The science of success

Benefitting from cutting-edge equipment and a customer-oriented philosophy, Retsch has become the world’s leading solution provider for size reduction and particle sizing technology

In 1915, F. Kurt Retsch established a laboratory supplies wholesaler bearing his name, but it wasn’t until 1923 that the Duesseldorf business – and its pioneering founder – began to receive widespread recognition. Eight years after opening its doors, Retsch GmbH was granted a patent for its first piece of original laboratory equipment. Known worldwide as the Retsch Mill, the innovative mortar grinder eliminated the need for tiresome manual griding with hand mortars, earning Retsch an excellent reputation in the international science and research community.

Since 1990, Retsch GmbH has been a member of the ever-growing Verder Group, playing a key role in the Group’s Scientific Division. In July 2020, Retsch UK and Microtrac MRB in the UK were formally brought together as Verder Scientific UK.

Today, Restch GmbH holds numerous patents and is the leading manufacturer of lab equipment for the preparation and characterization of solids in research and quality control. True to its roots, the company’s products fall into three main categories: milling, sieving, and assisting. Verder Scientific UK Marketing Manager, Robert Prior, explains more:

“Within the Retsch range of mills and grinders, there is a specialist product for every application,” he begins, “but what they have in common is that they produce a perfectly homogeneous, unaltered and uncontaminated sample so that the subsequent analysis is always trustworthy and meaningful. Retsch solutions combine high performance, ease of use, maximum operational safety and longevity, which, when combined, deliver unmatched returns on investment.”

Retsch continues to approach product development this way in 2020, a year in which the company has launched two brand-new key innovations: the Grindomix GM 300 and the MM 500 Mixer Mill nano. “The Grindomix GM 300 knife mill is the ideal instrument for the grinding and homogenization of foodstuffs and exceeds all special laboratory & analytical requirements,” Robert states. “It allows you to pre- and fine grind sample volumes up to 4.5 liters, quickly and reproducibly.

“The new MM 500 Mixer Mill nano, on the other hand, is a compact, versatile bench-top unit, which has been developed specially for dry, wet and cryogenic grinding of up to 2 x 45 milliliter sample materials within seconds. There is also a vario-version for processing between 2 and 50 samples in one batch, which can be equipped with screw-top grinding jars from 1.5 milliliters to 50 milliliters.”

In order to support Restsch’s ability to create and manufacture products such as the MM 500 and the Grindomix, the Verder Group rebuilt the Retsch GmbH Haan-based production facility in 2005, before enlarging it substantially in 2018. This facility, in Germany, offers state-of-the-art manufacturing capabilities. The Haan facility and the Hope facility in Derbyshire contain application laboratories where customers can seek advice surrounding the optimum solution for sample preparation tasks.

“Our application laboratories process and measure samples free-of-charge for our customers and provide a recommendation for the most suitable method and instrument,” Robert reveals. “It’s not just our clients that benefit from the laboratories either. Retsch products profit from continual development and improvement as our product specialists run customer tests. It’s all part of our wider research and development process that also includes feedback requests from users via questionnaires, face-to-face meetings and user conferences.”

As is evident from the impressive infrastructure and modern processes Robert describes, Restch’s position as part of Verder Scientific continues to drive the company’s growth. An integral part of Verder Scientific (VS) for the past three decades, Retsch sits at the center of a growing network of VS offices around the world, including large facilities in the USA, China, Russia, and the UK, all with their own application laboratories and product specialists.

Restch’s ability to adapt and embrace new technologies has also helped the firm to keep growing, especially in a year when Covid-19 has led to major changes in how many companies across the world do business. Over the course of the last few years, the internet has dramatically increased global awareness of the Retsch brand and social media sites such as LinkedIn have become an important way to keep in touch with customers and better understand their future needs. However, online and virtual technologies have never been more important than in 2020, when global regulations and restrictions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic have forced businesses like Retsch to evolve. According to Robert, it was a challenge the company relished – with the results surpassing all expectations.

“While in-person meetings may well be much reduced this year, enquiry levels have been strong and our production facilities have been unaffected with rapid delivery times continuing on standard solutions,” he declares. “Microsoft Teams has become a key tool for supporting clients, whether that be live streaming sample trials or meeting to discuss customer requirements. Retsch has increased the number of global webinars aimed at existing customers to share best practice and also potential customers to demonstrate the quality of our solutions and the in-house expertise that ensure the continual improvement of our product portfolio.

“As we adapt to living with Covid-19 before any vaccine or remedy is available, Retsch continues to use the time to focus on increased research and development, as well as updating and improving digital content, including our web site, presentations, application reports, and applications database. We are also increasing the amount of time and effort spent engaging with customers and interested individuals online through social media, as well as via webinars and Microsoft Teams video calls. These changes should ensure that if, as expected, there is less travel and fewer in-person meetings moving forwards, the company is able to better serve customer needs and inform individuals and organizations about our milling, sieving & assistance solutions.”

As a member of Verder Scientific, Retsch employees have benefited from outstanding training and support during the Covid-19 pandemic. This has enabled them to fully adopt and champion tools such as Microsoft Teams and GoToWebinar as a means of educating and supporting customers and interested parties. Staff are well-prepared for the working ways of the future, and investment is set to increase in other tools that will help the company support clients in a changed business landscape. Robert is bullish about Retsch’s future.

“Our goal is simple,” he remarks, “we want to become the go-to global solutions provider for those with milling, sieving, and assisting requirements. Retsch provides high-quality products that can, and do, deliver significant returns on investment and that objective will be central as we continue to develop the range of solutions we offer.”

www.retsch.com