NABL-Marion Mixers Open House


The National Ag Based Lubricants Center at the University of Northern Iowa and Marion Mixers of Marion, IA will be hosting an open house on February 15, 2013 to showcase the licensing of a revolutionary technology.  

Date: February 15, 2013

Time: 10:30 AM

Location: Marion Mixers 

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UNI licenses microwave-based processing technology to Marion Mixers

The University of Northern Iowa's revolutionary technology for processing chemicals, food, biobased lubricants and greases and many other products has been licensed to an Iowa company —  Marion Mixers — for commercial distribution.

This technology, featured on the History Channel's "Modern Marvels" program, is the first of its kind and has the potential to reduce U.S. energy consumption for processing goods by 8.5 percent. That equates to 338 million barrels of oil per year, for an annual savings of $31 billion. Not only does the technology reduce energy consumption, it also improves safety, speeds up process time and decreases equipment costs.

This new processing technology was invented at the UNI National Ag-Based Lubricants Center by the center's Director Lou Honary and Associate Director Wes James. It allows the use of industrial microwaves to process goods such as chemicals, food, biobased lubricants and greases, which are currently processed using fuel oil or gas.

According to Honary, "the technology is perhaps the most significant technological breakthrough for processing food and chemicals in this country over the last 50 years."

It simplifies the equipment needed, requires fewer steps, and is less expensive, more accurate and quicker than traditional methods. For example, currently processing ketchup requires expensive kettles with special jackets than can handle high-pressure steam from boilers and expensive mixing arms to wipe tomato paste from the hot vessel walls. Using this new microwave technology, the product is circulated by a pump in a relatively inexpensive tank and microwaves are pipes from a transmitter into the top of the tank to heat the product.

"When this technology is applied to processing complicated chemicals, soaps, greases, detergents, etc, the accuracy of temperature control and uniform heating result in a fast and perfect reaction," said James.

Honary added that their discovery allows the application of microwaves to metal vessels commonly used in industries.

"This is bound to improve the competitiveness of the American processing industries and eventually could become the universal choice for processing products in many industries," Honary said.

Marion Mixers is an Iowa company with worldwide name recognition for its mixing vessels. Its processing tanks are used for processing materials from liquid to semi-fluid to solid. It joins Cedar Rapids-based AMTek Microwaves as an active business partner with UNI-NABL.

UNI-NABL is a non-profit, university-based research and testing facility dedicated to the advancement of biobased lubricants. The center was established in 1991 through the collaborative efforts of UNI, the state of Iowa, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Iowa Soybean Association/Iowa Soybean Promotion Board. UNI-NABL's research has resulted in the commercialization of more than 30 soybean-oil-based industrial lubricants and greases. For more information about UNI-NABL, visit

For demonstrations of this new equipment, contact Marion Mixers, AMTek Microwave Systems, UNI-NABL or Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, which produces soybean oil-based lubricants and greases. Contact information is below:




NABL Technology Featured on Modern Marvels - 3:41

 Benefits of Microwave Based Processing - 8:59

Technology Collaboration: An American Success Story - 7:42


Marion Mixers

Greg Stover, Vice President of Sales & Marketing



AMTek Microwaves

Steven Rogers, Co-Owner, CFO

319-365-2099 x20


Lou Honary, director, 319-233-3812,

Wes James, associate director, 319-233-3812,

Environmental Lubricants Manufacturing, Inc. (ELM)

Mike Jensen, Product/Sales Manager