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The 2018 Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award presented to maple syrup equipment manufacturer and maple syrup producer

The 2018 Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award has been presented to the Canadian company Les Équipements Lapierre (Lapierre Equipment Inc.). By employing Busch's Mink dry claw vacuum pumps, the company has revolutionized the way in which maple syrup is tapped directly from trees, significantly improving the effectiveness of the maple syrup production process.

Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems presents its Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award every year. This honor is awarded to individuals or businesses who come up with particularly innovative ways to apply vacuum technology and benefit the human world and the environment as a result. The Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award was first presented back in 2013 to mark Busch's 50th anniversary.

The 2018 Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award goes to the Canadian company Lapierre Equipment Inc. From left to right: Kaya Busch, Donald Lapierre, Sami Busch, Ayhan Busch

Les Équipements Lapierre was set up by Donald Lapierre in 1978. Lapierre produces all of the equipment and accessories required to tap, collect and cook maple sap and produce maple syrup. Lapierre also runs one of the world's largest organic maple syrup farms. Tapping approximately 150,000 maple trees each year, this facility is also used as a research and development center for Les Équipements Lapierre. Until the 1970s, metal spiles (a kind of tap) were inserted into drilled holes on the maple trees; the sap would then drip out of the tree and collect in buckets. Donald Lapierre also used this traditional method back in the early days of his business. But unsatisfied with the traditional sap collecting methods, he decided to change the whole process. Donald Lapierre's father was already using a very simple vacuum system, though it was not particularly efficient. So, Donald Lapierre improved it by changing to plastic tubing and spiles and inventing his patented extractors (sap releasers). With these inventions, he created a network of pipes and vacuums that extracted sap from the trees instead of it having to collect in a bucket. This had two major advantages. Firstly, the maple sap could be collected much faster without having to change the buckets several times a day. Secondly, the spiles he used in this setup were much smaller than the traditional taps, meaning that the maple trees could regenerate quicker. The Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont tested the effects of using vacuum technology on trees and studied the quality of the syrup, revealing that neither the health of the trees nor the quality of the syrup suffers as a result.

The only weak spots in this system were the vacuum pumps (liquid ring vacuum pumps and oil-lubricated rotary vane vacuum pumps) initially employed by Donald Lapierre for his solution. Experts from Busch found a solution to this problem, introducing Donald Lapierre to Mink dry claw vacuum pumps. These vacuum pumps deliver the ideal result, providing an efficient, clean and dry vacuum without the need for any water or oil as an operating fluid. What's more, they are practically maintenance-free.

With its innovative concepts, Les Équipements Lapierre sets the bar for the maple syrup industry and is one of the leading producers of premium maple syrup that exceeds expectations when it comes to quality, flavor and environmentally friendly production.

The 2018 Busch Innovation in Vacuum Award was presented to Donald Lapierre and his family by Ayhan, Sami and Kaya Busch at Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems' headquarters in Maulburg, Germany.