New product R+D – mainly optical!

The latest Cryptospiridium scare in Northamptonshire produced a plea from GB Environmental that the use of UV disinfection systems should be reviewed in the UK, following the lead of the US (and various other EU countries) where potable water use of the technology is widely accepted. Many such case studies have been reported, for both drinking water and pharmaceutical pure water applications (Link). Another health topic comes from the University of Southampton report on the positive effects copper surfaces have on eliminating C.diff bacteria: whether this is ‘process industry’ related I’m not quite sure, but it interested me.

With the news this week that Physics is a dying subject in UK schools, with apparently no teaching capability even if the students had an interest in the topic, it is good to see so many reports on optical techniques and spectrometry being used to monitor materials and processes. A recent ABB report reviews the use of their FTIR spectroscopy equipment in satellites, semi-conductors, pharmaceuticals and gasoline blending (Link), and Wyatt Technology announce their annual meeting of light scattering users and researchers, to be held in October (Link). Malvern Instruments describe the use of their Insitec laser diffraction technology to monitor particle size on-line in a wet clay suspension, for process control on porcelain tile production (Link). To be fair I don’t yet know what microplate luminescence is, but Charm Sciences say it can be used to detect spoilage in samples from beverage products (Link): maybe they will also supply a technical article describing some of their other products, that are quoted to rapidly predict the hygiene status of surfaces and rinse waters in seconds. Another similar product is reported by SafeSol, offering a water disinfection system to control legionella and other ‘nasties’ in building water supplies, (Link).

One of the many things that fascinated me in a visit to see the activities at GCHQ (in the Doughnut at Cheltenham!) was a ‘Compound’ bow on display on their archery club stand (Link). The Long bow has been around for quite a while: but this compound bow was only designed and patented in 1967, so demonstrating that there are good mechanical inventions yet to be produced in all fields. By the way, judging by the number of Enigma style machines on display at GCHQ, they might still be working along these lines. ABB have been demonstrating that there are patentable ideas in us all with their “Race to Innovation”: 17 patents were filed in their latest 3-day session in China, brainstorming on the topic of “Better city, better life” (Link).