Spectral Service AG – A growing vision, not just an idea


NMR spectroscopy is a very powerful analytical method and its capability becomes more and more valued. In the past years the interest in NMR analyses increased further, giving us the opportunity and the idea to expand our service. In 2017 Spectral Service AG founded its daughter company Steelyard Analytics Inc.. But let´s start in the beginning….


Where is our service required?


The first and most important question of the expansion was „where“. Where is our service required? Where is a suitable area for a NMR laboratory? Where can we help our customers the most? This seems to be an easy question but it actually was not. With customers all over the world it is not easy to decide where to go but in the end a decision had to be made. Spectral Service has a vast amount of U.S. customers and the increasing difficulties with sample shipments across international borders and therefore time delays due to custom controls showed that opening a new test facility on the east coast of the U.S. seemed to be a perfect solution.

With a location on the east coast there is a small time shift which enables a good cooperation between Germany and the U.S.. In Gaithersburg (MD) we found a perfect space surrounded by other important companies and authorities like USP, NIST, and the FDA. So that´s where it all takes place and where Steelyard Analytics Inc. was born.

Every child needs a name

In our case we named our new daughter company Steelyard Analytics Inc.! This name has two different meanings for our company. On the one hand, it is an indication of the principle of our scientific activities, and on the other hand, there is a reference to the history of international trade relations. A Steelyard is synonymous with an ancient Roman beam balance. The measuring principle which utilizes one yard length of steel to universally weigh a set of various goods on a marketplace is still used in many countries today. The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer is the modern counterpart of the Steelyard balance — capable of universally determining the number of molecules and atoms of (m)any kind. An antique mechanical scale on the one hand, a quantum mechanical high-tech scale on the other with the same philosophical principle of primary universality.

In addition Steelyard also refers to a place in old Europe, a place of significant importance to the medieval trade organization, the Hanseatic League. The Steelyard is a place in London that has served the merchants of Cologne for over a century as a free port and thus represents a symbol of cosmopolitan economic and cultural relations between states. Although this contrasts with the current trend of many politicians, we consciously want to build a transatlantic bridge between culture, science and commerce under the name Steelyard.

The green light and more than one reason to celebrate

After all the organisation was completed Steelyard started operating the new lab in the beginning of 2019. On May 10th we had our Grand Opening and we were pleased to invite guest of several other companies and our new neighbors for a first acquaintance into our new lab. What a coincidence that it was also the 29th anniversary of Spectral Service AG.

By now Steelyard is up and running and provides our American customers with the service which is already well known from Spectral Service AG. Steelyard operates a 600 MHz Bruker Avance III HD NMR spectrometer equipped with a helium-cooled cryoprobe. With this instrument we are able to perform a vast array of NMR spectroscopic experiments, from complex structure elucidations using 2D NMR spectroscopy to quantitative analyses by means of 1H or 31P NMR. With the attached SampleJet, a high-capacity sample changer, we are capable of running in full automation around the clock.

Buffet at the Grand Opening
Avance III 600 MHz NMR spectrometer

To sum it up Spectral Service AG is sending a warm welcome and congratulations from Germany!