2010 Global Distributors Meeting

This month saw an international gathering of Quorum Technologies’ partners as they attended the 2010 Global Distributors’ Meeting and saw new products in action for the first time.

Colleagues from around the world recently took the opportunity to share experiences, learn of new techniques and take part in demonstrations of the latest products at the annual Global Distributors Meeting, held over three days at the Quorum Technologies sites in Ashford and Ringmer, South East England.

Managing Director Kevin Breen said: “Our distributors are absolutely essential to the success of our company, and we really appreciated the effort made to attend the meeting here in the UK.”

Alongside a strong contingent from Europe, distributors arrived from Australia, Japan, China, Korea and the United States – all getting a preview of the Q300TD, which is in the final stages of production. 

Kevin added: “As the latest product in our Q-series range of coaters, this meeting was a great time for distributors to ‘test drive’ the Q300TD before we launch it at the end of the year.”

There was also the chance to gain first-hand experience of using the PP3000T, the latest product in the cryo-SEM range. 

“The PP3000T is a totally new, automated system that combines the highest performance with unparalleled ease of use - a combination that should help take this important technique to a much wider user base,” said Kevin. 

“Given the world-wide coverage our distributors provide, it is difficult to bring them together with our technical and marketing teams in the UK. This meeting was a great success in enabling us to get helpful feedback from the distributors and for them to learn in detail about these new products.”

Click here to find the name and contact details for a distributor near you.

Click here for further information on the PP3000T.

New PP3000T cryo preparation system launched

Building on their position as market leaders in cryo-SEM, Quorum Technologies has launched the PP3000T - a totally new, automated cryo-SEM preparation system that combines the highest performance with unparalleled ease of use.

With the market for cryo-SEM seeing steady growth over recent years, the simplicity and ease of use of the new PP3000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System looks set to establish cryo-SEM as a standard, everyday process for SEM specimen preparation.

“Cryo-SEM is the optimum preparation method to obtain superior results for ‘wet’ or beam-sensitive specimens, including biological systems, foods, polymers, pharmaceuticals, oils, foams and many other materials,” explained Sales & Marketing Director Mike Wombwell.

While earlier cryo-SEM systems were seen as labour intensive, the PP3000T has been designed to make the whole process much simpler for the operator, with automation of processes such as transfer device pumping and on-screen ‘help’ videos for each process step.

Mike continued: “One of the main design principles is ease of set-up and use. Control is via a large intuitive touch screen mounted on the spacious Prepdek™ workstation, giving the operator instant access and control of all the key operating parameters.”

The PP3000T is fully automatic and built around a low mass preparation chamber, which includes tools for specimen fracturing and fully automatic sublimation and sputter coating. The preparation chamber is attached directly to the microscope, and the SEM stage and cold trap are gas-cooled with a temperature range down to -192ºC.

Chamberscope images from the preparation chamber and the SEM are displayed on the control screen, and multiple viewing windows give unsurpassed visibility of the specimen and chamber interior.

The PP3000T is the third product to be introduced to the Quorum Technologies’ range in the past year.

Like all other Quorum Technologies products, the PP3000T comes with a generous three-year warranty and specialised support.

Click here for further information on the PP3000T.

2010 Microscopy and Microanalysis Meeting

Quorum Technologies fielded a strong team at the 2010 Microscopy & Microanalysis (M&M) Meetingearlier this month, taking the opportunity to launch new products into the North American market.

Managing Director Kevin Breen, Sales and Marketing Director Mike Wombwell and Director - Integrated Systems Bob Morrison attended the conference and exhibition, which took place 1-5 August in Portland, Oregon. Supporting them on their exhibition stand was Mike Dufraine from Energy Beam Sciences, distributor for the US.

“This is the major annual North American meeting of the microscopy-related industry,” explained Kevin. 

“It’s supported by the Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society and the Microscopical Society of Canada. As such, many key people involved in specifying and buying new equipment attend to see the latest and best equipment.

Kevin continued: “M&M was a key part of our new products launch strategy and the ideal opportunity to introduce them to the large North American market.”

The products on show included the PP3000T Cryo-SEM Preparation System and Q300TD Dual-Head Bench-Top Sputter Coater - capable of accommodating and coating 6” specimens. Also debuting were the Q150T Turbo-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater and Q150R Rotary-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater

With over 1,500 delegates attending each day, it was great to see such a high level of interest in these products - with a steady stream of SEM users looking at demonstrations of the PP3000T in particular.

“Based on very positive feedback, we think the PP3000T will be chosen for a number of new installations in North America over the coming year, and look forward to a busy time fitting these units at key sites. Between ourselves and Energy Beam Sciences Inc, we took a record number of leads and felt this was one of the most successful overseas shows we have attended!

“We will next be demonstrating the PP3000T and Q150 range at the JAIMA EXPO 2010 Conference in Tokyo in September, supporting our Japanese distributor Elminet Corporation with the Asian launch of these products into this major geographical market."

New Q150R rotary-pumped coater launched

This month sees a key expansion to the latest series of our sample preparation systems, with the introduction of the Q150R - a range of rotary-pumped coaters for SEM applications.

