Strong partners: Eppendorf AG and Klüber Lubrication develop sustainable packaging solution

The search for resource-friendly packaging for a special lubricant has united them: Eppendorf AG in Hamburg and Klüber Lubrication in Munich. 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 in times of corona.

The result of the cooperation is a starter kit for single and multi-channel pipettes produced by the leading life sciences company based in Hamburg. This base kit contains a special lubricant made by the Bavarian lubricants manufacturer 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-lubrications 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 such a pouch was opened, the lab technicians had to either use its contents quickly or dispose of them along with the remaining lubricant. Simply resealing it and using the contents later: 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 our toothpaste. 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 resealed – even if the user only has one free hand to do so. 

Tim Potratz, District Sales Manager Klüber Lubrication Germany, coordinated the project. “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.” In close cooperation with the company, the ideal packaging solution made by Eppendorf was soon ready for a successful launch.  

Various packagings had been tested. The Eppendorf Safe-Lock Tube turned out to be the ideal solution.

Eppendorf pipettes and reaction tubes are used in labs around the world. Image source: Eppendorf

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