Hamilton is a lifescience company specialized in the development, manufacturing and customization of automated liquid handling workstations, sample management systems, precision measurement devices and intelligent ventilation systems. The company’s clients are hospitals, laboratories, research institutes and the industry. With its 3000 employees, Hamilton operates mainly in Switzerland and the USA. 

Interview with Martin Freys, CEO Hamilton Bonaduz AG.

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

Martin Freys: With the invention of the microliter syringe by Clark Hamilton in 1947 the whole successful story of liquid handling began. Today Hamilton is the industry leader and biggest provider of automated liquid handling solutions. 

Our liquid handling platforms range from small-footprint, affordable, entry-level pipettors to complex, multi-integrated logistically-efficient workstations. 

Along the way, many new innovations have emerged like the automated storage solutions. Hamilton offers comprehensive ultra-low temperature automated sample management systems for biological and compound samples. 

Furthermore, Hamilton provides sensor solutions for process analytics. Thereby we focus on the bio biopharmaceutical industry. Our sensors measure more data compared to others and delivers these in real time and wireless to the devices.

Next to these lifescience solutions Hamilton invented the first intelligent ventilator and therefore established the separate Company Hamilton Medical in Switzerland.

During the covid pandemic Hamilton experienced a rapid and massive growth in many of the areas. For two-thirds of all automated PCR-Test worldwide Hamilton Platform are used. Almost all vaccine manufacturer used Hamilton sensors to monitor the development and production of the vaccines and every fifth ventilator is derived by Hamilton.

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

M.F: Liquid Handling Robotics: STAR22, the new version of the most successful liquid handling platform on the market. New features for the STAR make the STAR even more flexible, user friendly, and easy to use. New software features of the Software Venus 5 allow to use Power Steps, so a lab technician can efficiently and intuitively program basic workflows. New visualization features help to improve process safety by guiding the user during initial loading steps and provide visual feedback about the progress of the running methods. 

New CO2NTROL Sensor, a revolutionary new sensor for inline measurement of dissolved CO2 in real time for Bioproduction processes. Measuring CO2 in real time and inline allows to increase the Reproducibility of production lots and supports upscaling from R&D applications to large Bioreactors.  

Storage: New Verso Q10 Hotel, the Verso Q50 and Verso Q75 tube stores for easy-to-handle sample management in research laboratories. These new configurations of the Hamilton Storage Verso platform are ultra-compact automated storage and retrieval systems for chemical and biological substances including features such as access control and full traceability for all samples. 

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

M.F: The HAMILTON-S1 is one of ten ventilators Hamilton offers. The «S1» provides an automated control of the patient’s ventilation and oxygenation with the patented solution INTELLiVENT®-ASV®

The Microlab STAR is the most successful liquid handling solution. The platform has always been used in a wide variety of laboratories, universities and institutions. Its flexibility is unique. The Microlab STAR can be expanded, specialized and individualized.

The Incyte Arc is one of many various sensors. The Incyte Arc enables real-time, in-situ measurement of viable cells, making it possible to detect events and respond in real time without increased off-line sampling. Many Covid19 vaccine manufacturer used these Hamilton sensors.

Hamilton offers many sample storage solutions. For example, the Verso Q-Series lineup of systems – Q20, Q50, and Q75 – boasts many of the accommodating features of a large system in an extremely compact footprint, so samples can be stored anywhere needed. Thanks to fully automated designs, these small but powerful systems allow to spend more time being productive and less time managing samples.

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

M.F: We are in all stages of the markets: 

In very early with our new innovative sensor technologies that support new methods and control of bioproduction processes or on the forefront of large molecular Nucleic Acid Extraction with our Robotics Division. We are active in well-established but still growing markets for lab automation. And we are active in a stable market for manual precision micro-liter syringes, a business that Hamilton is leading since over 60 years. 

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

M.F: Alike in most businesses there are strong trends towards digitalization, miniaturization, and increasing productivity: New methods and technologies allow to process more samples, to produce larger batches, or to manage more samples with the same man power in shorter time and with higher quality. 

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

M.F: The most successful products are: 

  • The micro liter syringes that are sold since over 60 years.
  • The Hamilton STAR liquid handling platform that is on the market since over 20 years and still the benchmark of the industry.
  • The Hamilton PH Sensors that experience immense growth throughout the past years. 
  • The Hamilton Storage Verso automated sample management system, which made Hamilton Storage being one of the two market leaders in its segment. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

M.F: Hamilton experiences an enormous growth generated by Covid. We hope and expect that we all turn back to normal life and reestablish our in-person contacts in private life and business. At the same time, we expect that business will stabilize on a 60% higher level compared to 2019 with additional growth of 10% to 15% per year.