Eppi® is 60

The microliter system celebrates its birthday

Not many innovations set standards and revolutionize application processes, but the Eppendorf Tubes®, also known as the “Eppi®”, can certainly claim to be one of them.

The first Eppendorf Tubes® appeared on the market in 1963 and quickly gained popularity in German medical and bioscience laboratories. Eppis® allowed laboratory workers to fill and store small sample amounts easily and practically. They were also useful for multiple experiments, because they reduced the total amount of sample material needed. The development of vaccines and new medications would be unthinkable today without the Eppi® and its specific material properties, which Eppendorf has continued to develop.

Part of the microliter system

The impetus for developing the Eppendorf Tubes® was the 1961 invention of the piston pipette, which enabled the precise manual measurement of liquids in milliliters.  Since at the time there were no devices that could process these samples further, Eppendorf invented the microliter system, consisting of mixers, centrifuges and Eppendorf Tubes®. To this day, these products remain the core not just of laboratory work, but also Eppendorf’s product portfolio.

By 1966, Eppendorf had sold more than one million Eppendorf Tubes®, and just five years later the ten-million mark was passed. The great demand for products from an ever larger portfolio led to Eppendorf’s decision to open a production site in 1975 in Oldenburg, Holstein. The same year saw the market launch of a capless tube for the automated pipetting systems on the market, and different sizes adapted to customer needs were also produced. In 1992 Eppendorf's ”Biopur®“ standard was certified. Laboratory consumables that bear this seal are sterile and free of DNA and even ATP, among other things. They are subject to a total of eight lot-specific tests that are all certified. Biopur® represents the highest grade of purity currently offered by Eppendorf.

Eppendorf Tubes® are produced in our main factory in Oldenburg under the most modern manufacturing conditions. Over a billion Eppis™ have been manufactured since the Eppi™ was invented, and today the Eppendorf Tubes® set the standard worldwide for simple, safe sample processing in the microliter area.

The average German laboratory uses hundreds of them every week, ensuring the Eppi™ an uncontested ranking as one of the most important consumable items in the lab – as well as being one of the most well-known products associated with the Eppendorf name. Laboratories all over the world profit from the quality of the Eppi™, which has set standards across the industry together with other Eppendorf consumables and devices.

New 5.0 mL Eppi®

In 2013 we have launched the Eppendorf Tubes® 5.0 mL on the market, a step that will close a gap in the available tube sizes. We will also be offering an extensive system of adapters, rotors, racks and accessories. A big new microliter system is born, and with it, a new chapter in the success story of the Eppi™! We already have the first proof: even before its official launch, the Eppendorf Tubes® 5.0 mL and the Tube Rack 5.0 mL, along with other Eppendorf products, won the red dot design award 2013 in the category Life Science and Medicine.

In 2013, the Eppendorf Tubes® 5.0 mL were launched on the market. With this, Eppendorf closed an important gap regarding available sizes. In addition, a comprehensive system of adapters, rotors, racks, and accessories is being offered since then. A new, large microliter system was born and continued the success story of the Eppis®. The first proof: even before the official launch, Eppendorf Tubes® 5.0 mL and the Tube Rack 5.0 mL, among other Eppendorf products, won the Red Dot Design Award 2013 in the field of life science and medicine.

With the market introduction of the Conical Tubes 25ml – with its screw and SnapTec® clasp – in 2019, an important tube size was launched to complement the established 15 mL and 50 mL volume formats.

SafeCode system enables secure identification

With the introduction of the SafeCode System in 2022 – for different volumes – mixing up samples in everyday laboratory work is a thing of the past. The system enables secure tracking of sample containers in all phases of the laboratory workflow. All that is needed is a scanning device or cell phone. All consumables and each sample can be unequivocally identified and stored in a traceable manner thanks to unique labeling.

In addition, all documentation files related to the sample vessel, the batch number, certificates, or technical drawings are linked to the sample online.

World first: biobased tubes

In 2022, Eppendorf became the first manufacturer ever to launch more sustainable tubes for direct sample contact. These have the same high performance and quality characteristics with consistent purity properties. The Eppendorf Tubes® with screw cap in 5.0 mL, 15 mL, 25 mL, and 50 mL are made of a certified polypropylene based on renewable, recycled raw materials. This makes Eppendorf a pioneer in the field of biobased tubes.

Eppi® facts

About Eppi®

  • In the 60 years since the invention of the Eppis®, new models of the reaction vessel have been introduced to the market, the conical shape became the laboratory standard and is still maintained almost unchanged today.
  • The Eppendorf Safe-Lock tube, introduced almost 30 years ago, is now the worldwide standard for simple and safe sample processing in the microliter range.
  • Eppendorf distributes the Eppi® worldwide.
  • The development of vaccines or new drugs would be inconceivable today without the Eppi®.
  • Due to the development of "smart consumables", i.e., tubes that have completely new material properties, many protocols are safer and easier to perform today.
  • With the introduction of the SafeCode system, samples can be clearly identified in the laboratory.
  • Focus on sustainability: With the development of biobased tubes, Eppendorf is a pioneer in this field.
  • Milestones - 60 Years of Tubes (Poster)

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Eppi® history