Like many industries, the analytical instrumentation market was hit by COVID-19 and this affected business on a global scale.
However, we’re now six months on from the pandemic going global and there’s a sense of optimism in the market. Many companies are back to business almost as usual and the start of 2021 presents itself as fresh start for everyone, rife with opportunity.
There’s so much potential in analytical instrumentation. With the technology to establish materials’ composition, analytical instruments are crucial to manufacturing and R&D. This means they have applications in a variety of major industries. Within the life sciences sector alone, this includes pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals and more.
As a specialist recruiter in this space, I’m often talking with my colleagues about the companies which are the ‘ones to watch’, ‘innovators’ or ‘diamonds in the rough’. When this happens, it’s easy to talk about the major players like Thermo Fisher, Agilent & PerkinElmer which will of course have an exciting 2020. However, this year I’ve come across some smaller companies that are also set for a big year. These are the companies that you need to know about.
Egyptian innovator, Si-Ware Systems, provides groundbreaking and cost-effective spectral sensors, scanners and customized solutions that can be used in a wide variety of material sensing applications.
Si-Ware Systems has two main businesses: ASIC Solutions and Optical MEMS Technology.
ASIC Solutions provides custom ASIC development and supply, specializing in analog/mixed-signal and RF design. Focus areas of expertise for ASICs include sensor interfaces and MEMS, wireless, timing and power management.
Optical MEMS Technology has developed the worlds’ first single-chip FT-IR spectrometer under the brand name NeoSpectra - using its unique platform, the Silicon integrated Micro Optical Systems Technology (SiMOST).
Its this technology that has led to the creation of the award-winning NeoSpectra-Scanner. This handheld material analysis scanner and the first of its kind, with plug-and-play development capability for rapid deployment in the field or on the factory floor.
It has a wide spectral range for many applications including smart farming, smart food, smart healthcare, smart consumer and smart industry. Other potentially large markets where demand is rising include medicinal cannabis, where spectroscopy can help with both soil and product analysis, and sorting of plastic waste.
This versatility is part of the reason that market analysts expect the handheld spectral scanner niche to grow by 6-10% (CAGR) by 2023.
Harnessing the power of another type of spectroscopy, photonics, Menlo Systems has also caught my eye this year.
Menlo Systems is a leading developer and global supplier of instrumentation for precision metrology. The company is known for its Nobel Prize winning optical frequency comb technology. However, the product line doesn’t stop there. Menlo Systems also offers solutions for time and frequency distribution, ultrastable lasers, terahertz systems and femtosecond lasers.
There’s a lot of excitement building around the German business, with a recent move to a new headquarters at Bunsenstraße 5 in Martinsried part of this euphoria. The building offers twice the floor space of the previous location and is newly renovated according to the specific needs of a laser manufacturer.
This commitment to a bigger space will allow the company to be more agile, minimise downtime and signifies the growth intentions of Menlo Systems.
With equally ambitious plans, IONICON is also a company to watch after a big announcement in November 2020.
The company has introduced a revolutionary new addition to the space of analytical performance: the PTR3-TOF 10K. This new generation PTR-TOF enables quantification of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and is optimised for the detection of their oxidation products typically present in the parts-per-quadrillion (ppq) range.
The instrument comprises a novel high-resolution TOF, a triple ion source and an advanced inlet system for virtually contact free sample introduction to minimize sampling losses of reactive organic molecules.
This addition to the PTR-TOFMS series will maintain its bestselling standards, thanks to the high resolution and sensitivity it provides.
Elementar has been in the market slightly longer than the companies I’ve mentioned so far, with 120 years’ experience in the elemental analysis space.
The German company is the worldwide leading manufacturer of analytical instruments for non-metallic elements like carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen or chlorine in all organic and the majority of inorganic substances.
One of Elementar’s latest innovations, the enviro TOC, is an environmental and wastewater analysis system. This user-friendly and highly efficient system is optimised for analysing total organic carbon (TOC) and total bound nitrogen (TNb). It promises to deliver a wide range of performance and usability benefits for laboratories.
Building on the success of the long-established vario TOC select system, enviro TOC allows for high-temperature combustion sample analysis with automated performance, minimal downtime and significant ease of use, thanks to its innovative design and labour-saving technologies.
This innovative system puts Elementar in good company, competing with some of the biggest names in wastewater like Suez Water technologies and Xylem.
I expect big things from Elementar, as well as the likes of IONICON, Menlo Sytems and Si-Ware Systems in 2021. Each company has launched a unique, revolutionary product in 2020 and I expect this to fuel success for the year ahead.
With analytical instrumentation destined for continuous growth in the years ahead, I’m excited to see these companies and their competitors innovate and create solutions to improve multiple major industries around the world.
If you'd like to learn more about these companies or share your thoughts on the analytical instrumentation space, please email me at Joe.Bakali@lifesci-cm.com.
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