Vapourtec recently installed their 50th R Series flow chemistry system.
There are now Vapourtec systems in use or planned in UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, USA, Canada and Australia, both in academic and industrial labs.
But Vapourtec are still very much a technology- rather than a sales-led company. The overwhelming majority of scientists who demo a Vapourtec system end up buying one, so to a great extent it is the product that sells itself.
Duncan Guthrie, MD, attributes much of this success to design decisions taken early on, when developing the original system. A lot of consultation with key prospective users resulted in a system with many unique core features, (complete reaction visibility, real time pump monitoring, and computer modelling of reagent dispersion, for example) that remain unchallenged by any competing product even today.
“By putting the resources into getting the platform right from the start, Vapourtec have been able to rely on stability and reliability of the core technology while systematically adding capability with software upgrades and modular add ons. The modular approach has become more important in the past year as users have increasingly become interested in more complex flow scenarios, with multi step reactions, more than two reagent channels and automatic loading of reagents from a liquid handler.
“Meanwhile the original focus on usability of the system has started to really pay back now, as increasing numbers of sales come from referrals or repeat purchases.”
As well as an increase in manufacturing throughput, this increase in the installed user base has meant a growth in the company’s service offering.
“Thankfully, the system has proved extremely reliable,” says Chris Butters, service manager.
“But the company has moved on a lot from the very early days when any service required was carried out by the R&D staff in their own cars !”.
And Vapourtec has now appointed a US based field service agent to serve the growing market there.