Sony DADC wins Löhn Award for advancing microfluidics manufacturing
14 November 2011
The Stuttgart-based Steinbeis Foundation, a global technology
transfer company, has awarded their 2011 Löhn Award to Sony DADC
BioSciences for the transfer of highly dynamic variothermal (HDV)
technology to Sony DADC in Anif, Austria.
The Löhn Award has been awarded annually since 2004, in honour of
Prof Dr Dr h c mult Johann Löhn, who was instrumental in the
technology transfer aspect of the Steinbeis Company.
Reflecting that theme, the Löhn Award recognises outstanding
projects that see the transfer of competitive technology and
knowledge between science and business. Winning projects also have
to have demonstrated effective collaboration and management as well
as producing results with potential for industry applications.
Sony DADC’s award-winning project focused on addressing some of
the challenges in the increasingly popular area of microfluidics and
lab-on-a-chip technologies. The potential of these technologies in
medical science is enormous, but the price of the chips is holding
back some research.
The exacting standards of the equipment cause production
techniques to be complex and costly, with the single-use nature of
the equipment further adding to this. Cost-effective mass
manufacturing of these components is central to seeing the potential
of this technology maximised by a variety of different areas within
the bioscience and pharmaceutical industries.
Working with Watlow, a company designing and manufacturing
thermal solutions, and the Steinbeis Transfer Centre for Plastics,
Sony DADC BioSciences have refined the manufacturing process for
these plastic chips, using injection moulding, to great effect.
Using the thermal expertise of Watlow, they were able to achieve the
rigorous standards expected of the chip’s performance by controlling
the temperature — highly dynamic variothermal (HDV) — during the
injection moulding process. This solution could be utilised
successfully in a commercial environment by Sony DADC, incorporating
it into large-scale production.
“We are proud of the work we have achieved with Watlow and
Steinbeis and very honoured to receive this award in recognition of
our collaborative partnership and technological advancements,” said
Dr Christoph Mauracher, Senior Vice President at Sony DADC
BioSciences. “By addressing the central challenge of chip
manufacture through our collaboration, we are now closer to being
able to offer it as a commercially viable solution for the
This collaborative project began in 2009, and allowed the sharing
of specialist knowledge in commercial microfluidic chip production,
thermal control and the properties of plastic areas between Sony
DADC, Watlow and Steinbeis respectively.