Connect with us


News

Opening of new natural substance class for applications in medicine and agriculture

Published

on


News, Pharmaceuticals, Processing Technologies

For the first time, researchers in the working groups led by Prof. Tobias Gulder of TU Dresden and Prof. Tanja Gulder of the University of Leipzig have succeeded in elucidating the biosynthetic mechanisms for the production of the natural substance cyanobacterin, which is produced in small quantities in nature by the blue-green alga Scytonema hofmanni. In the process, they also discovered a new class of enzymes for building carbon-carbon bonds. The (bio)chemists are thus significantly expanding the biocatalytic repertoire currently known from nature and opening up new, more sustainable biotechnological application potentials in medicine and agriculture. The results of the collaboration have now been published in the renowned journal Nature Chemical Biology.

The fact that nature is an excellent chemist is demonstrated by the abundance of molecules, the so-called natural substances, that it produces biosynthetically. These natural substances are also of central importance to us humans. They are used in many ways in our everyday lives, especially as active ingredients in medicine and agriculture. Prominent examples are antibiotics such as penicilins isolated from molds, the cancer drug taxol from the Pacific yew tree, and pyrethrins found in chrysanthemums, which are used to combat pest infestations.

Knowledge of nature’s construction kit is essential for the development and production of drugs based on natural substances. In this context, researchers from the working groups led by Prof. Tobias Gulder (TU Dresden) and Prof. Tanja Gulder (University of Leipzig) jointly investigated the biosynthesis of cyanobacterin, which is highly toxic to photosynthetic organisms and is produced in small quantities in nature by the blue-green alga Scytonema hofmanni. In their work, the chemists were not only able to elucidate the formation of the natural substance for the first time, but also discovered a novel enzymatic transformation for the formation of carbon-carbon bonds.

This work was made possible by combining modern tools from bioinformatics, synthetic biology, enzymology and (bio)chemical analytics. The focus was on how the central part of the cyanobacterin carbon skeleton is produced. The putative genes for this were first cloned by the method of “Direct Pathway Cloning” (DiPaC) and activated in the model organism E. coli as a cell factory. DiPaC is a new synthetic biology method previously developed in the laboratory of Tobias Gulder, professor of technical biochemistry at TU Dresden.

“DiPaC allows us to transfer entire natural product biosynthesis pathways into recombinant host systems very quickly and in a targeted manner,” Gulder explains. In the next step, the research team analyzed the essential individual steps of cyanobacterin biosynthesis by additionally producing all key enzymes in the host organism E.coli, isolating them and then investigating the function of each enzyme. In the process, they came across a previously unknown class of enzymes called furanolide synthases. These are capable of catalyzing the formation of unusual carbon-carbon bonds. In further studies of these furanolide synthases, these enzymes proved to be highly efficient in vitro biocatalysts, making them highly attractive for biotechnological applications.

“Furanolide synthases have provided us with a molecular tool that will allow us to develop more environmentally friendly methods for the production of active ingredients in the future and thus make our contribution to a more sustainable chemistry.”

– Prof. Tanja Gulder from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Leipzig

Next, the two research teams want to specifically search for these novel biocatalysts in other organisms as well, and thus find new bioactive members of this natural product class, as well as develop a biotechnological production and structural diversification of cyanobacterin. “Our work paves the way for the comprehensive development of an exciting class of natural products for applications in medicine and agriculture,” agree the two scientists.

 

News

Extruder for Continuous Battery Compound Processing

Published

on

Two Coperion ZSK Mc18 twin screw extruders are part of the high-performance battery cell production facility planned by Cellforce Group – a joint venture between Porsche AG and Customcells Holding. Beginning in 2024, this new European production site will be a major force in Cellforce Group’s ability to serve the high-performance battery market segment for specialized automotive applications. The demanding manufacturing process will feature both state-of-the art extruders and highly accurate Coperion K-Tron feeders for the continuous production of battery compounds. With their high degree of flexibility, the two extrusion lines will be able to produce a variety of formulations. The continuous process structure ensures they are reproducible at consistently high product quality.

Quality and Cost Efficiency

The outstanding mixing properties of the ZSK twin screw extruders was a key feature in their selection for this process. Their throughput can be precisely controlled to achieve an optimal overall process. The high degree of automation reduces operating costs in comparison to labor- and personnel-intensive discontinuous processes and results in reproducible, continuously high product quality.

Markus Fiedler, Process Technology, Team Leader of Chemical Applications at Coperion, “The excellent mixing behavior of the ZSK twin screw extruders makes it possible to achieve the especially high homogeneity required for the formulation of these high-performance batteries, which contains a high percentage of silicon. Their modular construction also facilitates adaptation to new recipes. Thus, future optimizations, such as the elimination of toxic solvents, can be implemented quickly and without impacting quality.”

One important aspect in the design of the process in general as well as the individual components is the safe isolation of the manufacturing process. Painstaking containment designs prevent impurities and contamination from toxic materials in the workplace and the environment. For this reason, the extruder and the high-accuracy Coperion K-Tron feeders are designed to be dust-tight, fulfilling the highest requirements for maintaining purity of the product and safety of the work environment.