Recently appointed Managing Director of Quorum Technologies, Kevin Breen, is pleased to see the new series offering a wider range of systems to cater for the different needs of our customers around the world. 

“The Q150R is a compact rotary-pumped coating system,” explained Kevin. “This makes it ideally suited for SEM and other coating applications. This launch is part of Quorum’s investment programme, backed by its parent group Judges Scientific plc, to revise and add to its product range with the aim of providing customers with better products and improved value.”

Available in three formats, the Q150R offers the option of: a sputter coater suitable for standard (tungsten) SEM specimen coating, a carbon coater suitable for SEM EDS and WDS applications, or both combined in a single space-saving system.

Kevin added: “The modular design of the new Q-series range of coaters mean that Quorum Technologies now offers a comprehensive range of systems that are both user-friendly and flexible. Having combined the talent and experience of Emitech and Polaron, we have been able to exploit a wider range of technical and engineering skills and thus offer a market-leading solution to meet our customers’ coating needs.”

Featuring an intuitive colour touch screen, plus a range of easy-to-change ‘drop-in’ specimen stages and coating head inserts, the Q150R boasts high quality performance and flexibility. A new option for carbon coating versions of the Q150R is a glow discharge attachment for modification of specimen surface properties, eg hydrophobic to hydrophilic conversion.

Like all other Quorum Technologies products, the Q150R comes with a generous three-year warranty.

Click here for further information on the Q150R.

Distributor of the Year 2009

Quorum Technologies has launched a Distributor of the Year award, and are delighted to announce that the 2009 winner is German distributor, Gala Instrumente.

“One of the key reasons for the success of our business over many years is the strength, dedication and professionalism of our worldwide distribution,” explained Mike Wombwell, Sales and Marketing Director at Quorum Technologies. “This award aims to recognise these qualities year on year across our network of over 60 distributors globally.” 

Mike presented the Distributor of the Year 2009 award to Gala Instrumente’s Managing Director Dr. Jost Gabler (pictured) during the recent Electron Microscopy Course in Münster, Germany. 

Jost commented: “I am delighted to accept the first award of its kind on behalf of my company, and think it’s a great idea for Quorum Technologies to introduce this. The English sparkling wine we have also received will certainly go down well with my colleagues!” 

Mike continued: “For many years Gala Instrumente have provided world-class support for our many German customers. The level of sales in 2009 was exceptional and covered all product types - including very strong sales of cryo-SEM preparation systems. 

“Gala specialise in electron microscopy specimen preparation and are therefore not only able to offer dedicated sales and after-sales support, but they also feed back valuable information on new techniques and customer requirements which we can use in the development of future products. Well done to Gala Instrumente!” 

Quorum Technologies appoints new MD

Bob Kenhard, founder of Quorum Technologies, is taking his planned retirement from the day-to-day management of the company following its acquisition by Judges Scientific plc last year. As of 1 March 2010, Kevin Breen has now taken over the role of Managing Director.

Having started his career in research and development, Kevin (pictured) has worked in sales and marketing, followed by general management. As well as the experience he brings to the role, Kevin also has a BSc in Physics, an MSc and an MBA, and is a Chartered Engineer.

On joining the team, Kevin commented: “I am very much looking forward to building on the good work Bob has done in growing Quorum Technologies to be a leading player in the electron microscopy preparation instrumentation market, and also looking forward to providing customers with the new and improved products and services already in the pipeline.” 

Kevin was formerly CEO of City Technology plc, a management buy-out from City University, which was acquired by the FTSE-listed First Technology PLC. He joined the Board of First Technology to run their gas sensing businesses, and was a key part of the Executive Team that sold First Technology to Honeywell Inc in 2006. 

Prior to that, he held several senior management roles in the Halma Group PLC, running three of its manufacturing subsidiaries at different times. He has extensive experience of growing technology and instrumentation businesses, and of rolling out sophisticated products into international markets. 

Bob and his colleagues have welcomed Kevin to the team. “I am now in the process of delivering a handover of the business and commercial relationships to Kevin, and it is great to have him with us," said Bob. "After stepping down, I will continue to be involved with Quorum Technologies as a non-executive director and consultant, and will help with special projects.”

New Q150T turbomolecular-pumped coater launched

We have now introduced the first product group in a series of brand new sample preparation systems. The state-of-the-art design was developed as a direct result of customer feedback, gathered over many years.

On Monday 30 November 2009, we launched the Q150T Turbo-Pumped Sputter Coater/Carbon Coater. This is a compact turbomolecular-pumped coating system suitable for SEM, TEM and many thin film applications. The Q150T will be followed next year by a rotary pumped version - the Q150R. Subsequent developments will introduce sample preparation systems based on a similar modular format. 

“Following our acquisition of the Emitech products in 2005, we have been working on the replacement of the existing products with a modular-based system, capable of providing superior functionality,” explained Managing Director Bob Kenhard. “The Q150T combines state-of-the-art design with an exceptionally high level of performance and flexibility - essential for the increasingly demanding requirements of TEM and SEM specimen preparation. 

