In the past, mass spectrometers have been large, highly specialized devices only operated by experienced technicians in research environments. SCIEX has remained an industry leader within this field, and with this latest generation of X-Series systems, they look to offer the same scientific accuracy inside a smaller footprint that will make this useful technology accessible to new markets. SCIEX brought Kangaroo on board to provide Industrial design strategy and engineering support during development of their X-Series QTOF system enclosures.
In essence, a mass spectrometer allows a user to determine the molecular makeup of a sample by breaking it down into its most basic building blocks and identifying what those blocks are. This is similar to how one might use a prism to break a beam of light down into its individual wavelengths. This incredibly useful technology that was once limited to the laboratory is increasingly finding use in many industries including forensics, food and beverage, and pharmacological research. In order to facilitate this move into new industries, SCIEX sought to create a more user centric design that would accommodate new operators, some of whom may not be as experienced.
Early in defining the Industrial Design strategy, site visits were conducted to a variety of real world users to better understand their needs. (Images left show a number of work arounds used by lab technicians). In order to define the look and feel of the future of SCIEX mass spectrometry platforms, Kangaroo conducted a 3 day Industrial Design workshop involving key stakeholders within SCIEX to identify the visual brand language direction. As a result, product lines are kept clean and crisp while edges feature are subtly chamfered to soften transitions and enhance the sophistication of contours. The appearance of the technical features of the instrument had been reduced and refined to a minimum which allows sufficient flexibility to expert users without confusing users with minimal training.
Because the technology behind the X-Series QTOF system was being developed in parallel to the industrial design of the product enclosures, Kangaroo worked closely alongside a global SCIEX team to support changes to features and form factor. To validate these changes, Kangaroo developed a series of various prototypes, including full scale prototypes to support SCIEX with performance testing, human factors testing as well to guide the visual brand aesthetics for this new platform of products. Alongside the QTOF design efforts, Kangaroo provided Industrial Design support to a variety of accessories and interchangeable components that would allow for a cohesive look and feel. Extensive cost evaluation was conducted which lead SCIEX to look to new manufacturing technologies for these system enclosures. With extensive experience with these manufacturing technologies, Kangaroo supported the detailing for manufacturing of these parts, the vendor selection process, and worked alongside the multiple teams across North America and Asia eventually passing the design fully to the SCIEX team to push the product into final production.