Famat Sampling is a Swiss engineering company for 49 years in the development and manufacturing of sampling valves applications for projects in Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Bio-technological industry.

The company supplies a complete range of solutions and services allowing the sampling of products in the best conditions of efficiency in terms of representativity of the samples, security, cleanliness and availability.

Proud of its Swiss roots, Famat Sampling systems style emphasizes security, efficiency, simplicity and maintenance free operations.

Interview with Jorge Esteban, CEO of Famat Sampling.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Jorge Esteban: We are active in the field of powder, granule, pellet, slurries or resin sampling.

Our systems are generally attached to equipment such as reactors, mixers, dryers or grinders used in the chemical, pharmaceutical or even food industries, and are mainly used to sample a tiny quantity of product in this equipment, in order to adjust, correct or control the manufacturing process.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

J.E: We are first and foremost a precision mechanics company with a development department that responds daily to specific requests and tailored solutions made for customers. This is our main source of development, and we focus on user requirements trend in order to grow our portfolio.

Those lasts years, we are seeing an increase in the demand for contained sampling. Which means completely hermetic sampling points with no exchange between the product and the outside world and operators.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

J.E: Our products cover a wide range of solutions and accessories for sampling powders and other solid or slurry products. 

They are available in a range of sizes, with connections adaptable to the existing connections on the equipment for which they are intended. 

We offer solutions that we have standardized according to the type of use, intrusive/non-intrusive, manual/automatic, with detection and/or safety, with a range of options to be added if required, such as switches, integrated rinsing, different materials, and a multitude of containers from simple bottles to continuous liners or flexible chambers or closed cabinets…

But it has to be said that the solutions offered are often modified or adapted by the customer, which means that a good 30% of our business is made up of 100% made-to-measure valves. What contributes to our unique value proposition.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

J.E: The markets in which we operate are varied and constantly growing. Our initial focus was on the fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. But the search for ever more effective solutions that take account of ever more stringent requirements means that we are increasingly being called on in the food and petrochemical industries, as well as new industries that use powders in their processes, such as the automotive battery industry. 

All of which is to say that there isn’t just one market, and these markets change according to the economic climate, even if our main market is pharmaceuticals, which is constantly evolving with increasingly stringent specifications.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

J.E: In the domain of sampling, we are seeing an increase in the demand for contained sampling. Grabbing a sample involves several risks, 2 of which are the following:

  • Risk to the operator, who may be exposed to a potentially dangerous product
  • Risk to the product, which may be altered, either because the conditions (such as pressure) are modified during sampling, or because oxygen or other particles come into contact with the product. 

So, you understand this is a great challenge to take something out, but remain the complete system close!!  This is why, in order to protect the production, more and more of our customers are turning to contained solutions. It started with APIs or other dangerous or expensive concentrates, but nowadays customers specify same kind of systems also for less dangerous products, more common products, but for which it is important to keep them clean. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

J.E: There are a lot of them, because not a week goes by without us having to develop a solution that comes out of our portfolio. 

But I’m particularly fond of our OEL system, which meets high containment requirements (up to OEB5 containment level, that is a containment level of exposure limit for powder handling reaching incredible value lower than 1 μg/ m3

The system consists of a ‘traditional’ sampling valve coupled with a double butterfly valve that allows the user to transfer powder from the point of production to the point of use without any openings/exposures to the outside environment

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

J.E: We have been growing at an average rate of 10 to 20% in recent years. This trend is set to continue over the long term, although we are feeling the effects of the slowdown in the German chemical industry, one of our biggest markets. The US economy has picked up after 2 years of slowdown, and is partly offsetting the decrease in Europe. However, we expect to reach slightly lower figures by 2022.