Editorial Article: Carefree osmometry: Tools to cut costs, save time and enhance your results

Meet the expert team working to develop world-class osmometers that advance academic research and the pharma, food and beverage industries.

25 Sep 2020



Dr. Hanna-Maija Hiltunen, product manager at KNAUER

In this SelectScience® interview, we speak with Dr. Hanna-Maija Hiltunen, product manager at KNAUER, about the importance of easy-to-use and reliable osmometers and find out how KNAUER is working to increase lab efficiency by helping customers avoid hidden costs, as well as time-consuming installation and maintenance processes. Dr. Hiltunen also explains why KNAUER is seen as a pioneer in the field of osmometry and shares her thoughts on the future.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at KNAUER

HMH: I originally studied biology before I completed my Ph.D. in plant physiology in Berlin. I now work as product manager for osmometers at KNAUER. Even though I left the research sector I am happy to return to the lab from time to time for testing, developing and improving our products. One of my key roles is to provide customers with robust and reliable products, including easy installation processes and maintenance that can last for many years. 

What type of researchers use osmometers? 

HMH: Our osmometers are used across a broad range of disciplines, including the pharmaceutical industry for the quality control of eye drops, infusion solutions, and basically everything that goes into the body that requires an osmolality level similar to that of blood. An important field is bioprocessing where monitoring the osmolality of buffers and media optimizes different up- and downstream phases e.g. by enhancing cell growth and hence yield. Also during quality control of formulation e.g. in vaccine production osmometers are highly beneficial to the final product. .We also collaborate closely with partners in the food and beverage industry, where our osmometers are currently helping companies produce isotonic sports drinks to benefit athletes. 

What are the key challenges your customers are facing?

HMH: A standard laboratory stores a whole range of different instruments and software systems, with some labs (of course depending on size) containing over 5,000 different pieces of equipment. Even though this number is impressive, it often means that customers must find ways to fund and maintain each piece of instrument, including service costs and training. At KNAUER, we make sure we help our customers avoid these unnecessary time-consuming processes and any hidden costs by providing free, easy to access information detailing how to use and maintain their osmometer. It is our philosophy to provide customers with all the information they need without the need to register their contact details with us. Our website is accessible to all and so is the information needed to run and install our osmometers. 

How does the osmometer carefree package increase lab efficiency?

HMH: The first thing we do is ensure a customer's sample can be effectively measured with our osmometers. To make sure their sample will integrate with our osmometer, we provide the customer with a simple questionnaire. Once we have established the osmometer will meet the needs of our customer, we directly send out a carefree package with complete access to a wealth of free tutorials and information on how to run and maintain their new user-friendly device. We have also prepared a series of easy-to-follow YouTube tutorials tailored to meet the needs of our customer, so they can follow the installation and maintenance steps anytime and anywhere.

What is unique about the service that you provide?

HMH: We are the pioneers of osmometry and have already achieved a long history of success. All of our products are made in Germany and are of the highest quality with our newest freezing point osmometer K-7400S facilitating the easy and fast determination of the osmolality of various aqueous solutions. We also ensure information and support is always made available, without any hidden costs or time-consuming processes. We have the online support and personalized assistance that helps our customers install and use the product by themselves. 

What future developments do you see for this area?

HMH: I predict that the field of osmometry will continue to develop and advance towards complete digitalization and automation, including connectivity with laboratory information management systems (LIMS). Also, here at KNAUER we continue to keep our products up to date and meet the needs of our customers now and in the future.

Your recommendations:

Take a look at what other researchers and scientists all over the world are saying about the latest equipment and technologies in osmometry. Here, expert reviewer Mohamed Abo Badawey, from Amriya Pharmaceutical Industries, shares his opinion on the K-7400S Semi-Micro Osmometer by KNAUER.