When the right microscope for your application doesn’t exist

Posted in OEM and custom solutionsOpenStand Apr 30th 2021

What to do when you cannot find a suitable microscope for your application? Many microscope users face this question when developing novel microscope imaging methods or software. Available systems are general microscopes with additions for specific known microscopy techniques, and they are not easily customizable.

Then the question becomes, build or buy? Building a custom microscope has traditionally meant taking the do-it-yourself (DIY) route or outsourcing it to someone else. The DIY way may be the cheaper option but has its limitations. It can also be difficult if you do not have the required expertise and ties up valuable personnel time. Outsourcing the design of a complete motorized solution, conversely, can incur high costs. To overcome these problems, Prior Scientific developed the OpenStand, a versatile imaging system development platform. Customers with needs for customized microscopes and optical systems can build their unique solutions using proven components and Prior’s expertise.

What to consider when thinking of a custom microscope

If you are looking for a proof of concept, DIY is excellent for testing the hardware. But suppose you know from the start that you want to develop the microscope into a production-ready instrument. In that case, the DIY route can mean that development work starts from square one when commercializing the prototype after the proof of concept.

The next question is about resources, time, and money. The DIY route can be the cheapest option for the hardware, but integrating software with hardware from different suppliers, and combining these components mechanically, can become time-consuming. The OpenStand offers an ‘out of the box’ fully motorized development platform, allowing you to focus on developing your software or imaging methods. All components can also be controlled using the same software development kit.

Fast-track your time to market

Building microscopes is complex and requires a team of people with skills to make the optical, mechanical, and computer parts work together. With OpenStand, you get a working system to start developing your application immediately, and adaptations can be made flexibly during your development phase. Prior Scientific products and systems use the same commands, offering a linear development route. You can expand the system as your needs grow or refine it down to only include the capabilities you require. With OpenStand, you can develop your software and hardware in parallel without losing any software development on the final production-ready instrument.

Prior’s approach to custom microscopes

OpenStand and Prior’s extensive portfolio of OEM parts offers a fast-track to a prototype instrument. We work closely with you so we can provide an optimal solution to your technical and business demands. Customization starts with selecting the right OpenStand base system for your application. You can tailor your microscope with suitable optics and illumination. Prior Scientific’s team will help you to choose the right stage and controller for your automation application. For high throughput screening applications, robotic sample handling systems can be coupled with the Openstand to offer an easily programmable and user-friendly solution for slide or well plate handling.

Prior Scientific’s team has extensive experience with different microscopy applications from life sciences to materials and semiconductors. We design and manufacture all the key technologies for your instrument. If we don’t have a solution ready for your needs, we have the know-how to develop it. Our R&D and manufacturing are under the same roof, so the design team knows the manufacturing demands, and the production team can adapt quickly to design changes. When starting with OpenStand, you can also be sure that your prototype is production-ready from the outset, regardless of volume.

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