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Vacuum Technology in the Lab Quiet, Clean and Powerful Vacuum Technology for Analytics

| Author / Editor: Alexander Kaiser, Ralf Funke* / Marc Platthaus

The requirements profile expected of modern analysis systems such as mass spectrometers or electron microscopes is complex and varied. The ever higher performances required by users also demand innovative vacuum technology solutions to meet these standards.

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Fig.1: The ever higher performances of i.e. electron microscopes also demand innovative vacuum technology solutions.
Fig.1: The ever higher performances of i.e. electron microscopes also demand innovative vacuum technology solutions.
(Source: © beawolf/Fotolia.com)

Vacuum pumps are an integral component of mass spectrometer systems, for instance, in which the composition of a variety of substances is examined. Oil sealed rotary vane pumps have established themselves in this field. Over the last few years, however, many customers have increasingly been asking for oil-free alternatives that would enable them to avoid oil vapors and regular oil changes in a clean lab environment.

“We pick up on such demand very quickly because we monitor the market closely and keep in constant touch with major manufacturers and research labs”, emphasizes Leybold’s forevacuum product manager, Alexander Kaiser. That enables the company to get involved in the development of new devices at an early stage, respond to changing requirements and align its development strategy accordingly.

In recent years the Cologne-based vacuum specialist, which has been a part of the Atlas Copco group since September 2016, has regularly brought out much-improved vacuum solutions for Analytical technology.

Low noise level, space-saving design

The latest innovation for analysis and lab applications is the Ecodry plus, the newly developed product range of dry compressing, multi-stage Roots vacuum pumps. Compared with competitor products, it offers a very low noise level as well as a space-saving design alongside a high vacuum performance. That puts the ultra-modern Roots pump firmly in the tradition of previous Leybold innovations.

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“The basic idea behind the Ecodry plus was to produce a clean, compact and low-maintenance pump in the 40 to 60 m3/h size class as needed in the quiet and clean environments of Analytical and Research Labs”, Alexander Kaiser adds. This class of pumps is something of a transitional stage between small lab devices and large, loud machines. “And it's in this positioning that the innovation lies. We have managed to make the pump as compact, easy to use and quiet as you would otherwise expect only of much smaller units”, says the product manager. It was back in early 2014 that Leybold launched the Turbovac i range of turbomolecular pumps with integrated drive electronics specifically for the Analytical market and Research and Development processes. And the Turbolab high vacuum turbopump system has been in successful use in labs and research facilities around the world since 2015.

Flexible and convenient with non-contact rotor design

All three aforementioned vacuum solutions were developed to meet specific requirements on systems such as mass spectrometers and electron microscopes. They offer users a high degree of convenience, vacuum capacity and flexibility. These attributes were also part of the specifications for the Ecodry plus.

One of the outstanding features of the Roots pump is its quiet operation. With an average reading of 52 dB(A), it boasts a very low noise level and operates at well below the noise level at which humans would find it offensively obtrusive. The noise level of the Ecodry plus is below that of a conversation conducted at typical room volume. Measured against the products of its class, it produces the lowest noise emissions in day-to-day operation, setting new standards.

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