Under the spotlight: Will Blockley

 

  Will working on the workshop lathe.

Under the spotlight this week is one of the newest employees at Linkam, Will Blockley. Having most recently worked for a green energy company in Africa and the USA, Linkam is excited to welcome him to the R&D team.

How long have you worked at Linkam?

I started at Linkam on March 18th 2013, so not very long at all.  

What’s the best part of working here?

Everyone is very welcoming and positive about working at Linkam.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were you doing before this?

I used to work for a green energy company that sent me to Africa and the USA. It was a great experience.  

Why did you choose an engineering career?

 I enjoy it - and engineering makes the world a better place.

 What makes you passionate about science/engineering?

 I love seeing things go from an idea to a working product.

 What do your parents do?

 My father is a dentist.

 How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

 8hrs:1 coffee; 4 teas; and a productive, busy day.

 Has the company changed much since you started working here?

 No, but the weather has.

 What are your hobbies?

 Golf, hockey, and basically any sport.

 Where do you want to be in ten years?

 I would like to be a manager or senior engineer.

 And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

 Singapore. I only have one word: amazing.

 

Thanks Will.  

 We hope you are enjoying the snap-shot of the lives of the people who play a part in creating your Linkam stage.

 

By Caroline Feltham


Kings of the Hill - A tale of Team Linkam's brush with an Olympic Icon

Hug from a Hero - Team Linkam get up close and personal with the living legend that is Sir Chris HoyWith the boom in uncreative, highly annoying email marketing, the majority of emails in my private account are consigned to the recycle bin without even being opened.

Luckily on one slow, dull, rainy evening last month, I opened one of the many messages I get from Evans Cycles and came across one saying: “Win a chance to ride with Sir Chris Hoy”. A small shriek of excitement, a few personal details filled in and the click of a button later... it dawned upon me that all this would lead to is more useless emails.

But, a week or so later (after scrolling through the usual Viagra and Lottery emails) I suddenly came across another one from Evans. I opened the email to read the immortal words: “You have won!” – Me!? A technical engineer at Linkam getting to ride with “his royal thighness” and 6 time Olympic Gold Medallist Sir Christopher Hoy MBE?! The feeling I had was indescribable. And as I was allowed a plus 1 to the event, who better to take than fellow Linkamite and cycloholic Jack Verhoeff

On the day of the event itself, Jack and I met the team from Evans Cycles and Hoy Bikes at the top of Box Hill on a delightfully sunny Surrey afternoon. A quick cup of coffee and an obligatory health and safety session later, the guest of honour himself made his much anticipated appearance. As we set off on our trail, Sir Hoy – a gentle giant of a man – rode his way beside every small group to exchange pleasantries and casually chat with all 50 lucky participants. As he moved onto the next group, my thought process quickly changed from: “Please don’t knock him off!” to “Wow…did I really just meet arguably the greatest ever cyclist these Isles have produced?”

We continued onto the finish line, where we were met with more cake and a further opportunity to meet and greet Sir Hoy, as well as get various memorabilia and body parts signed by this true British hero.

The whole experience was one that I will not forget for the rest of my life, and taught me a vital lesson – maybe checking emails is a worthwhile task indeed!

You can keep up to date with all of Linkam’s Cycling escapades by following @Team_Linkam on Twitter.

By Jim Hayward

Going the Distance

Sample being loaded into DSC stage on Campus in CarolinaTwo of the most prestigious universities in the world’s two largest economic superpowers have teamed up to improve drug delivery methods - with the help of two Linkam stages.

Scientists from both The University of South Carolina, in the USA, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, in China, are working together to limit the effect of the immune response of our bodies on cells that are being used for medicinal benefit.

One of the most common methods being used for the delivery of drugs is microencapsulation. The basic idea of this method is to place the therapeutic cells inside a membrane that protects them from the immune response of T cells and antibodies which will try and destroy them and thus negate the desired effect of the cell.

In order to make this study viable, the team also had to improve the cryopreservation method to store the encapsulated cells without them losing their integrity or becoming toxic.

