, resulting in a steady stream of innovations in compressed air technology and applying equally to hardware, software and services. From the refrigeration dryer to revolutionary controllers (Sigma Air Manager 4.0), from the portable compressor to completely new business models, where the customer basically only purchases the compressed air, through to digitalisation and Industrie 4.0, Kaeser still blazes a trail in the industry for the cost-effective, reliable, efficient generation and use of compressed air, thanks to its innovative, top-quality products and services. Most production facilities are located in Germany, with sales and service available in every corner of the globe.
The company’s early international expansion was a vital aspect of its growth. The first branch opened in Switzerland in 1978, with Austria and France following hot on its heels. Today, Kaeser has more than 50 own subsidiaries and is represented by exclusive contract partners in over 100 countries. Kaeser Kompressoren employs in excess of 6000 staff worldwide, many of whom have been loyal for decades.
How was this achieved? The company’s secret recipe is an unwavering passion for innovation, sound engineering expertise, close customer contact and an awareness of their needs, combined with exceptional quality standards, a good dose of common sense and the main ingredients: excellent teams and strong family ties. However, family does not just refer to the owner family, Thomas Kaeser and Tina-Maria Vlantoussi-Kaeser, now the third generation to manage the company, while the fourth has also just come on board, in the form of their son Alexander Jan Kaeser. All staff are considered family at Kaeser. This is evident in the high apprenticeship rate, well above average, and the extremely long service record of the employees, usually more than 30 years. But it is also reflected in the company’s business development: for 100 years without fail, the operating result has been positive. Even in 2009, the year of the global crisis. From Anchorage to Auckland, Coburg or Kauai, Kaeser is a family-owned company with strong ties to Germany; it views the entire world as its home turf and offers ‘Made in Germany’ quality from start to finish. The next innovative chapter is just waiting to be written.