Analytica 2008: A Pleasant Surprise

Going into this year’s Analytica, the confidence level for a successful event was not particularly high, as signs of negativity seemed unmistakable. After all, talks of a recession in the US and the low dollar could deter many US-based companies from attending the show. The previous Analytica, which was two years ago (see IBO 4/30/06), underdelivered, marking consecutive declines in attendance. Pittcon, which was held a month prior in New Orleans (see IBO 3/15/08), was less than spectacular. And the weather forecast in Munich, Germany, was for clouds, heavy rain and the possibility of snow, which might discourage day-trippers, thus setting up what could be yet another disappointing tradeshow. But as it turns out, this year’s Analytica was an excellent and worthwhile event. Analytica 2008 was held at the New Munich Trade Fair Center on April 1–4 in Munich, Germany. While the rain was almost nonexistent, the tradeshow was showered with enthusiastic conferees. It was the 21st edition of this international trade exposition, drawing approximately 32,500 visitors. Attendance, a key metric in determining a trade show’s success, was up nearly 20% over 2006 and approached the attendance levels of 2002. Held every two years since 1968, Analytica is one of the largest exhibition dedicated to analysis, laboratory technology and biotechnology products. Analytica is also home to a scientific conference, but it is almost an afterthought as most visitors come to meander through the halls, meet with old colleagues and see new products. In fact, exhibitors indicated that a significant number of attendees were doing more than just looking, but were indeed ready to make purchases and sign contracts. This is not unusual for Analytica or other European trade conferences. Given the strong economic status of the region, conferees seemed energized and genuinely interested in the products on display, perhaps more than usual. Analytica is an international conference, attracting professionals from over 100 countries. According to the event planners, about a third of the visitors were from abroad, an increase of more than 60& over last Analytica. Austria and Switzerland accounted for the largest attendance from visitors outside of Germany. Visitors from the UK, Italy, France, Netherlands, the US, Spain and the Czech Republic were also well represented. Traditionally, industry professionals dominated the field, as marked by the black or charcoal-colored suites walking the exhibit floor. More than previous Analyticas, there seemed to be a noticeable influx of young, academic types sporting canvas satchels and comfortable tennis shoes. This small observation plays nicely with the overall theme of Analytica, “The Future: Look to Tomorrow”. The tradeshow was divided into five exhibit halls featuring 1,032 exhibiting companies. Booths were extravagant and colorful, particularly those belonging to the larger instrument companies. Sweets, gourmet coffee and ice cream were served at nearly every other booth (which might be the reason for the increased energy and enthusiasm). A1 and A2 were by far the busiest halls, which featured exhibitors offering products, solutions and techniques for analysis and quality control. Many vendors do not use Analytica as a platform to officially launch new products. With Pittcon only a month earlier and Analytica occurring every other year, the products on display were not necessarily new, but, in fact, were simply new to the show. Nevertheless, there were some product introductions. Analytik Jena AG introduced the next generation of its elemental analyzers. The multi EA 4000 and 5000 systems replace the multi EA 2000 and 3000, respectively. The company also introduced the multi X 2500, which uses double furnace technology and features a tilting furnace that combines the advantages of both vertical and horizontal analysis on a single-analysis system. Olympus showcased the LV200 Luminoview, a new bioluminescence imaging system. The LV200 is targeted to researchers that want to view live cells with high signal-to-noise ratio and no phototoxic effects, which can result from fluorescent imagers. Olympus also introduced the Advalytix AmpliGrid AG480F and AmpliSlide single-cell amplification system. The system uses coated glass slides, on which 48 single cells can be deposited in a 4 x 12 array. Using appropriate PCR or RT-PCR reagents and the small, palm-sized AmpliSpeed thermal cycler, researchers can run single-cell amplifications. Applying technologies from its clinical operations, Olympus introduced the AT200, AU400 and AU680, which are purpose-built automated analyzers targeting production control and raw materials monitoring in the food and beverage industry. Mettler-Toledo introduced the Quantos laboratory balance. This system replaces the tedium of spatula work with an automated dosing system, which adds small quantities of free flowing substances to reach the target weight without exceeding configurable tolerances. Thermo Scientific unveiled the iCE 3000 Series of atomic absorption (AA) spectrometers. These new AA spectrometers have been developed to accommodate both flame and furnace analyses and were designed to address analytical needs in the food safety industry, as well as the environmental, clinical, pharmaceutical, metals and materials industries. Thermo Scientific also introduced the new Multiskan FC microplate photometer designed for routine applications. Radleys unveiled its Carousel Mk3 parallel synthesis reaction station. The system has been designed to simultaneously heat and stir up to 6 x 5 mL, 10 mL, 25 mL, 50 mL, 170 mL or 250 mL round-bottomed flasks under inert gas and reflux. Radley also displayed the Storm and Breeze, a range of heating and cooling workstations to be used with the Carousel Reaction Station and the Tornado Overhead Stirring unit. The next Analytica is scheduled for March 23–26, 2010, at the New Munich Trade Fair Center. Other events offered by the event planners include three expos in the southeast region. Analytica China will be held later this year on September 23–25 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. In 2006, this event attracted about 8,500 visitors. The Sino-German Symposium on Chromatography will be held at the same time, which should draw a larger crowd to Analytica China. For the first time, Analytica will visit Vietnam on March 18–20, 2009, at the Hanoi International Center for Exhibition. And, finally, Analytica Anacon India, which attracted about 3,000 visitors in 2007, will take place September 29–October 1, 2009, in Hyderabad, before Analytica returns to Germany two years from now.

< | >