This is where the Linkam freeze drying stage (FDCS196) played a key role – through use of the heating/cooling stage, it was found that the use of Ca2+ ions and dimethylsulfoxide helped the microcapsule maintain its integrity and structure throughout its preservation.

It has also allowed the team to produce microcapsules that facilitate a much better intake of oxygen and nutrients which leads to an increase in the long-term survival of the therapeutic cell that is contained within the structure.

But that’s not all, this on-going study has also made good use of the Linkam DSC600 stage. Aided by its small furnace and consequently fast response time – it allowed for the team to simultaneously measure optical and enthalpy data of the microcapsule structures.  

More information about this study and the crucial breakthroughs it has made can be found in our full press release which can be found here - http://www.selectscience.net/product-news/linkam-scientific-instruments-limited/linkam-scientific-instruments-temperature-stages-used-at-the-university-of-south-carolina-for-cell-cryo-preservation-research/?artID=27781

By Ricky Patel

Partner Focus - Visionus

The team at Visionus - Colin, Hyoung, Nihyun, BedroThis month our partner focus is on Visionus - a company which has been operating as an independent supplier in Seoul, Korea since 2002.

The business was started by Mr Hyoung Choi, originally an electronic engineer, who has more than 25 years of experience in the medical and optical instruments business. A leading company for optical vision and image processing in the research microscopy field, Visionus has for the past decade played a key role in promoting Linkam products in South Korea. They are recognised for their growing customer base their excellent service and support.

The team will be attending the Polymer Society of Korea and the Korean Institute of Metals and Materials meetings in October. Be sure to visit them and see the latest heating stage developments from Linkam, along with their lens, camera and microscope product portfolio.

Please check out their website: http://www.visionus.co.kr/  or email: vision@visionus.co.kr for more details

By Ian Pearce

The building blocks of DNA

The inaugural 'Instruct Biennial Structural Biology Meeting' took place at the extraordinary EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) Heidelberg Advance Training Centre recently (22-24 May).

Perched on the slopes of the Königstuhl (king's seat) and accessible by some perilous winding roads, the EMBL is located a few miles outside of Heidelberg, in Germany. The architecture of the building, with its dual ascending walkways and bridges, is designed to represent the helical structure of DNA. 

 

These curving pathways were used to great effect to showcase scientific posters during the event. With a focus on integrative structural biology and its impact on biological research, the program of talks included sessions that represented recent structural biology highlights, emerging methods and technologies, and experimental results of biomedical importance.

A special session, jointly organised with the ESFRI (European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures) project Euro-Bioimaging, focused on the bridge between structural and cell biology provided by recent developments in electron, light and X-ray microscopy. One of these new developments is the correlation of images captured with fluorescent light microscopy and cryo transmission electron microscopy.

Linkam’s new stage, CMS196 stage, is designed specifically for this application. Represented by Caroline Feltham (sales) and Michael Schwertner (R+D), Linkam attended the event with the CMS196 stage.

For more information please see CMS196.

Linkam would like to thank the organisers for an enjoyable and highly informative week in the beautiful city of Heidelberg.

By Caroline Feltham  

Under the spotlight- Paul Simmons

This week  ‘under the spotlight’ we are interviewing Paul Simmons, one of our engineers. For over a decade he’s been part of the highly experienced team of engineers who make up our R+D Department. A keen gardener, sketcher and general handy man Paul has answered our questions below. Enjoy.

How long have you worked at Linkam?

For 10 solid years and counting.

What’s the best part of working at Linkam?

The people and the work! It’s like an extended family. The work ethic here is excellent. People get involved in activities with each other outside of work – I think that is very valuable in a fast-paced working environment. There’s always a funny story to hear at Linkam but when it comes to the crunch, we knuckle down and get the job done.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were you doing before Linkam?

I studied for an HND in Aerospace Engineering before leaping out into the big wide world. I found an advert for Linkam and applied for it. Before I was working at Linkam, I was doing temp work on floor plans for the retail sector.

Why did you choose an Engineering career?