“We are pleased that Coperion has been given the opportunity to contribute to this project with our twin screw extruders, feeders and material handling systems, thereby doing our part to move the energy revolution forward a bit. The Cellforce Group production facility will be the cornerstone for further projects of this kind in Europe,” Martin Doll, Business Segment Manager for Chemical Applications and Batteries at Coperion.

“We’ve reached a milestone here with an innovative process in cell production that allows us to launch a cutting-edge technology in Europe, in terms of both quality and capacity,” added Dr. Markus Gräf, Managing Director of the Cellforce Group.

 

Continue Reading

News

New technology functions for Sinumerik One simplify operation and increase productivity

Published

on

Siemens is expanding its offering around the Sinumerik One “digital native” CNC. The new CNC generation from Siemens, which was introduced to the market in 2019, is also coming up with innovations in software and hardware this year. With the new Sinumerik V6.20 software, there are new technology functions for the Sinumerik One that simplify operation, reduce machine wear, and increase productivity. Siemens is thus demonstrating once again how the powerful Sinumerik One machine tool control system can be optimally used for digital transformation in a highly productive, flexible, and modular way.

 

With the new Y-turning function, Sinumerik One can now be used for machines that turn from the Y-axis, enabling up to 3 times the feed rate and resulting in increased productivity. New tool types were created for this purpose and all turning functionalities and cycles were adapted for these tools.

 

The Advanced Rapid Movement function is also one of the innovations in the technology functions. It enables time-optimized movement, which means that faster movements take place between machining operations. The part program does not have to be changed for this. Overall, machining can be up to ten percent faster. The function must be implemented together with the machine builder.

 

With Reduced Dynamic Mode, there is now a function that reduces wear on the machine and thus increases its availability. The NCK function enables the machine tool builder to automatically transfer the machine tool to reduced operation, for example if the axis becomes too warm. On the other hand, the machine can also be returned to full load. In this way, the Reduced Dynamic Mode enables individual operation in motion.

 

In the area of hardware, there are also innovations for the Sinumerik One that are designed to simplify operation: The new keyboards and Machine Control Panels (MCPs) are now available from 15 to 24 inches consistently to match the HMI. And the Simatic Industrial Thin Clients (ITCs) and industrial PCs are being launched with increased performance and a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels.

 

The new MCPs are also integrated in the digital twin of Sinumerik One (Create and Run MyVirtual Machine), so that the appearance and operation here correspond to the real CNC in every respect. In addition, the digital twin of Sinumerik One has been given new features that simplify engineering and work preparation. To mention just a few of the many innovations: The /3D option offers support for a second channel. In addition, each tool can be assigned an individual color, so that the ablated surfaces are color-coded depending on the tool used. The import of STEP format is an important feature especially for complex geometries of the clamping situation of a turning operation. Collision detection now also offers extensive functionalities such as the display of all collided bodies, NC program line and much more, so that the cause of collisions can be quickly investigated and eliminated.

 

Background information Sinumerik One

Sinumerik One plays a central role in the transformation of machine tools in the age of Industry 4.0, outperforming previous generations of controllers in terms of PLC and CNC performance in machine operation, cutting speed, and data capture and processing power. With its integrated Simatic S7-1500F PLC, it offers up to 10 times faster PLC cycle times. With the Simatic S7-1500F PLC, Sinumerik One is fully integrated into the TIA Portal engineering framework, enabling standardization of all engineering tasks for operators of larger plants. Sinumerik One is fully compatible with the previous Sinumerik 840D sl controller generation in terms of programming and operation. This makes the changeover to Sinumerik One even easier.

With Sinumerik One, Siemens offers the technology to easily create and work with digital twins of machine tools. Work preparation and engineering departments can also benefit from the digital twin. Siemens offers a comprehensive user interface for Sinumerik One that enables convenient, flexible, and efficient operation of machine tools across all technologies.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

News

Use of torsionally rigid metal bellows couplings in Special high-speed test benchs

Published

on

Special high-speed test benches are used to test bearings. In these tests, the effects of different lubricants on the sliding properties of the bearings in the endurance test are checked. The structural design of such a test rig must meet different requirements. The drive is subject to special conditions. In addition to a lateral force-free storage, the coupling is a not to be underestimated component. Essential features in this case are the absolute torsional rigidity, the good damping properties and, of course, the precise and almost powerless compensation of all offset errors between the shaft ends.

 

For such applications, torsionally rigid flexible couplings are generally ideal. The thin metal bellows have in addition to the balancing, also vibration-damping properties. The high flexibility of Jakob’s KSS couplings with its 2-wave bellows and straight adapter and the easy mounting option of the coupling through the use of cone bushings as a shaft-hub connection guarantee a safe transmission of all forces and torques, even with small shaft diameters and torques without additional feather key. The rotationally symmetric design ensures excellent, dynamic operating behavior, even at very high speeds. The high torsional rigidity and the very low restoring forces with shaft misalignment as well as the low moment of inertia characterize the coupling type. Torques from 25 to 2500 Nm are possible. Highest quality in processing and the materials used make the KSS couplings a reliable and economical component. It is used, in addition to the test stands as a highlighted example, also particularly often in servos and actuators.

Continue Reading