07.07.2022 by Thomas Rampke, Aileen Sammler

60 Years of NETZSCH-Geraetebau: The History of Heat Flow Meters

Never before has the topic of energy saving and efficiency been such a worldwide focus of business and politics as it is today. Particularly in the field of insulating materials and efficient thermal insulation of residential and commercial buildings, providing enormous potential. Learn more about the history and development of our Heat Flow Meters.

As part of our communication campaign focusing on 60 years of NETZSCH-Gerätebau GmbH, for July we will be looking at the Heat Flow Meter (HFM) series.

Our longtime employee, Thomas Rampke, remembers how it all began in the early 2000s:

As a graduate chemist, Thomas Rampke, started working in the sales department at NETZSCH-Geraetebau in April 1991. Initially responsible for Eastern Europe, he later worked as a customer consultant for the new German states before taking over the position as Sales Manager Germany in 2004. As Vice President Sales & Marketing, he spent two years at our subsidiary NETZSCH Instruments in the US before returning to the headquarter in Selb, Germany in 2010. Today, he is responsible for Global Sales Support for the Analyzing & Testing Business Unit.

Knowledge of thermophysical properties such as DensityThe mass density is defined as the ratio between mass and volume. density, specific heat, Thermal DiffusivityThermal diffusivity (a with the unit mm2/s) is a material-specific property for characterizing unsteady heat conduction. This value describes how quickly a material reacts to a change in temperature.thermal diffusivity or Thermal ConductivityThermal conductivity (λ with the unit W/(m•K)) describes the transport of energy – in the form of heat – through a body of mass as the result of a temperature gradient (see fig. 1). According to the second law of thermodynamics, heat always flows in the direction of the lower temperature.thermal conductivity has become increasingly important over time. For example, in order to keep energy demand as low as possible, it is advisable to use insulation and building materials with low thermal conductivity or low k-value.

Figure: Method for measurement of thermal conductivity

Already in the 1990’s, NETZSCH Italy Verona (NIV) became the representative for Holometrix-Micromet, a renowned supplier of instruments for thermal conductivity testing, based in the US.

In 2001, NETZSCH Analyzing & Testing procured the Holometrix-Micromet division and, due to this expansion of the product portfolio, was now able to test the entire range from insulation materials to highly conductive heat sinks. Production and sales first continued to be handled from the company’s premises in Massachusetts, USA. Even then, contract testings were carried out for customers in the company’s own laboratory. 

Read about the acquisition of Holomotrix in our customer magazine onset from 2002:

The Holometrix Lambda 2000 series became the HFM 436 Lambda: Without major exterior changes, internal features (mechanics, electronics) of the HFM 436 were reworked and optimized several times.

Photo: The Holometrix Lambda 200 series

After first moving to new premises in Burlington, Massachusetts, in 2001, the company was relocated to 129 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, together with our American subsidiary NETZSCH Instruments North America (NIB) in 2011. The new location offered more space for production, the laboratory and offices which were necessary because of the expansion of production (including for calorimetry) and the high number of instruments manufactured in all product lines, including the new HFM.

Take a look at our brochure on the HM 436 Lambda from 2008:

Photo: HFM 436 series with rounded front in NETZSCH design

Further Development and Redesign of the Product Portfolio

In 2010, the HFM 436 series was redesigned: Heat Flow Meters, adapted to the NETZSCH design at that time, featuring a modern exterior.

With the development of a new electronics and a thermal printer for data output, built into the instrument for the first time in 2012, operation of the HFM without a PC, e.g., for quality assurance, became easier and more convenient.

As of 2016, the Proteus®® SmartMode software for the HFM 436 was available: The old Q-Lab for the HFM, which was taken over by Holometrix in 2001 and maintained by NIB, but only developed to a limited extend, was replaced by the Proteus®® software, significantly improving handling and reporting.

Photo: HFM with integrated printer

Relocation to the Headquarters in Selb, Germany

In 2017, the entire production of NETZSCH Instruments North America (NIB) moved to the our headquarters in Selb, Germany, with the introduction of the HFM 446 Lambda, initially as S (Small) and M (Medium) versions, followed by the L (Large) version in 2018. The 446 S series marked the first time a small HFM “entry-level” model was available in the NETZSCH portfolio.

Photo: HFM 446 Lambda in S, M and L sizes

Energy Saving with the Eco-Line

Never before has the topic of energy saving and efficiency been such a worldwide focus of business and politics as it is today. Particularly in the field of insulating materials and efficient thermal insulation of residential and commercial buildings, providing enormous potential. It is therefore all the more important that insulating materials can be produced to a high and consistent quality and brought to market under strict control of their performance characteristics. With the introduction of the HFM 446 Eco-Line last year, NETZSCH launched a new energy-efficient HFM for reduction of measurement times and lower energy consumption.

Photo: With the HFM 446 Eco-Line, measurements can be performed up to 40% faster

Read more about the advantages and features of the Eco-Line next week. We will also be introducing a very special project in the field of round-robin testing.

Take Part in our Raffle!

Who has the oldest Heat Flow Meter still in use? Send your entry including a short story, photo and serial number to NGB_Marketing@NETZSCH.com.

Win a voucher** in the amount of €1,500, redeemable for such transactions as the purchase of a spare part or accessory, the booking of a customer training session (on-site, online, NOA) or contract testing, the commissioning of a repair, or the purchase of one of our analyzers. Entry deadline is August 9.

** The voucher is company-specific and can only be redeemed for a product or service. It is not possible to receive cash payment nor to transfer to third parties. In Germany, the voucher is to be regarded as “gross” for tax purposes.