I always wanted to get to grips with the way things worked and figuring out whether there are alternative ways to do the same job. Generally speaking, there are far too many constraints in life - engineering allows me to push boundaries and explore new technologies.

What makes you passionate about science/engineering?

So much technology has progressed in the last 100 years and it really makes you wonder where we will be in the next 100. For example, it makes you appreciate issues like ‘Where will the next generation get their power from?’. There are so many more challenges and so many different ideas to overcome science and engineering problems – What’s there not to be passionate about?? From ideas and development right through to manufacture and testing there is never a dull moment in a science/engineering role.

What do your parents do?

My mother works as a receptionist in an eye hospital. My father is now an aerospace/motorsport lecturer.

How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

It’s certainly more ‘full-on’ rather than ‘average’ but it’s so rewarding being able to see the products go through all of the design, manufacturing and testing processes.

Has the company changed much since you started working here?

The company has changed a lot. The company has expanded by purchasing more buildings and employing more staff. The MD’s are very dynamic and adjust accordingly to the needs of their staff.

What are your hobbies?

Cycling, drawing/sketching, gardening, car restorations, model making.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

I would like to be living in a house, a very big house in the country (with a loving family and perhaps a dog). One day, I’d love to expand my carpentry/cabinet making skills.

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

My wife and I went travelling around Thailand in a mad rush to see some of the world before the reality of parenthood set upon us – We are expecting our first child in September.

Congratulations Paul!

We hope you are enjoying the snap-shot of the lives of the people who play a part in creating your Linkam stage.

By Caroline Feltham

Linkam's latest creation debuts in Cardiff

On the 16th of May, Linkam attended the 8th Annual General Meeting of the Association of Biomedical Andrologists in the historic city of Cardiff, Wales.

The meeting focussed on 'Best Practice and Accreditation in Andrology' and delegates heard from several speakers about the topic.

Linkam, represented by Caroline Feltham (sales) and Cathy O’Neill (R+D), were delighted to showcase our brand new ITO coated warm stage named the WS37. The first in a range of new stages, the WS37 is an ITO transparent warm stage that can be calibrated within the lab and is accurate to 0.1ºC. The stage can accommodate up to two microscope slides, has touch screen control and temperature read-outs from multiple sensors. The stage was designed to satisfy the increasing demand of the Andrology market to validate and verify the accuracy of their equipment.

The day was packed full of interesting and exciting talks, and we would like to thank the ABA for once again inviting us. In particular we would like to thank Eileen Mathers for her insights. We would also like to thank Janet Chatfield for her enlightening talk and Bryan Woodward for his very funny presentation, which was a brilliant conclusion to a long day.

We look forward to the next AGM.

By Caroline Feltham

New Frontiers in Polymer Science

 

Blue sky in Sitges

The weather in the town of Sitges, Spain, wasn't the only blue sky on show this week; the third international symposium on polymer science reported a myriad of blue sky research projects. The conference was attended by around 600 delegates who all enjoyed the Mediterranean ambience of the town which is a few kilometers west of Barcelona.

Three days of plenary talks and poster sessions, during which 560 posters were displayed, explained and debated, covered just about every imaginable topic in polymer science. It was an additional bonus to see that Linkam stages had provided crucial data in some projects.

The Linkam TST350 was explicitly shown in posters by the scientists from Toyota Technical Institute in Japan:-

"Reversible structure change and the related stress generation of uniaxially or doubly-oriented poly(vinylalcohol) induced by cyclic humidity change under fixed-end condition"

by T.Yoshioka and K.Tashiro

and

"Structural studies of phase transition and crystallization phenomena of crystalline polymers using a newly-developed simultaneous measurement system of transmission-type infra-red spectra and wide-angle and small-angle x-ray scatterings"

by H.Yamamoto, K.Tashiro, T.Yoshioka, T.Hai Ninh, S.Shimada*, T.Nakatani* (* Bruker Optics Japan)

The conference was organised by the teams from Elsevier and the Sitges Melia hotel and many thanks to all of them for their excellent organisation of the exhibition.

