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Collaboration extended by a further two years
European Space Agency and Merck Expand Cooperation



News, Pharmaceuticals

Merck, a science and technology company, and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed a Letter of Intent to extend by a further two years their cooperation agreement from 2016. The two partners will continue to cooperate intensively in the fields of innovation, digitalization and materials research. With respect to innovation, the focus will be on the fields of Biosensing and Biointerfaces, Clean Meat and Liquid Biopsy technologies.

“It is our goal to continue and intensify the exchange between ESA and Merck in a targeted manner. Scientific progress is the key to improving the lives of millions of people. Partnerships, such as this one with ESA, help to accelerate this progress and thus to achieve objectives faster.”

Kai Beckmann, CEO Performance Materials and member of the Executive Board of Merck

“The profile and strategic interests of both organizations complement each other superbly,” said Rolf Densing, Director of Operations and Head of the European Space Operations Center (ESOC) at ESA. “This allows both partners to openly share and make use of synergies in terms of competences, methods and tools.”

Merck and ESA began cooperating in 2011 and had most recently extended their partnership in 2016. The focus of the agreement signed today is on the following topics:

Innovation: Future projects will be derived from the three strategic innovation fields of the Merck Innovation Center (Biosensing and Biointerfaces, Clean Meat and Liquid Biopsy technologies). The aim is to make contributions that will further the development of human space exploration.

Moreover, both partners will further share their experience and competence in the area of innovation processes, for instance, in stimulating innovation in both organizations in the context of the Merck Innovation Center or via the newly established managerial position of Innovation Officer on the ESA side.

The topic of Biosensing and Biointerfaces focuses mainly on the interface between biology and digitalization. By applying data analysis tools, faster and more precise (remote) monitoring and treatment will be enabled  in numerous disease areas. The focus of Clean Meat is on the biotechnology required to produce genuine meat grown in vitro. The third innovation field targets technological solutions to overcome unresolved challenges in the liquid biopsy workflow to detect diseases sooner and more readily.

Digitalization: Digitalization offers significant potential for ESA and Merck. Both organizations therefore aim to continue the exchange between their scientists and engineers on new and innovative technologies such as automation and autonomy concepts, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, simulation, and Big Data, and virtual reality methods for laboratory and exploration activities on both sides.

Materials Research: The development of new, high-performance materials is a core activity of ESA and Merck. Potential collaboration fields include liquid crystal technologies, coatings, and semiconductors.

Beyond the specific development of innovations, an intensive dialogue on future topics is also part of the collaboration. For example, in recent years, a series of events and activities have taken place. These include a co-hosted hackathon as well as a presentation by German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter for selected scientists at Merck in Darmstadt. At the Innovation and Leadership in Aerospace Conference in 2018 in Berlin, Kai Beckmann and Rolf Densing were members of a panel discussion entitled “Space meets Non-Space”. As the only non-space industry partner, Merck participated for the second time in a cross-industry challenge at ESA’s second Space Exploration Masters last year. The topic of the winning team was use of bioreactors in space to solve the problem of having an autonomous food and oxygen supply at a lunar base.

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Expansion of the Lyon location
Expertise for advanced analysis



Advanced analysis: Endress+Hauser expands competence center in Lyon. Picture: Endress + Hauser
Advanced analysis: Endress+Hauser expands competence center in Lyon. (Picture: Endress + Hauser)

Endress + Hauser has expanded its center of competence for advanced analysis in Lyon, France. The Group invested 2 million euros in a new production facility and office space to meet the growing demand in the area of advanced process analyses.

From Lyon, around 20 employees support Endress + Hauser sales centers across Europe in the application and sales of advanced analysis technology, with a focus on the project business and after-sales services. Ten sales centers across Europe already have specialists on board to handle this complex field of activity.

Customer-specific manufacturing

The new 630-square-meter production facility will be used for customer-specific manufacturing and the assembly of complete analysis systems. Rounding out the facility are offices, rooms for factory acceptance tests and space reserved for future use. The adjacent 1,500-square-meter office building, which opened in 2017, is also home to the Endress + Hauser France regional sales office. With a total of 7,000 square meters, the property offers sufficient space to grow the location even further.

Strategic focus

“The expansion of the Lyon location allows us to do an even better job of bringing our expertise in the field of process analysis to our customers,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress + Hauser Group, during the dedication ceremony on 17 July 2019. “This is an important strategic goal for us and helps our customers acquire more information from their processes.”

Analysis portfolio expands

Advanced analysis provides immediate information related to material properties and product quality. The company continuously develops its analysis portfolio to provide online monitoring of quality parameters, for example through spectroscopic techniques. This allows customers to reduce time to market and optimize their processes. Customers in industries such as life sciences, chemical, food & beverage and oil & gas can benefit the most from Endress + Hauser’s advanced analysis portfolio.

Advanced technologies

The Lyon location combines the expertise of the firm and its subsidiaries Kaiser Optical Systems and SpectraSensors under one roof. The Raman analyzers from Kaiser Optical Systems are used to examine the composition and material properties of liquids, gases and solids and enable the real-time measurement of product characteristics. SpectraSensors is a leader in the field of TDLAS technology, which can be used to reliably measure trace-level concentrations of gases.

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New clutch generation




Special couplings for particularly demanding applications in the industrial sector. The new clutch generation from Flender: More power. More effectiveness. Cost less.

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Compact industrial barcode printer
Top drawer label printers



TSC Auto ID Technology EMEA Top drawer label printers
Picture: TSC Auto ID Technology

Space-saving footprint like a desktop printer due to downsized dimensions, but powerful as an industrial printer – TSC’s new ML240P series covers exactly the niche of high demand in the market. Both versatile top-class all-rounders impress with their strong connectivity features and excellent printing quality while being extremely economical and flexible. The two models are equipped with a clear colour display ensuring a high operating comfort.

The thermal transfer printers ML240P and ML340P will be available on the EMEA market from June 2019. In comparison to the already very compact TSC models in this sector the dimensions of this new generation of high-performance industrial label printers have been reduced again significantly.

The intelligent combination of solid metal housing including media spindle, modularized base and modern printing technology enables a permanently steady, low-noise and at the same time highly efficient operation even with demanding applications. The adjustable longlife thermal printhead and self-diagnostic TPH Care mechanism ensure optimal print quality with various label materials. Bad dot detection offers the user peace of mind by alerting them to any pins in the head which might have blown – which otherwise would repeatedly produce unreadable barcodes without any way of noticing before it came to scanning.

The ML240P is available in 203 dpi printing resolution, the ML340P is available in strong 300 dpi printing resolution. Besides comprehensive sensors and modern interfaces, both models in particular also provide the user with a high definition 2.3” colour display with intuitive, customizable operator guidance and six menue buttons as prominent standard features.

Material changes can be realized quickly because the cover can be lifted up entirely. Due to the sophisticated printing mechanism the replacement of printhead and platen roller is possible without the need of tools, saving time and reducing cost of ownership.

With their small footprint of just 818 cm² the new reliable printers can also be used in restricted working environments where space is a premium. The range of applications is not limited for the ML models: The spectrum ranges from use in warehousing and logistics including goods in and despatch to manufacturing as well as to product- and shelf-labelling in retail and labelling of sample tubes and patient wristbands in the health sector.

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