Evaluating Customer Needs to Form Application-Specific Products for Scientific Instrumentation

Posted in OEM and custom solutions Oct 28th 2021

Customer Needs

In a recent interview, Prior Scientific CEO Tom Freda shared how providing customized products for scientific instrumentation is a valuable solution to meeting customer needs. Tom has been with Prior Scientific for 28 years. An international company based in Cambridge, UK, with facilities in the United States, Germany, Japan and China, Prior Scientific is a leader in application-specific product creation – specifically microscope automation.

What makes Prior Scientific a specialist in microscope automation?

Prior has been a leader in the design and manufacture of microscope automation equipment for over 30 years. Founded over 100 years ago, the company manufactures routine microscopes and has more recently evolved to produce precision automation and optical products.

Prior understands what is required for various microscope techniques and has the expertise to provide the images that meet customer needs.

What are the benefits of using custom microscopes and instruments?

Often, a standard microscope does not have all of the automation features that Prior can provide or does so at a very high expense. Prior tailors a system to supply only what is needed without requiring customers to purchase a system with extraneous capabilities that are unnecessary for their application.

What are the benefits of buying OEM solutions?

Prior’s core as a manufacturing company focuses on collaboration with OEM customers to design and manufacture precision quality products.

With close relationships with OEM customers, Prior functions as an extension of clients’ engineering and manufacturing facilities and embrace a culture of open communication, considering customers as partners that Prior assists to be successful.

Why should customers partner up with Prior Scientific?

Prior puts customers first and is committed to delivering high quality and value services. With a long history of manufacturing precision products, Prior possesses expertise in many microscopy applications.

Thus, Prior can provide proven solutions quickly and effectively. The company is a valuable partner that has a huge variety of optical and automation products that can be tailored to meet customers’ individual needs.

Why does partnering up with Prior maximize ROI and minimize costs?

Prior seeks to partner with successful companies. Committed to the design and production of custom products at a very low economical cost, Prior’s business model is underpinned by the development of long-term manufacturing partnerships.

Able to do the engineering and design at a fraction of the cost design firms typically charge, Prior’s long-term goal is to manufacture high performing production systems that last many years.

How does Prior deliver application-specific solutions that are customizable and appropriate for all customers?

Prior provides application-specific solutions which are customizable and suitable for all customers by performing customer needs evaluations. This includes actively listening to customers and asking the proper questions to understand their application.

Customers are involved in the design process as little or as much as they would like to be. Prior’s very experienced design team is versed in a wide range of aspects, including mechanical, electrical and electro-mechanical engineering as well as optics, software and firmware.

What array of components and OEM products can Prior tailor to their customers?

There is a large range of OEM products and components that Prior can tailor to their customers. Prior does not try to limit itself to particular products or components, and is able to collaborate with any client that requires a precision device.

Specific device experience has included motorized XY stages, precision Piezo devices, Z and focus systems, laser focus, automated nosepieces, filter turrets and filter wheels for automated microscopes.

Prior has an in-house R&D team that works alongside manufacturing. How does having everything under one roof benefit your work, and how is it shown in customer satisfaction and your products?

Prior’s in-house R&D team works alongside manufacturing which streamlines the production process from design to finish. This enables customers to receive the final products they require without having to outsource the different elements of the project.

Prior’s engineers work closely with the assembly technicians to rapidly and straightforwardly solve the typical problems that arise when transitioning a product from prototype to production.

How does Prior Scientific adapt to the projects it undertakes?

As previously mentioned, Prior is uninhibited to take on any project that fits the mission and abilities of the company. This can range from contract manufacturing for companies where Prior did not do the design but rather manufactures and tests products to customer specifications.

This business model is very successful and aligns well with the OEM and standard products that Prior constructs.

Can you give some examples of the projects that Prior Scientific has worked on?

Prior Scientific has worked on a variety of innovative projects, including creating systems for a variety of microscope applications and techniques.

Some applications include fertility analysis, digital pathology, high speed slide scanning, tissue culture, cancer diagnostics and fast precision metrology.

Microscope techniques Prior has worked on include super resolution, light sheet imaging, multi spectral fluorescence and bio-luminescence.

Specifically, Prior’s Queensgate products are relied upon for semiconductor manufacture, high speed metrology and testing hard disks and read heads around the world.

Tell us about Queensgate and its cutting-edge nanopositioning technology.

Queensgate Instruments were some of the first in using advanced Piezo technology to move small distances extremely quickly and precisely. Founded in 1979, Queensgate was spin out from a ground-breaking research program at Imperial College in London and is highly recognized for providing products at the highest levels of speed and precision. Current Queensgate products include high precision sensors, stages, control electronics and software.

What is the future of OEM projects, and what part will Prior Scientific have in this?

The future of OEM projects is dependent on customer wants and needs, which have been to improve speed and precision. For example, there are numerous new startups developing new imaging techniques by implementing AI and machine learning in diagnostics which has been interesting to be part of the product development journey.

Prior Scientific will undoubtedly have a role in the innovative future of OEM. Specifically, Prior’s OpenStand offers an excellent platform for these startups. With OpenStand at our disposal, hardware can be developed alongside software, together with providing a faster, more direct route to the commercial market.