By Ian Pearce

 

Taking to the Stage

  Ideas session with Kent McDonald and Paul Verkade

The seventh High Pressure Freezing and Freeze Substitution Users Meeting was hosted by Cancer Research UK this week on 15-16th May at their London Research Institute in Lincoln's Inn Fields.

Attended by approximately 60 delegates, the first day gave us seven enlightening presentations on the experimental aspects, and results, of high pressure freezing and associated techniques. This was followed by a series of professional demonstrations; the Leica EMPACT2, the new RMC Freeze substitution unit and QFS for in-resin fluorescence preservation by Chris Peddie of Cancer Research.

Linkam were pleased to be invited to take part and help with sponsorship, and extremely thankful to Dr Lucy Collinson (CRUK) and Charlotte Melia (LUMC) for demonstrating the CMS196 correlative freezing stage.

Dr Lucy Collinson explaining the practicalities of the Linkam CMS196

This was an excellent meeting, and Linkam, represented by Michael Schwertner (R+D) and Ian Pearce (Sales) gained a great deal of insight to this field, and valuable feedback on the Linkam product.

A final thank you to the energetic Raffa Carzaniga who organized the whole event with logistical precision - it was a complete success.

We look forward to the next meeting.

By Ian Pearce

 

Turning Lessons into Learning

 

Guildford College students took full opportunity to pick the brain of Design Engineer Paul Simmons 

Yesterday, Linkam welcomed level 1 and level 2 engineering students from Guildford College to look around our workshop and get a taster into what the real world of engineering and mechanical processing is actually like.

The trip was organised by Michael Simmons, the aerospace and motor sport lecturer at the college – and also the father of Linkam Design Engineer Paul Simmons. The students were given the opportunity to get some hands on experience on our top of the range machinery. In the short session they had here they were given a quick over-view on the design to production process – from the thought process on selection of materials, down to fine details such as the importance of geometrical tolerances. Linkam production team members Dave and Ray both did a fantastic job in assisting the students.  

 

"...et Voilà, a stage is made"

Throughout the hour that the students were here, they all looked thoroughly engrossed and seemed to take in everything that they were seeing and hearing in the environment around them (which is more than what I can say about the majority of my school trips!). 

 

Workshop Engineer Dave Cox explaining how he could have saved his beloved Wolves Football Club from being relegated this season

Michael Simmons said the trip had been a very beneficial one as it gave the students a chance to get their first real look into the world that, on completion of their studies, the majority of them will go into. “The purpose of the visit was really about giving the students the opportunity to see what I believe Britain’s engineering is all about”, he said. “It’s about developing something on the move, overcoming problems as you go and learning how to adapt and be creative. This is what the students got to see today – a real insight into the market of bespoke, value-added, home-grown products. This visit will help them understand how they can apply their skills into this field”.

 

is there a future Linkamite in this photo?

Who knows, maybe in a few years time, a couple of these students could be fully fledged members of the Linkam team.

 

by Ricky Patel

Partner Focus – AD Creative

China in their hands - the AD Creative Team

Mr Jerry Yang, a dedicated geologist for many years, decided in 2000 that he needed a commercial challenge, and entered the exponentially growing market known as China. With the head office based in Beijing (Beijing Aidejiaye Technology Development Co.), and a second office in Hong Kong (AD Creative Enterprise Co. Ltd), Jerry has successfully built his business based on sound sales principles, and a deep focus on the provision of excellent customer support.

In 2012 the company received an ISO-9001 certificate of approval for their business, and this provides recognition for the professional team and performance that Jerry has achieved.

As an independent partner, AD Creative looks after Linkam business in China, and continues to provide pre and post-sales technical expertise to our growing population of end-user and OEM partners. Here’s a statement from AD themselves:

“Knowledge and years’ of understandings of the stages confirm a straightforward pathway for AD in providing satisfying service. Added to this, a team of well-educated and well-trained staff are helping provide overall assistance. One to one service is from online consulting to drop-in installing and debugging, provided by professionals”.

