I love a conference, and Achema really is one of the biggest around! Once every 3 years, specialists from around the world gather to showcase chemical equipment and technology. The most recent took place a couple of weeks ago in Frankfurt, and I was lucky enough to be there with Vapourtec.
Conferences are a fantastic opportunity to meet people in the flow chemistry community. It’s always great to talk to other vendors, catch-up with existing customers and hopefully meet some new ones. I also had the chance to present some of the application work that I have done, which is always an exciting opportunity; I spoke in detail for the first time about Vapourtec’s collaboration with New Path Molecular in using an R-Series with a newly developed reactor that, when combined, makes a platform capable of automated peptide synthesis (which will be featured in an upcoming post). I’m really proud to have been part of this project and how the development of new technology has been able to tackle some of the chemical challenges we faced – a theme I have followed since starting my PhD with self-optimising reactors. The talk was well received and resulted in quite a lot of people visiting me at the stand to discuss the chemistry further, which is nice (my slides are here, if you’re interested).
Unique to this conference, all of the flow chemistry vendors allied together and created the Flow Chemistry Pavilion: a focussed concentration of all of the vendors together. I’ll admit I was a little sceptical to start with, we have competitors and they were in close proximity, but the reality is that it worked very well; people with any interest in flow were coming to the pavilion and because everyone was there, we all saw much higher footfall. It also led to a great feeling of community, as all of the vendors started to direct people to the most appropriate supplier for their application: “Need a scale-up option? You need to go and see so and so, just over there.” “Inline separation you say? Ah, well that chap there is the expert in that.”
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable conference.