“This project has been highly demanding, requiring that we first researched existing and emerging technologies in order to solve the technical challenges posed. Consequently, we have had to learn new skills in most areas of the business and update our production processes to match.” 

The Q150T is available in three formats: a high resolution sputter coater, a carbon coater suitable for SEM and TEM applications, or both combined in a single space-saving system. “We listened to feedback from our customers and have engineered the combined carbon/sputter coater that they were asking for, removing the need for separate power supplies and other bulky add-ons. ” added Bob.

Built around a rugged moulded case with intuitive colour touch screen control, the Q150T allows both stored and customer-entered coating ‘recipes’ to be accessed and run in seconds. The performance and flexibility of the system is further enhanced by a wide range of cleverly designed ‘drop-in’ specimen stages and coating head inserts.

Like all other Quorum Technologies products, the Q150T comes with a generous three-year warranty.

For more information please visit the Q150T product pages.

Quorum Technologies Student Prize Winner 2009

Now in it’s third year, our Quorum Technologies Scholarship and Student Prize scheme in partnership with the University of Brighton is still going strong.

This year, MPharm (Pharmacy) student Mercy Banning was awarded the £750 prize for her final-year project entitled ‘Fibrin-Gelatin Coatings for Cardiovascular Stents’. 

The prize is held within the Image and Analysis Unit in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science at the University of Brighton, and given to a student whose use of microscopy - and particularly electron microscopy - is crucial to the success of their studies.

Mercy’s project used complementary techniques of scanning electron microscopy (SEM), cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) and confocal microscopy to characterise the porous structures in fibrin and fibrin-gelatin hydrogels for use as drug delivery matrices on drug eluting cardiovascular stents. The project was supervised by Dr Lyuba Mikhalovska.

Pictured: a cryo-SEM image of hydrogel (top), and a cryo-SEM image of stent and hydrogel.

For further information visit the the PP3000T product page, or the Cryo-SEM image gallery.

KAUST chooses Quorum Technologies for cryo-SEM

Quorum Technologies has recently installed two market-leading PP2000T cryo-SEM preparation systems in the Imaging and Characterisation Labs at the newly-opened King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Both PP2000T instruments are installed on FEI DualBeam™ (FIB/SEM) systems.

KAUST celebrated its opening in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia on 23 September 2009, having been set up by an endowment from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to be an international, graduate-level research university. 

As the market for FEI’s electronics and life sciences systems expanded rapidly, the company realised the need for a reliable and stable cryo stage to support its advanced cryo technologies. “The reliability and stability are not only important in terms of movement, but also in terms of temperature,” explained Graham Tye, cryo-SEM Service Manager at Quorum Technologies - FEI’s choice supplier for cryo-SEM stages.

For the last four years, FEI has relied on Quorum Technologies’ advanced PP2000T cryo stage technology for its DualBeam™ systems, and Graham was on-site at KAUST to assist with installation and customer training on the two new systems. “What marks our relationship with FEI is a shared dedication to partnership and achieving common goals, both in terms of procurement and on a technical level,” he explained. “FEI takes its products very seriously and is always looking to resolve any weaknesses a product design might have.” 

The companies’ dedication to customer service and product excellence led to extensive testing and optimisation of cryo systems before installation, so as to minimise any potential problems on-site. “The KAUST project has been an invaluable opportunity for us to grow with FEI and to cement our working relationship,” concluded Graham. “We have a true symbiosis that will hopefully lead to many more exciting projects in the future.”

For more information on KAUST, visit http://www.kaust.edu.sa/about/about.html

Judges Scientific plc acquires Quorum Technologies Ltd

Judges Scientific plc has completed the acquisition of Quorum Technologies Ltd. Formerly Judges Capital plc, Judges Scientific is the parent company of a group that specialises in the design, manufacture and sale of scientific instruments.

On 10 June 2009, Judges Scientific plc acquired 100% of the issued share capital of Quorum Technologies Ltd.

Judges Scientific is a small but growing AIM-listed public company based in the UK, with a clear strategy for growth via a combination of organic growth and carefully-selected acquisitions.

Judges Scientific plc’s criteria is to look for businesses that are in the scientific instruments sector, profitable, engaged in niche markets worldwide and preferably also located in the UK. Their management team brings a great deal of commercial, financial and operational experience to our business and is very keen to support us as we bring to market new and radically different products that will help ensure that Quorum Technologies remains at the forefront of our exciting industry. 

Judges Scientific’s group companies operate autonomously under a business MD who reports to the main board, who will work closely with Quorum Technologies MD Bob Kenhard for the foreseeable future to get to know our industry and customers, and to help ensure a smooth and hopefully seamless integration. 

All current staff and management remain in place, with Bob Hennig accepting an appointment to the Quorum Technologies Board.

It remains only to say that it is very much business as usual, to thank you for your support and custom over the years and to assure you that we will continue to work in a collaborative and flexible manner with you all.

For more information on Judges Scientific plc, visit http://www.judges.uk.com.