Ever since the company was founded in 1933, innovation has been a top priority for Memmert.
By adapting the Peltier element for more powerful laboratory equipment, the company could position itself as a pioneer in the industry sector by 2000. With Advanced Peltier Technology, the innovative lead was further extended and new standards were set in the areas of energy efficiency, economy and performance. Users of Memmert climate chambers and temperature control devices worldwide have since benefitted from decreased energy consumption costs and a reduced carbon footprint.
As one of the leading suppliers of temperature control appliances worldwide, and with almost a century of expertise, Memmert is therefore the ideal brand for the perfect climate in the market.
The company’s wide scope of products and applications range from industrial material and component testing to biological, chemical and food research, quality tests in sophisticated production processes to human and veterinary medicine.
Speaking from the Technical Advice Department, Ralf Achtnicht sat down to talk about the Memmert climate chambers, showing innovation must go hand in hand with ecological and economic benefits to lead the industry.
How long have you been working for Memmert? What are your main responsibilities?
I started working for Memmert about 30 years ago as a holiday worker while studying electrical engineering. I have been working as an electrical engineer in the field of development for 25 years and have been able to help design the last three generations of Memmert laboratory devices. My main tasks include the electronics, the control technology and the programming of the firmware for the precision-based temperature controller.
Before we have a closer look at the technical information, could you please sum up the evolution of Memmert technology that brings us to the present day’s climate chambers?
Originally, there were only heated incubators, but customers increasingly demanded cooled incubators, which is how the product family of cooled incubators was born.
In the beginning, all cooled incubators were cooled with a compressor. Especially with small chamber volumes, the refrigeration machine was disproportionately large compared to the interior space of the devices. Our approach then was to integrate Peltier technology as a space-saving solution. Unlike today, energy efficiency was not the motivating factor at that time.
Since 1998, Memmert researched and developed Peltier technology for incubators in order to then launch the first Peltier-cooled incubator series IPP onto the market on ACHEMA 2000 in Frankfurt.
With climate chambers being the innovation lead of the company, how do the Memmert products distinguish themselves from the competition as far as technical innovation is concerned?
Memmert was one of the first to recognise the potential of Peltier technology. Cooling volumes larger than a shoebox with this technology was unimaginable at that time.
In the beginning, Memmert also only had Peltier devices with an interior volume of 30 or 50 litres. However, this has changed greatly over the years and today Memmert does not shy away from wall-sized Peltier chambers with an interior volume of more than 2m³.
Peltier modules (TEMs) are relatively sensitive components that quickly lose their service life due to rapid changes in temperature and current. Because Memmert developed the electronics and the software itself, we were able to develop a particularly gentle and careful control for the Peltier modules.
This has made a lasting contribution to making Peltier technology great for laboratory applications, since Peltier modules have almost never failed, even in years of continuous operation.
How does the Advanced Peltier Technology help to improve the products over their previous versions?
In 2019, Memmert looked around the world, visiting thermoelectric experts and manufacturers to find the ideal technology, knowledge and the best partners for cooled incubators.
We originally aimed to increase efficiency by 30% internally, but the tests with the new Advanced Peltier Technology have shown that there is greater potential in the technology.
For this purpose, every single component and every line of software was trimmed for efficiency and performance.
The result is the constant climate chamber HPPeco, a new product with an unprecedented level of efficiency.
With respect to energy consumption, tell us about the efficiency of the Peltier-cooled incubator IPPeco, and the constant climate chamber HPPeco? How do these figures come in handy for certain applications?
Climate chambers, and cooled incubators in particular, run mainly over very long periods. The longer the runtime, the greater the impact on the efficiency of the device.
If the constant climate chamber is also located in an air-conditioned room, the energy consumption of the air conditioning must also be added. Whereas a compressor-cooled climate chamber of the same volume needs around 500W at 30°C or 60% rH, the HPPeco needs just 90W.
At an electricity price of €0.28/kWh ($0.33/kWh), monthly electricity costs amount to €102 ($120), while the comparable HPPeco with Advanced Peltier Technology only costs €18 ($21). Thus, annual electricity costs of more than €1,000 ($1,181) can be saved in continuous operation.
This results in huge differences in the operating costs over the lifetime of a climate chamber, which is good for your expenses and the climate.
A desired side effect is that the device emits much less waste heat and so the temperature at the installation site remains much more pleasant.
A lot of concern is placed on the carbon footprint of climate chambers. Being the innovation leader, how far has your innovations come along in making it possible?
Memmert devices have always been considered to be very durable. At the moment, around 400g of CO₂ is released into the atmosphere for each kWh of electricity generated. Whereas a compressor-operated climate chamber generating 500W a year requires around 1.7t of CO₂ emissions, the HPPeco, with Advanced Peltier Technology, only needs 0.32t.
What are some easily overlooked but widely used applications that require Memmert climate chambers?
The constant climate chambers of the HPPeco series, with Advanced Peltier Technology, are ideal where constant climate conditions are required in long-term operation.
Compared to compressor-cooled incubators, IPPeco is extremely quiet and low in vibration. This predestines the chamber for many sensitive applications, such as in biology for the cultivation of model organisms such as roundworms or fruit flies, as well as the cultivation of mushrooms or yeasts, and in protein biology for the cultivation of crystals.
Equipped with additional lighting (day-night rhythm), the cooled incubator is suitable for growing plants in zoology as well.
What are the main advantages of a Peltier cooled product over contemporary products in the market?
The Memmert Advanced Peltier Technology devices are extremely quiet, produce low vibration and are precision-based with regard to the spatial and temporal temperature and humidity constancy.
What’s more, the technology shows unmatched economic efficiency in energy consumption. Due to the refrigerant-free cooling, the maintenance effort is reduced and there are no problems with later disposal.
From your perspective, do you think the present state of innovation is future proof?
Technical development never stops. What was at the top ten years ago must now be critically examined as to whether it still meets the requirements in terms of efficiency, ecology and customers’ needs.
What innovations or research can you share with our readers?
Memmert is also good for surprises in the future!
Visit Memmert’s company profile for more information on the above products.