Buying a sonicator: Hielscher vs. Industrial Sonomechanics

Hey everyone,

I’m working with a company on a water soluble project right now and we are going to go the nanoemulsion route via sonication. The main motivations for going nano are the reduced surfactant content (and thus minimal effect on taste), continuous operation ability, long emulsion stability, and price point. ISM and Hielscher appear to be the two biggest brands in this space that I have come across.

I have received quotes from both brands and spoken with their applications people, and both seem like good brands with comparable pricing and features. What I am curious about is how people’s experiences have been with these companies after you’ve bought the product and how the performance is.

  1. Are you achieving the throughout they advertise?

  2. how reliable have the instruments been and what challenges have you experienced?

  3. In general, what are these companies’ reputations like? Hielscher seems to be the more established brand and really likes to advertise the “German engineering” thing.

  4. Does anyone have input on ISM’s nanostabilizer product? Seems like a good starting point for a quick go to market product.

Thanks in advance for your input!


Update to this post: I ended up going with Hielscher.


how is it working out?


It’s ok… definitely having some issues with formulation. I produce a lot of macroemulsions easily, but producing translucent emulsions is pretty challenging even with the sonicator.

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Extruders are so much easier to use.

Woah after a search I see that there has not been a single post on extruder liposomes… wild

Feast your eyes

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I’m working on putting together an extruder right now for large throughout liposome production- y’all really oughta get up to speed on the tech IMO it blows sonication out of the water


@Rowan have you actually tried using an extruder?

Also, I’m not trying to make liposomes at the moment, but micelles. In principle it should work the same way though…

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I’ve used extruders on a small scale, the syringes for prototyping- but will be getting the 800ml avestin unit this month- they work great.


Cool! I’ve seen the syringe method in action which is basically how a microfluidizer works as well. How much do those units cost?

The extruder is just an adapter on a high pressure homogenizer if I understand correctly. Which already works very well itself.

Does the extruder actually produce the most efficient nanoscale liposomes? My main concern is getting the onset time to within 10 minutes, and I don’t know if >100 nm would produce the fastest onset time. With extrusion I see that the particle size goes down to 103.3, but I’ve seen a couple research papers where the nanoscale particles are less than 50 nm. Just want to know your insight mainly since it looks like you have some experience with this area.

For my own ignorance and curiosity, what is the end result of these methods you are discussing? Is this for THC/CBD capsules, or is it an extract process/purification?

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@Rowan interested in updates about that Avestin once you have it up and running–would like to look at upfront cost vs production scalability and would be willing to give you the data I’ve compiled thus far. I’ve been running a BSP-1200 from Sonomechanics for a while now and am in the process of building out my own flow through system rather than pay a 15k premium with Sonomechanics. Microfluidics always produced more homogenous nanoparticles at the bench scale and you could even titrate the diameters as a function of flow rate, just haven’t seen an industrial solution yet. Best of luck!


Genizer makes the cheapest units I can find, theyre chinese knockoffs of the avestin units so all that entails

yes, you can also get standalone units that run via positive pressure, but for scale the inline units that pair with homogenizers are where its at

in my opinion I think extrusion is the best route, and yes you can size them way way down, the pore sizes get to fractions of a micron but you’d never need to go that far- for sublingual use less than 80 is ideal, topical use can be a lot bigger, even doable with a rotor-stator.

@Sanguinius topicals, sublingual, buccal, pessary, heck you can boof these things too- anywhere there are lots of capillaries right up close to the surface of the tissue.

@chempistry nice name, I ended up skipping getting the micro unit and decided to wait until I needed to get a large one, got a big PO for lipos now so its trigger pulling time.

@munkdooligan I have made non cannabinoid liposomes with a very small extruder at a partner lab for R&D purposes, we switched to sonication for scalability but I learned to hate that thing more than any other one piece of equipment in the lab and ditched it. steaming lattes in hell was how it made me feel.

Micelles can be sized down in an extruder as well, but the loading levels once you get down to a certain level start to really suck and they are way more susceptible to falling apart- think of the curvature of that small of a sphere but in contrast to the liposome it has way less structure and bonding keeping it together.

My challenge is that I don’t wanna use PEG or any petroleum based components, nor surfactants to keep them stable, and I need them to be resistant to low PH environments.

…$85k for the microfluiding particle size analyzer… soooo close yet so far away. that would make this all so much easier.

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Thanks! You attempting to formulate with kombucha or something like that? In my opinion, you’d need at least one non-lipid surfactant. Any reason you don’t want to use something PEGylated?

We are an herbal medicine and formulation company who has been doing this for a very long time without synthetic help - our premium, educated customer base is well informed and avoid synthetic ingredients in their herbal medicine products. PEG is a cheap and easy solution to a complex problem, we see little value in shortcuts.

Gotcha! There are just semi-synthetic surfactants (certain variants of vitamin E TPGS, for example) that would go a long way to solving stability issues. For completely natural, you’ll find no better structural construct than lipoproteins. You can even use sodium cholate instead of sonication and just dialyze it out in something like PBS. They’re just a bit cost-prohibitive at the moment. Mimicking HDL and LDL sure seems like a good idea, seeing that we have an abundance of cholesterol receptors in our body with affinity for lipoproteins. Speaking of, cholesterol and cholesterol oleate could enhance structure/stability. Best of luck! Link with me at if you’d like to discuss further.