For information; info@ald-hk.com , www.adc-hk.com

Under the spotlight: Dan Kirk

This month Dan Kirk, a Senior Production Engineer in our Production Department, is under the spotlight. For the better part of two decades he has been a central part of life at Linkam - an extremely knowledgeable engineer he’s also a keen fisherman. Here are his answers to our questions.

 


How long have you worked at Linkam?  

I’ve been working at Linkam for 18 years. I can still remember my first day - my first job was to change the tyre of Arnold Kamp’s car... It is safe to say I’ve progressed somewhat since then.  

What’s the best part of working here?  

As well as making some lifelong friends, it’s a job where I’m always learning. Eighteen years on and I’m still being amazed by scientific developments.  

What were you doing before Linkam?

I was at school! I joined Linkam straight after I left school and while I was still studying at college.

Why did you choose an engineering career?  

I always wanted to be an engineer. I like to organize, plan, develop and be rewarded for a finished product – engineering provides this.  

What makes you passionate about science/engineering?  

I'm passionate about science and engineering because it is an ever changing environment  

How would you describe your average day?  

Average day?! Is there such a thing at Linkam..?  

Has the company changed much since you started working here?  

The company is always evolving. When I started here, aged 16, there were only half the number of people, products and designs. Our products are continuously changing and improving with technological and scientific advancements.  

What are your hobbies?  

Fishing, football, golf and keeping my two young boys entertained.  

Where do you want to be in ten years?  

I would like to be running my own fishery, fishing on my own lakes, with my family at my side.  

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?  

Ibiza (the quiet side – I’m a family man, don’t you know!)  

Anything else you would like to add Dan?  

Tight lines, which means - if you do not speak fisherman's lingo - good luck and good fishing.

Thanks Dan.

We hope you are enjoying the snap-shot of the lives of the people who play a part in creating your Linkam stage.

By Caroline Feltham

A Calorimetric Cruise Down The ‘Med’

HMS Cavalier & Destroyer and the historic Dockyard located opposite the University campus

Linkam attended the TAC2013 conference at the University of Greenwich’s Medway campus in Chatham, Kent, last week.

This recently modernised Edwardian redbrick university campus is located on the banks of the river Medway (ok, so it’s not that Med) and sits opposite the historically significant Chatham Dockyard. The dockyard supplied ships for the Royal Navy for over 400 years from the Spanish Armada to the Falklands Crisis. Covering an area of 80 acres, with warships you can go on, this once secret site is now a major visitor attraction in the area.

Against this historical backdrop, the delegates at TAC2013 were treated to a peek into the future with the conference concentrating on the latest developments in the field. The conference was titled: “Modern Thermal Methods from an Industrial and Academic Perspective” and had a common theme of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, but these were covered across a very diverse range of studies ranging from Pharmaceuticals to Materials Processing. Despite the wide range of fields being represented in the talks and posters, the key aspect of this - and any show of this kind - is that the techniques mentioned in certain application areas can be translated and used in other areas.

As always, this was a fantastic opportunity to talk to the delegates - many of whom already own Linkam equipment - about how our stages can aid studies in this area. I would like to thank the Thermal Methods Group (TMG) who organised a great show and also Milan Antonijevic and his students at the University of Greenwich who all went out of their way to make us feel very welcome.

By Ricky Patel. 

Going with the flow in Leuven

The historic Town Hall in the centre of Leuven: the front facade is decorated with over 230 statues of historical figures including royalty, nobility, philosophers, and scientists. Linkam attended the 8th Annual European Rheology Conference in Belgium last week (2-5 April). This year’s event took place in the historic town of Leuven, home of the oldest running Catholic University - and Stella Artois beer. The conference brought together over 400 delegates and a dozen exhibitors to discuss a broad range of rheological topics.  

Rheology - the scientific term for the study of flow and deformation of matter - was first defined in 1929 during the formation of the Society of Rheology. The name was inspired by the Greek term “panta rhei” or “everything flows”, and the study is applicable to many materials. In fact, the window panes in old churches are frequently thinner at the top than the bottom due to the slow rheological process called creep. For a more thorough introduction to Rheology you could look here

With a wide programme of seminars over the week, and a great location to visit and socialize in, the conference was a great success. Linkam was pleased to exhibit the CSS450 Optical Rheology System and the TST350 Tensile stage. We would like to thank all the organizers and staff at the conference for their help, especially Professor Patrick D. Anderson and Professor Peter Van Puyvelde.

