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Eppendorf and Klüber Lubrication develop sustainable packaging solution

Eppendorf and Klüber Lubrication develop sustainable packaging solution
Photo courtesy of Klueber Lubrication

The search for resource-friendly packaging for a special lubricant has united Eppendorf AG in Hamburg, Germany, and Klüber Lubrication in Munich, Germany. Together, the two companies found the ultimate solution that is in the best interest of the environment. That solution has since been making work easier in labs around the globe – an important benefit for the health sector, particularly during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The result of the cooperation is a starter kit for single and multi-channel pipettes produced by the leading life sciences company in Hamburg. This base kit contains a special lubricant made by Klüber Lubrication that meets all the requirements of applications related to the pipette piston, including material compatibility, ageing resistance, and autoclavability, i.e. stability during all forms of sterilisation. Minute amounts of the special lubricant are enough for several re-lubrication of the piston and the inside of the cylinder in which the piston moves.

However, one small, seemingly insignificant detail did not initially meet the high standards of the development partners: the packaging of the grease doses. 

“Because we are very concerned with sustainability in all of our market segments, we definitely wanted to replace the previous packaging – a sealed pouch that is torn open – with a more resource-friendly solution,“ says Melanie Kalmaz, director, Purchasing & Material Logistics Eppendorf Liquid Handling GmbH. The problem: once the pouch was opened, lab technicians had to either use its contents quickly or dispose of them along with the residual lubricant. Simply resealing it and using the contents later was not possible.

Representatives of the two companies from Hamburg and Munich launched a project to do away with the sealed pouches. A variety of ideas were brought to the table. But many containment alternatives did not meet expectations: A tube cannot be emptied completely, as we all know from toothpaste tubes. With mascara applicators, large amounts of the substance stick to the brush. Finally, the project team had the idea of using a product Eppendorf themselves had developed – a small reaction tube. The lid of the Eppendorf Safe-Lock Tubes, which lab techs around the world simply call Eppi™, is quickly and easily resealable, even if the user only has one free hand to do so. 

“It is important to us to offer not only high-performing special lubricants, but complete solutions for a tribological challenge. This is why we were glad to take on the job of testing the new packaging concept right down to the last detail, and to adapt the processes of the external filler precisely to the requirements,” said Tim Potratz, district sales manager, Klüber Lubrication Germany, who coordinated the project.