CAPTION : HALT & HASS tech station engineer at Resolution Circle are using the Weiss Climate Testing chamber, which was supplied by Labotec. This highly specialised unit has the required technical specifications to offer a one-stop shop to any client for climate, vibration and stress screening of various scenarios to simulate the environment at an accelerated pace.
Resolution Circle was established in 2012 under the auspices of National Skills Foundation (NSF) and University of Johannesburg as a centre of excellence for developing business technology ideas from prototype to small-scale manufacture by assisting in the various areas that require highly specialised or expensive machine testing. These areas are often seen as a barrier to entry for the start-up companies or entrepreneurs due to the costly nature thereof or specialised expertise needed, or the service may only be required during the prototype and initial development stage. Resolution Circle therefore plays its part as an outsourced alternative for once-offs, prototypes and initial production runs. Deborah Shaw from scientific company Labotec spoke to two of the tech stations at Resolution Circle; HALT / HASS (highly accelerated life testing & stress screening) as well as the Chemistry and Applied Biotechnology facility, on how they are applying the equipment they procured from Labotec in their respective stations for their end purpose and a breakthrough they recently made on the verge of commercialisation.
HALT & HASS accelerates failure and breaking point
The HALT & HASS tech station engineers are using the Weiss Climate Testing chamber, which was supplied by Labotec. This highly specialised unit met the required technical specifications to offer a one-stop shop for climate, vibration and stress screening for various scenarios to simulate the environment at an accelerated pace. Anyone in industry can approach Resolution Circle for simulated testing on pre-determined specifications. If for example an electronic unit is designed and tested for durability, and it fails the test, advice and recommendations from the Resolution Circle engineers is provided, and the unit can be re-designed, prototyped and tested again until it’s ready for submission to SABS for certification.
This can save valuable time, overheads and cost. Other examples of applications using the Weiss environmental chamber include exposing electronic devices or mechanical equipment to extreme height (10 000 feet) or at particular temperatures that may be experienced in an aircraft. Or railway vibration tests for durability and life expectancy. Or future tests for longevity estimates. This list goes on and the applications are endless for environmental and stress testing in industry.
Chemistry lab & biotech facility for scalable process makes a discovery
The aim of Resolution Circle’s chemistry lab is to demonstrate scalable chemistry and biotech processes, and in so doing also demonstrate the flexibility of said processes adapted to smaller or larger volumes, which may extend to capabilities in process modelling, nanotechnology, applied commercial research, process development or reverse engineering. For this, the lab uses an array of equipment supplied by Labotec, such as the Labotec Eco-therm ovens, Elga Purewater Purelab Flex purification system, Integra pipettes, etc. To illustrate how the science can work in industry the lab is currently developing water treatment processes for acid mine drainage, inter alia. Other experiments involve optimising a process by using the reaction heat generated to achieve another reaction,thus eliminating an external heating step. Upon scale-up, this step removal may save millions of rands.
According to Joseph Walker, Commercialisation Scientist at Resolution Circle, “We are presently commercialising fluorescent biochemical labelling agents for imaging at the nanometer scale”. These nanotech products are used as fluorescent dye to image DNA and proteins using gold nanoparticles smaller than 2nm, enabling geneticists and cell biologists to study developmental genetic stages using fluorescent markers. This range of products represents a breakthrough in highlighting tissues at the molecular level and is currently being developed for commercialisation set for release in the US market.