Product News: Starlab: A look back at a quarter of a century of science and corporate history

Shaping a greener future in laboratories

30 May 2023

Whether it's decoding the human genome, pioneering cell reprogramming technology or developing a vaccine that saves millions of lives, it all usually starts with simple tools and techniques, a petri dish and a pipette tip. Pipette tips like TipOne® from Hamburg-based labware manufacturer, Starlab. They are so much more than just a piece of plastic. They are the foundation of the scientific process, the first steps on the path to changing the world. With its 25th anniversary, Starlab Group, specialising in liquid handling technology and laboratory products, is celebrating not only its successful existence and the birthday of its TipOne product, but also the advances and innovations it has driven in the laboratory industry.

"Over the years, we have focused on developing innovative solutions that meet the needs of research and analytics. Working closely with scientists and professionals, we have developed products that increase efficiency, improve accuracy and optimise laboratory workflows. Our products have established themselves as reliable partners in numerous research areas," says Klaus Ambos, CEO of Starlab International GmbH. "We look with pride at our heritage and all that scientists have achieved with the help of our products. But our work is far from done," he adds.

1998: A turning point in the pipette industry - the birth of TipOne

Twenty-five years ago, TipOne revolutionized the world of pipettes and set a new standard for compatibility and ease of use. Prior to the introduction of TipOne in May 1998, researchers and laboratory technicians had struggled with the challenges of pipette tip incompatibility. Different pipette models from different suppliers led to problems with the fit of the tips. "Starlab had a visionary idea: to develop pipette tips that are compatible with all common pipettes. TipOne was born in May 1998,” comments Ambos. “From then on, for the first time, researchers and technicians could use a single tip that fit their pipettes perfectly - regardless of the manufacturer. Since then, TipOne has proven to be a reliable companion in laboratories all over the world and has become an icon. A unique innovation has optimised workflows, increased efficiency and improved pipetting accuracy." Today, research facilities around the world use TipOne daily. 

25 years of sustainable journey

In 2014, the next innovation: Starlab introduced the TipOne sterile tip refill system as a cost-effective and more environmentally friendly alternative to the sterile disposable tip. The sterile refill system meets the high demands of any laboratory for high-purity tips and filter tips. Klaus Ambos, "We are thus enabling scientists to work even more environmentally consciously in the laboratory. With the completely redesigned 1-mL tip, we were able to reduce polypropylene consumption per tip by around 40 per cent compared to the previous model and significantly reduce the size and packaging of the refill option." In the first five years after the introduction of the redesigned TipOne system alone, Starlab has saved around 515 tons of plastic as a result.

The 3 Rs for a green future: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Starlab is actively shaping another trend in science. Under the ethos of reduce, reuse and recycle, the company brings the topic of sustainability and recycling to the industry. For more than 20 years, Starlab has actively promoted plastic conservation with its TipOne pipette tip system. By using reusable tip racks and plastic-saving refills, the manufacturer significantly reduces plastic waste. The entire system is made of recyclable polypropylene, with the exception of the HDPE bag for loose tips. Starlab successfully introduced collection systems for TipOne plastics in various countries. "As a manufacturer of plastics, we have a special responsibility. Our TipOne Rack can be reused more than 100 times, even autoclaved more than 100 times. With our collection systems, we ensure that our plastics are recycled again. Together with our customers, we are working towards a greener future," says the Starlab CEO.

More than just tips

In a quarter of a century, the Starlab Group has built up a broad product portfolio with subsidiaries in Germany, France, the UK and Italy as well as worldwide distributors. In addition to pipette tips, this includes laboratory consumables such as single-channel and multi-channel pipettes, cell culture and PCR consumables, nitrile and latex gloves, as well as a wide brand range of instruments such as PCR workbenches, centrifuges or mixers for general laboratory use. Starlab also offers a comprehensive pipette service available to pipettes from all manufacturers. "We strive to continuously develop innovative solutions that meet the needs and requirements of our customers. We want to make our contribution to sustainable and efficient laboratory practices. We look forward to continue working closely with researchers, technicians and laboratories to push the boundaries of what is possible together," explains Ambos.

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