Customer stories

Innovation through technology

University of Alcalá relies on VACUUBRAND
Dr. José Luis Novella with the VACUU·PURE® screw pump on the freeze dryer

Dr. José Luis Novella with the VACUU·PURE® screw pump on the freeze dryer

The University of Alcalá of Madrid is known as an advanced educational institution. It also places great emphasis on innovation in its technical equipment. For over 25 years, the Center for Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology has been sourcing all its vacuum pumps from Línealab. The supplier offers all essential pump technologies from the leading manufacturer VACUUBRAND reknown for producing robust and low-maintenance devices.

How does innovation succeed at the University of Alcalá?

Dr. José Luis Novella: The University has a centuries-old history and has been pioneering from the outset. Its establishment in 1499 marked a groundbreaking fusion: it combined the traditional principles of universities like Salamanca and Paris with the innovative concepts of institutions like Leuven and Bologna. Also remarkable is its rapid planning and construction, which made it the first university city in Europe. Not least because of its unique educational model blending tradition and modernity, the University of Alcalá was included in the list of World Heritage Sites.

Today, the University of Alcalá continues to focus on future-oriented initiatives. Our Center for Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology was created in 1998 specifically to intensify the synergies between the university and industry. The main objective of this center is to carry out collaborative research and development projects and to strengthen the innovative power of the economy through the transfer of technology and knowledge.

Dr. José Luis Novella holds a doctorate in organic chemistry and has extensive experience in industrial pharmacy. For 26 years, he has been the Technical Director of the Research Center for Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Alcalá. The center focuses on collaboration between the university and companies, especially in the chemical-pharmaceutical sector. In his spare time, Novella enjoys pursuing his hobbies such as jazz, history, tennis, trekking through the mountains, and traveling.

What does modern lab equipment mean to you?

Dr. José Luis Novella: We attach great importance to modern and reliable devices. Our focus lies in the research and development of processes, which is why we require vacuum pumps that meet a wide range of criteria. Our main focus is on chemical resistance followed by pressure. We also pay attention to the design of the pumps to ensure uncomplicated maintenance and handling. For mass spectrometry devices in particular, we also require a robust design.

For which processes do you need vacuum?

Dr. José Luis Novella: We mainly work with organic and analytical chemicals. Vacuum plays a crucial role here: it not only ensures optimum preparation of the reactors in order to protect compounds and avoid secondary products, but also provides support in terms of energy efficiency and liquid handling. In addition, an excellent vacuum is the key parameter for our mass spectrometry equipment.

For our applications, we rely on the complete range of pump technologies from VACUUBRAND:

  • Diaphragm pumps for synthesis, vacuum drying oven, rotary evaporator, Schlenk line, filtration and solid phase extraction
  • Screw pumps for high vacuum distillations and lyophilization
  • Rotary vane pumps for high vacuum distillations, short path distillations and analytical equipment



MZ 2C NT diaphragm pump for routine work in the laboratory

MZ 2C NT diaphragm pump for routine work in the laboratory

Which pumps do you use for routine work?

Dr. José Luis Novella: I prefer oil-free diaphragm pumps for this. These impress us with their easy handling, robustness and minimal maintenance requirements. They are also known for their durability. We have had particularly good experience with the MZ 2C NT chemistry diaphragm pump.

VACUU·PURE® 10C screw pump for processes down to 10-3 mbar

VACUU·PURE® 10C screw pump for processes down to 10-3 mbar

What is the latest vacuum technology you use?

Dr. José Luis Novella: We utilize the chemically resistant VACUU·PURE 10C screw pumps for the vacuum range down to 10-3 mbar. We rely on them when it comes to achieving lower pressures or increase the suction power, for example in lyophilization or as fore vacuum pumps for turbomolecular pumps in mass spectrometry. They replace conventional oil pumps because they are cleaner and quieter. Oil-operated pumps are also becoming increasingly uncommon because of their high maintenance requirements and significant waste production, making them less efficient and therefore less sustainable.

How important is cooperation with partners for you?

Dr. José Luis Novella: Línealab is our preferred supplier for laboratory equipment, especially due to the wide range of renowned brands they support, such as VACUUBRAND. For over twenty-five years, Línealab has supplied us with innovative and robust equipment that meets the demanding requirements of a research laboratory and can be easily maintained by our team. We are very satisfied with the long-term cooperation and the technical support, in which our individual needs are taken into account.

What are your plans for the future?

Dr. José Luis Novella: Our aim is to fully automate and digitalize the laboratory so that technicians can access and control it from any computer. As an innovative equipment manufacturer, VACUUBRAND provides us with crucial support in this with modern vacuum technology.

We would like to thank Dr. José Luis Novella and the University of Alcalá for the interview.