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Micro products

Microfluidics is booming!

Microfluidics is a multidisciplinary field studying the behaviour of fluids constrained to a small scale. 

 

This field has outgrown the fundamental research stage and is being applied in many industries, such as biomedicine (lab-on-a-chip), continuous flow chemistry (microreactors) or molecule screening in R&D laboratories.  

 

By working with channels significantly smaller than one millimetre, the analyses and exchanges become faster and more efficient, the number of samples or reagents required are reduced, the portability of systems increase and costs are reduced. The meticulous control of the process conditions in very small spaces ensures that microfluidics paves the way for new reaction schemes that are inconceivable in batches. 

 

For many years, the Sirris Product Development Hub has been active in this field. In 2019, interest in microfluidics increased substantially, as did the number of new development projects, especially for industrial stakeholders aiming to diversify their activities with a new technological approach.

 

The academic world is not falling behind, having also started new research projects or are preparing others, whereby the engineering aspect is the same size or larger than the biological aspect it supports. A meeting of two especially innovative worlds!

 

Whether in equipment to detect pathogens in the human body, analysis of biological parameters, real-time dosing of antibiotics or quality control in the agri-food industry, microfluidics meets new demand with its high precision and speed at lower costs.

 

Sirris provides a unique range of technological resources to jump right into this new paradigm. 

 

The Seraing site hosts the entire process chain, from pre-concept, computer-assisted design and the construction of demonstrators and functional prototypes using micro-processing, injection moulding or – more recently – micro-3D printing to industrial transfer.

Breakfast session on microfluidics

On 21 November 2019, in close cooperation with InnovaTech and with the support of Pôle MecaTech and Interreg, Sirris organised a breakfast session on microfluidics

 

Forty early birds gained insights into this field from various presentations, which were followed by a guided tour of the installations at the Seraing site. 

 

One of the highlights of the event was an introduction to the main concepts and an overview of the areas of application of microfluidics. This raised awareness in both newcomers to the field and increased the confidence of those already actively applying microfluidics in their decision to use the approach. 

 

Testimonials from industry stakeholders in the healthcare and chemical sectors, including Thierry Baltus (Antigon), Pascal Mertens (Coris Bioconcept) and Julien Estager (Certech), also demonstrate how this technological domain will become part of our lives in the near future!

New printed sensors

 
Integration of sensors in products is soaring, especially in IoT applications and the new smart products that are increasingly forming part of our daily lives. 
 
The decrease in production costs and the ease of integrating the sensors play an important part in this process. That explains why a technological approach based on the microprinting of equipment has lately been gaining momentum in various fields of application. One example is the healthcare sector, which has recognised the potential of selectively and accurately depositing a range of inks, to ensure that various stimuli can be detected once the inks dry. 
 
In the last few months, Sirris has received many requests to develop printed sensors, including shear-force sensors on flexible and stretchable substrates, systems that can detect fluids in closed spaces and electrodes for the electrochemical analysis of biological analytes.
 
Depending on the dimensions and resolution of the electrodes to be produced, Sirris was able to deploy all their micro-printing technologies, from screen printing on a flat surface –compatible with a high printing speed and resolutions in the range of a tenth of a millimetre, to aerosol-jet-printing technology, which can be used to print lines not thicker than 20 µm on 3D substrates. The Sirris Product Development Hub also has other resources available, with intermediate resolution and capacity, such as inkjet printing and jetting valves. 
 
micro printing