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Market Profile: Freeze Dryers.

Freeze drying is the removal of water from a sample through sublimation. Sublimation is the process by which a frozen liquid goes directly into a gaseous phase. Freeze dryers sublimate samples in three steps: freezing, primary drying and secondary drying. Unlike evaporation, freeze drying preserves the sample without distorting it.

Freeze dryers are primarily found in pharmaceutical, biotech and food laboratories. Not only does freeze drying preserve samples, but it is often used to stablilize and concentrate them. For example, freeze drying is used to preserve pharmaceutical compounds, bacterial cultures, tissues and enzymes. Thus, many of its application are in the area of sample prep. Freeze dryers are also used to prepare samples for environmental and hydrocarbon analyses and in the semiconductor industry.

There are two types of freeze dryers: industrial and laboratory. Leading lab freeze dryer vendors include Labconco, VirTis Company, Savant Instruments and Kinetics Thermal Systems. VirTis research freeze dryers include the Freezemobile series. Kinetics Thermal Systems/FTS Systems manufactures the EZ Dry bench-top freeze dryer, while Labconco makes the FreeZone brand, and Savant sells Modulyo freeze dryers. Other companies include Martin Christ GmbH, which makes a single-chamber system for thermosensitive samples, and Heto-Holten A/S.

The market for freeze dryers, estimated to be $30-$40 million worldwide, is somewhat mature, yet is stimulated by demand from the biotech and pharmaceutical labs and by innovative products, such as completely automated models. Prices range from $5,000 to $25,000 on average.
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 2000
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