ultraWAVE doubles sample preparation capacity for dietary supplement manufacturer

Now foods


NOW Foods is a nutraceutical and dietary supplement company – still owned by the family that founded it in 1968. NOW manufactures a wide range of consumer products including supplements, health foods, and sports nutrition and natural personal care products. Committed to producing the safest, highest quality products, NOW has invested heavily in product testing over the years and all incoming materials and product testing is done in-house at NOW’s own labs.
NOW’s lab facility in Bloomingdale, IL is regarded as one of the most advanced testing facilities in the natural products industry and is also one of the very few vitamin suppliers capable of testing for microbes in-house, allowing for greater control standards. NOW’s investment ensures that the company will be able to meet ever increasing demands for accurate product analysis of herbal and nutritional raw materials, as well as finished consumer products.


We follow EPA methods, but with modifications to allow for the wide variety of sample types we need to analyze. Prior to the acquisition of the first ultraWAVE in 2010, we used a Milestone ETHOS with a 10-position high pressure rotor. Because most of our samples have high organic content, a high pressure rotor was necessary. Also, we have a wide variety of sample types and since with closed vessel digestion samples must be batched into similar sample types, this was not very efficient.
Because we use high temperature and pressure to digest the more difficult sample types, this shortened vessel lifetime on our closed vessel system and replacement consumables costs was significant.
The ultraWAVE dobled our digestion capacity for the same amount of operator time
Cales Dove, Testing Coordinator, NOW Foods
  • Now foods


the ability of the ultraWAVE to digest mixed batches of sample types, and the convenience of using disposable glass vials interested us and we organized a demo in our lab. We challenged the ultraWAVE with some of our most difficult to digest sample types and it easily coped with them. Its high temperature and pressure capabilities meant it could achieve a complete digestion with all our sample types, even including fish oil gelcaps, which generate a lot of pressure due to the large amount CO2 generated when oil is digested (whole gelcap).
The ability to use disposable vials is a huge time savings over closed vessel microwave. Also, the overall digestion run is shorter due to the very fast cool down time of the water cooled ultraWAVE chamber - this has enabled us to digest 2x the number of samples without any additional operator time.


The ultraWAVE is based on the SRC (Single Reaction Chamber) technology, that achieves extraordinary performance capabilities combining microwave heating with a high-pressure reactor which acts simultaneously as microwave cavity and vessel.

Download the Lab Profile

Read the complete document here
We have doubled our digestion capacity (to 1800 samples/month) compared to closed vessel microwave, but the ultraWAVE is in use full time (5 days/week). We ordered a 2nd ultraWAVE for our Bloomington lab, since our workload is increasing to 2500-3000 samples/month. We also ordered a 3rd ultraWAVE, which will be installed in our lab in Sparks, NV. Needless to say, we are very happy with the way the ultraWAVE is eliminating our sample prep bottleneck.
Now foods