A laboratory instrument OEM approached CAD to leverage our expertise in developing scientific equipment and because they knew that we had demonstrated significant skills in harmonizing the generally opposing goals of features and performance vs. cost. The OEM advised CAD that the centrifuge was to be a very aggressively priced centrifuge for its customer VWR Scientific, a top-tier global distributor of laboratory and scientific equipment.
The existing centrifuge made by a different OEM did not meet VWR's quality expectations (deform-able plastic tabs as latches, etc.), functionally and visually, the existing product was quite dated. The new mini centrifuge was to be both a significant functional and visual step-up, just constrained to the same price as the preexisting product.
A series of Concept Sketches were created by our designers illustrating a series of styling languages for the centrifuge, each based on the underlying technology.
Every aspect of the design of the centrifuge from Concept Sketching to Rendering and the Detailed Engineering was predicated not on whimsy or pretty pictures, but on exact engineering specifications and CAD's knowledge and expertise gained from engineering other clinical instruments.
First we Modeled major internal components of the centrifuge to scale - the spindle motor, rotor adapter and various rotors, both 1.5 mil and strip tubes as well as the internal power supply and control circuit, This "reality-based" approach allowed us to create Conceptual Renderings of the housing for review which were completely faithful to the product's requirements and components so that there would be little need to subsequently "adjust" the engineering geometry to accommodate a potentially overlooked aspect. This is a foundation of our approach for every client.
Based on the Concept Sketches and 3D Models: photo-realistic 3D Renderings were created that included fully modeled running gear that were suitable for presentation in a corporate setting for decision making and absolutely correct in representing the final dimensions and foot print of the final design language selected.
Innovative features of the VWR Mini Centrifuge:
Design for Manufacture (DFM) - To create a design with the lowest possible manufacturing costs, aspects including tooling complexity, total number of molded parts, features set vs cost and performance were systematically explored.
One Prototype - Using our approach to risk-mitigation, only one Prototype, with integrated electronics was needed prior to approving tooling. The electronics functioned as planned on the connection of the very first PCB.
The results: the lowest-cost, highest performance centrifuge in the small bench top category.