Digitally enabled new frontiers in the material-analysis space

Jan. 12, 2022
"The ability to evaluate different technologies prior to a purchase has become convenient using digital or virtual meetings."

Analytik Jena's Monde Qhobosheane, Ph.D.

A few months back, Endress+Hauser opened its new campus outside of Houston, Texas. The facility, comprised of customer, integration and demonstration areas, is intended to highlight advancements from the Swiss-based process/laboratory instrumentation and automation supplier while serving as a hub for connecting with clients and the wider manufacturing and education community.

During the grand opening, stakeholders discussed their varied plans for the new space. One such rep was Monde Qhobosheane, Ph.D., president and CEO of Analytik Jena US LLC, whose ‘product management of applications’ team members work in the Houston Campus' material-testing lab.

Here, Qhobosheane explains the relationship his company has with Endress+Hauser a bit further, while providing a glimpse at the future of smart chemical processing.

Smart Industry: How are new, hi-tech instruments you discussed during the Endress+Hauser press conference changing manufacturing / propelling smart initiatives?

Monde: Our products are customized for each customer we partner with. This means that our manufacturing capabilities must be unique and flexible to give customers what they need. Such customization fuels partnerships and collaboration with new start-up companies who are looking to create unique solutions for their customers. 

The changes the world has experienced over the past two years have allowed our customized products to be used in new application areas and new government-driven initiatives. Antiquated products in the market are unable to address the needs of these smart initiatives, such as the identification of COVID in wastewater using real-time polymerase chain reaction.

Smart Industry: What is unique about the chemical-processing field in this respect? What unique challenges exist in this space?

Monde: Within the chemical-processing space, or the material-analysis space as we say, the end-user demographic has changed; companies are hiring and bringing in new talent because the tenured employees are retiring.  The material-analysis space has transitioned from being a business that was typically used for the R&D and QA/QC space. The material-analysis space is now seen in the process world, which means when it comes to manufacturing, hardware robustness, software ease-of use, service, support and training, the entire offering must be customized. 

We find that our customers are looking to us for support, training and education around the technologies that they are using on a daily basis. This gives our team the opportunity to create unique offerings to support our customers and, essentially, help drive their businesses.

Smart Industry: What does this new Endress+Hauser facility enable you to do differently / better?

Monde: Our new location in the Houston area allows Analytik Jena to be geographically closer to one of the biggest markets in the world. We now have the capability to create new relationships and support customers across the country.

Smart Industry: How is the broader concept of research (in the industrial arena) changing as digital / automated efforts mature? 

Monde: When it comes to research in the industrial space, we do not see much change. The traditional Research & Development teams are still performing research in product improvement or the development of new products. As the world continues to adapt digitally, the access for researchers to identify new testing techniques has become simpler. The ability to evaluate different technologies prior to a purchase has become convenient using digital or virtual meetings.

Smart Industry: What most excites you about the near future of your corner of this whole digital-transformation push?

Monde: As the world utilizes more of the digital space, what has made Analytik Jena excited is the ease of access to potential partners and customers. Our company and team is excited to be able to connect with customers more easily. The digital transformation has brought us together in new ways and we hope to be able to continue to bring our brand and services closer to our customers.