Project Details

Helping to improve the next generation in lab technology.

With their main product reaching end-of-life, this discovery sciences company challenged CES to create a more user friendly and better performing device without increasing manufacturing costs.

CHALLENGE

The Alltech ELSD (Evaporative Light Scattering Detector) analyzes and identifies sample compounds in liquid chromatography for pharmaceutical research and quality control labs. When scientists were finding the ELSD to be too large and difficult to use it became clear that a more streamlined design was necessary. While creating their next generation product, Alltech took the opportunity to improve user experience, increase speed and strengthen reliability. Alltech asked our designs to create a more sensitive and intuitive laboratory ELSD instrument without increasing costs.

SOLUTION

We were chosen as a discovery, design, and development partner for the next generation ELSD. Our team began with a highly focused, user-centered evaluation of the key requirements and concerns associated with the previous Alltech product. The design team’s user research focused primarily on scientists using the device in their lab environment. Drawing from these insights, the design team was able to discover critical elements that would aid them in redesigning the user interface.

These studies quickly illuminated that there were too many steps involved and scientists often had to write down specific formulas in order to use the same recipe in the next cycle. Our team redesigned the user experience to include more options up front on the display; reducing the overall amount of steps required to begin. The new design also included memory functions so scientists could run the same test multiple times without having to write down the formula or start from scratch.

Another major concern that came out of design research was laboratory space. The first generation product was perceived as too large. The mechanical engineering team not only worked to reduce the overall size of the ELSD device, but also made them stackable. Now laboratories that had multiple ELSD machines could lower the footprint space by stacking them, leaving more lab space for experimentation.

The long lifecycle of ELSD machines made display selection a challenge. Typical displays used in laboratory equipment have short lifecycles, so obsolescence could be an issue in the near future. To find a solution, our team tested numerous options and ultimately recommended an automotive display. These displays are more rugged and durable than typical laboratory displays, but also have longer lifecycles and are a lower cost option.

Along with testing display options, our mechanical engineers also tested different plastics for the enclosure. Many of the plastics tested could not tolerate the solvent used when running tests with the ELSD instrument. So, our team worked with a professional molder to find the best possible option and have the enclosure constructed.

RESULTS

The ELSD 3300 achieved upgraded performance while knocking out the customer’s sales goals and all without any increases in cost. The integrated memory function was found to be more user friendly and helped to reduce the amount of training required to use the machine. Perhaps even most importantly, the memory function helped to reduce operator error.

CUSTOMER PROFILE

Alltech is a discovery sciences company whose products are used in liquid chromatography for pharmaceutical research and quality control labs around the world.

  • Project Name ELSD 3300
  • Client ALLTECH GRACE