We would also like to thank everyone who stopped by to give us such positive feedback on our stages. Thank you very much for your stories, we hope to feature some of them on the blog soon.  

By Caroline Feltham

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, its super-resolution light microscopy

The MECC in all its glory

Last week, the ‘supermen’ from Linkam braved the cold weather and treacherous conditions to pay homage to the company’s Dutch heritage with a visit to the beautiful city of Maastricht, in the Netherlands, for the 2013 Focus On Microscopy conference.

The city itself is one steeped in history – it has been inhabited since 550 BC and was in fact a Roman army camp until 388 AD. However, the city, which is located on either side of the River Maas, is most famous for the Maastricht Treaty and as the birthplace for the European Union and its single currency – The Euro (I can thank the mobile Wikipedia that is Vince Kamp for that fact).

The conference was held at the MECC centre on the outskirts of the city, and with a maximum capacity of 10,000 people, it was more than equipped for a conference of this scale. With all the major players across all aspects of microscopy present, it was a great opportunity for us to exhibit the CMS196 cryo microscopy stage and the new Linkam transparent warm plates designed for use in cell biology.

The show focused on talks and hands-on workshops for a variety of different techniques. Of these techniques, it seemed to be super-resolution microscopy (or nanoscopy) which caught the eye of most delegates. These super-resolution techniques are a form of light-microscopy that allow for the capture of images with a higher resolution than the diffraction limit. This means that the resolving power of existing techniques such as fluorescence light microscopy can be drastically increased and can be used to produce images all the way down to the nanometre scale. Since it emerged in 2008, this technique is quickly becoming a firm favourite with cell biologists worldwide.

The technique may not be not faster than the speed of light, or more powerful than a locomotive like Clark Kent’s super-alter ego, but if FOM2013 is anything to go by, I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about nanoscopy and its super-high resolution abilities.

By the end of the three day conference, I had learnt much about the history of Maastricht, a lot about the new upcoming techniques in light microscopy, and also where to get the best spare ribs in the Netherlands...Good luck if you can finish them!

By Ricky Patel

 

Under the Spotlight: Jack Verhoeff

 Jack be nimble: Jack Verhoeff carefully assembles a Linkam heater.

He's still one of the youngest members of staff at Linkam, but Jack Verhoeff is a key member of the Production team - and a long serving one too. He joined the company as a teenager and since then has learnt numerous skills: he is an expert caster of heaters, an adept tensile (TST350) technician and is now working with heater production. Let's have a look at the man in more detail.

How long have you worked at Linkam?

I have worked at Linkam for 10 years. Crazy, right? I was 16 and still at college when I was asked to come for an interview, and I haven’t looked back since.

What’s the best part of working at Linkam?

It has to be the people, there are so many interesting and vibrant characters here that it makes every day somewhat special.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were you doing before Linkam?

Before Linkam I was studying mechanical engineering at East Surrey College. A handful of students were asked to come for an interview and I was lucky enough to get a job here.

Why did you choose a science career?

I think science chose me to be honest, I always loved science at school and now that I’m at Linkam there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. (Sounds cheesy, but it's true)

What makes you passionate about science/engineering?

Thinking about all the applications and experiments possible with our stages is what makes me passionate about science. Let’s face it, science is the future.

What do your parents do?

My mum is currently counting down the days to retirement as a receptionist at a doctor’s surgery. And my dad worked as a service engineer (maybe that’s where I get it from) for NCR cash machines before he passed away in 2005.

How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

My average day at Linkam could only be described as 100% full-on, with a thousand things happening all at once. But we cope.

Has the company changed much since you started working here?

