A Micro Filtration Analysis System:
Silicon micromachining opens new markets for real time sample filtration analysis
Technologies used

Hybrid Technology, Silicon Micro Machining

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    333 Industrial Process Control Equipment
Aquamarijn Micro Filtration B.V. develops, produces and sells high flux microfiltration membranes (microsieves) with large filtration area (discs 4-6 inch) and microfiltration systems for bulk filtration applications (yeast cell filtration of lager beer). Aquamarijn has been active in this field since 1992, employs 4 people, and has a turnover of 500 K. The company holds five patents in the filtration area, some of which are shared with their strategic marketing partners.
In the analytical industry, the trend is towards smaller sample volumes with a higher throughput, which means more complex systems performing rapid analysis. This requires small system volumes, and thus further integration and miniaturisation of filtration membranes and liquid handling systems.
In this project, a prototype of a miniaturised micro filtration analysis system has been developed using micro system technology (MST). This will be the first of its type on the market.
The system comprises:
Fluid channels and restrictors etched into a Silicon wafer
Microsieves etched from Silicon
Bought in sensor dies (pressure and temperature) mounted onto the Silicon and electrical connections made
Micro valves
All components are produced on a single board, which offers the following benefits over existing systems
Analysis of small sample volumes (less than 1ml)
Fast response time (minutes rather than hours)
Ability to control the separation process
Separation at low pressure, preventing cell damage
The option to produce a hand held device
The new miniaturised micro filtration analysis system will meet the growing market needs, and Aquamarijn expects to create adequate marketing and manufacturing facilities with their strategic partners within two years. The filtration analysis system will be sold to blood banks, breweries, pharmaceutical laboratories, dairy industry and research institutes.
The duration of the experiment was 16 months. The development work, up to the prototype stage cost 151 K of which the FUSE investment was 148.3 K. The additional cost to industrialise is estimated at 90 K. Before the system is brought onto the market, the prototype development will need to be finalised. The time to meet market expectations is estimated at 12 months.
One immediate result from the project are the microsieves modules, for which there appears to be a strong market demand, as shown by the pilot market tests. If the investment of the development of the microanalysis system is to be returned by the sales of the microsieve modules alone the payback period is estimated to be 4 to 5 years. However, this payback period will be shortened to 3 years by the introduction of the filtration analysis system on the market in 2001. The ROI, assuming a 5 year product life for both the microsieve and complete filtration system will be at least 3 times the initial investment.
If the project were repeated, Aquamarijn would have divided the project into two separate development programs. In the first program/project new technology would have been introduced with individual components and in the second part the full system would have been developed.
In Aquamarijns experience, MST is a relatively young and promising technology for miniaturisation of microanalysis systems. Infrastructure for high volume production is available and feasible. However it must be recognised that every micro fabricated component really needs its own full development project.


Aquamarijn Micro Filtration B.V.
Beatrixlaan 2
7255 DB Hengelo (Gld)
The Netherlands

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Hybrid Technology, Silicon Micro Machining technology provided Aquamarijn Micro Filtration B.V. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Postbus 1001
NL-3900 BA Veenendaal
The Netherlands