The company has changed SO much since I started, it's almost unrecognisable. There are new buildings to work in, new stages to work on, and of course new people to help share the load.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies rage from photography [which you can view in the company’s stage art section], running, and most recently, cycling. The last two I blame Linkam's own iron man/boss Vince Kamp - his passion for hardcore exercise is infectious, to put it lightly.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

In ten years time I see myself with a job I like, a wife I love, and maybe even kids I want to strangle.

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

I spent my last holiday in Barbados, which was one long Lilt advert.

 

Thanks Jack.

By Caroline Feltham.

 

 

Partner Focus: McCrone

The McCrone Team (L to R), Ruben, Jeff and Alan at Pittcon 2013

Founded in 1956 by Walter McCrone a leading chemist and microscopist of his day, the McCrone Group Inc. in Westmont, Illinois is an internationally recognized world leader in microscopy, microanalysis and materials characterization. McCrone has a particular forte for solving difficult materials problems, and indeed in its early days, Walter participated in the analysis of the Shroud of Turin.

A key part of this organization is the instrument sales division, McCrone Microscopes & Accessories, LLC  (MMA) – the authorized national dealer for Olympus polarized light microscopes, the JEOL NeoScope benchtop SEM, HiROX Digital Microscope Systems, and digital imaging systems. The technical sales representatives at McCrone Microscopes are trusted advisors to microscopists worldwide.

Working with Linkam for the past fourteen years or so, we have forged a strong partnership, where the MMA team has become both an ambassador and expert in the applications and support of Linkam heating/freezing systems in North America. Long may it continue.

Smitten By Tiny Ice Crystals

Smitten Ice Cream's amazing Kelvin machine

"YUCK, this ice cream is all gritty". What's that all about?

Well, I'll tell you. It's the ice crystals. Both the taste and the texture of ice cream is dependent on the size and distribution of these crystals.

The crystals need to be as small as possible and distibuted evenly through the ice cream. When the crystals are large and clumped together the ice cream tastes bland and gritty. This happens when you don't put the ice cream back into the freezer quickly enough after dishing out a serving and the crystals go through a thaw then refreezing cycle.  

When the ice cream is first manufactured it is frozen extremely quickly. This fast freezing process results in tiny crystals. If these crystals melt and then refreeze at a much slower rate - as in your freezer - they will grow to be much larger and hence the gritty taste.

The problem for ice cream manufacturers is to limit the impact of the inevitable thaw/refreezing cycle that will happen to some extent in transportation from the factory to your freezer at home, or to the ice cream parlour. Researchers have used Linkam's LTS420 and cryo-CSS450 to study both the initial freezing and distribution of crystals, and the thaw/refreezing cycle, in order to design additives to control crystal growth.

Robyn Sue Fisher, founder of Smitten Ice Cream, isn't concerned with the thawing and refreezing of ice cream. Using her fantastic patented Kelvin machine, she freezes the ingredients on the spot with liquid nitrogen and uses a clever mixing process (see video) to ensure the tiny crystals are evenly distributed in the mix.

The awesome Kelvin machine adds to the excitement and drama at the ice cream parlour - and of course you get delicious fresh ice cream. Hungry yet?

I don't suppose there's any danger Robyn will be coming to us for a cryostage though. 

You can watch a great interview with Robyn about how she came up with this process and turned it into an exciting new business here.

By Vince Kamp 

 

Linkam HFS350X used to help in the characterisation of heavy oils

The Linkam HFSX350 in actionA huge amount of research is being carried out around the world in the energy sector, and while there is a significant emphasis on renewable energies, there is also a considerable effort being made on the improvement in production methods and usage of conventional hydrocarbon feed stocks.

For example, the up-stream and down-stream processing of crude oils can be severely affected by the composition of the heavy fractions. Heavy oils, vacuum residua and bitumen all possess high asphaltene contents, and consequently exhibit complex properties such as aggregation, high viscosity and low diffusivity. A recent characterisation of the aggregation in physically separated vacuum residues was carried out by a world-wide team made up of Joëlle Eyssautier†‡, Didier Espinat†, Jérémie Gummel§, Pierre Levitz‡, Mildred Becerra*, John Shaw* and Loïc Barré†.

To help assess the persistence of such structures close to refining temperatures,  a Linkam HFS350X has been used on both a homemade SAXS facility (see Figure) at IFP Energies Nouvelles and on the ID02  beam-line at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble. Small Angle (SAXS), Ultra-small Angle (USAXS) and  Wide Angle (WAXS) heating experiments were carried out in the range from room temperature to 300°C on samples contained in a customised holder.

Results show that the methodology of the study of asphaltenes in toluene is directly applicable to petroleum feedstocks, helping to explain their aggregation behavior with temperature.

The full research paper has been published by the American Chemical Society and can be viewed in their journal Energy and Fuels

Thankyou to all contributors for letting us publish this Blog

IFP Energies nouvelles, 1-4 avenue de Bois-Préau, 92852 Rueil-Malmaison Cedex, France

Physique de la Matière Condensée, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)−École Polytechnique, UMR 7643 CNRS, 91128 Palaiseau Cedex, France

§European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), BP 220, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

*Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G6, Canada

Under the Spotlight: André Puensch

This month we introduce André Puensch.

André joined Linkam from his native Germany, he is a skilled engineer in the Production Department and one of his jobs is to cast the pure silver heating element which is at the heart of every hot stage. He is also the brains behind the short film: "behind the scenes: a tribute to 30 years" which shows some of the processes involved in making a Linkam instrument.

   

 

How long have you worked at Linkam?

To be precise- on the 25th February it has been two years and four months.

What is the best part of working at Linkam?

Part of it is the working in a fantastic young, team, that conquered the world with their temperature controlled stages. The other part is the chance to try out my own ideas and to suggest improvements.

Tell us about your studies and work experience. What were you doing before Linkam?

After school, I started an apprenticeship as a Mechatronics in a medium- sized company in Dresden, Germany. I had the opportunity to gain knowledge in working metal, especially laser cutting, bending, milling and assembling. I always wanted to have a degree, but I did not want to go to University. In 2006, I started a four year long, part-time evening course to become a ´state- certified engineer `. After finishing the course, I moved to England and started here at Linkam.

Why did you choose a technical career?

When I was a little boy, I was fascinated by metal and the fact that it could be bent into any shape. At the age of 10, I got given a wooden truck, and started experimenting with it, using LED’s to illuminate it. This was followed by many more little projects, each of which encouraged me to pursue a technical job as a career.

What makes you passionate about science/ engineering?

When you compare the technology from 15 years ago to the state-of-art technology available today, the differences are remarkable. Everything is smaller, quicker and better. I am convinced that our products will shape the future and improve our lives. Who knows, maybe in 15 years scientists will find a way for humans to live on Mars, using one of our stages.

What do your parents do?

My mum is an engineering draughtswoman. Over the years, she has worked for civil engineers, road engineers and interior designers. My dad works as a logistics manager for a big company which produces solar cell modules.

How would you describe your average day at Linkam?

The only average thing is the way in to Linkam and the way back home. No day is the same at Linkam. New work means new challenges. Even when I do the casting of our blocks with the same machine settings, the results are always different. That’s why every block is unique.

What are your hobbies?

I do have very time-consuming hobbies. First of all I love building models. Five years ago, I started building a remote-controlled bendy bus in scale 1:12.5 in metal, which I will hopefully finish in the first quarter of 2013. Furthermore, I like making videos, for example, I have made several documentaries about Linkam.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

I would love to have a nice little cottage and live there with my wife and kids. Still working at Linkam, I would like to be a production planner and help improve production processes -in quality and time.

And lastly, where did you go on your last holiday?

Being from a different country means that you will spend most of your holidays going back to your family or having them over and showing them the area where you live. Me and my wife spent our last proper holiday travelling around Scotland. Using a tent we did a round-trip in August 2008. What we didn’t expect was that it would rain for two and a half weeks.

Well that's it for now.

We hope you are enjoying the snap-shot into the lives of the people that play a part in creating your Linkam stage. If there are any questions you would like us to answer, please email us at info@linkam.co.uk.