Choose Etaluma’s OEM Microscopy Modules for Your Development Project
Chris Shumate, CEO
Use Etaluma’s OEM Modules for your Development
When designing products that include microscopy or cell imaging functions, often one must decide what to buy and what to design in-house. An OEM-components partnering strategy can significantly augment the expertise of your own team and eliminate the risks from not knowing what you don’t know. It can free up internal resources for other projects, reduce long-term costs, and ultimately help get your products to market faster.
Two experiences illustrate this point:
The first is the case of an academic founder with a strong microscopy background. The company wanted to release an integrated instrument for processing and imaging samples. It needed liquid handling, incubation, firmware integration, scheduling software, and a GUI in addition to the microscopy component. Being the most comfortable with the microscopy component, he began to design a microscope from scratch with components from a highly respected optical components vendor. Unfortunately this approach did not converge on a commercially viable design. The components were too expensive, even in quantity, because they were designed generically without known specifications. In addition, while he focused on this seemingly simple part of the instrument, he did not pay enough attention to running the business.
The second case involves not knowing what you don’t know. In this case, the customer was a large corporation that wanted to get into the bioanalysis field. They have world class manufacturing of consumer products and wanted to apply this skill to bioanalytical instrumentation. They are astute enough to realize they should buy the microscopy component from Etaluma. When we learned that they would like to incorporate XYZ movement, we suggested our automated OEM offering. But they deferred to their internal resources and continued development in-house. Almost a year went by before they admitted they didn’t consider key specifications. These included vibration isolation, perpendicularity of the optic axis, and motion control accuracy and precision requirements. A few person years of effort went into learning what they didn’t know.
Our customers appreciate our expertise
“We have been working with Etaluma on developing the fluorescence imaging portion of our instrument. After looking at many other options, we selected an LS Microscope (Lumascope) optics module and are working with Etaluma to maximize our dye imaging signal and customize the module body. We have found this to be a very cooperative process, sharing ideas back and forth, with the common goal of providing a quality product that meets our specifications at an affordable price.” Project Head North American molecular diagnostics company.
Dedicated features with just the right amount of flexibility
The optics of microscopy can have very complex functionality and performance requirements. In addition, the risk of over design and under design are significant. One of the most important steps in defining an effective OEM strategy is to carefully draft specifications and customer use scenarios. What features or performance factors are a ‘must have’ and what can come later, i.e., are version 2? Factors important to consider are customer expectations, size, serviceability, user interface, and pricing.
An old automation saying important to consider is, “the easiest step to automate is the one you eliminate”. By removing superfluous features, the product development process becomes streamlined. Good design philosophy is also reflected in the KISS principle, i.e., “keep it simple, stupid”. Extra parts, components, and functionality cost time and money in inventory, material handling, development, product testing, and life-cycle management. Etaluma also believes in eliminating moving parts wherever possible. This is seen most dramatically in our multichannel, solid-state, Pinkel filter set configuration for pixel shift-free images and composite images. No moving parts also increases the speed with which we can switch excitations. We also often ask what hardware can be “done at the software stage”.
Under design is also risky — especially when it results from eliminating functionality mid-stream to mitigate project delays. Why waste time trying to design something that others have already perfected?
OEM microscopy outsourcing improves efficiency
At the beginning of a new product development phase, consider whether it might be more efficient to outsource specific components or even a fully integrated private label LS Microscope. You can save significantly on development costs and speed up time to market by working with us as an OEM partner that offers:
· Established performance specifications
· Off-the-shelf CORE optics components or customized configurations
· Pre-tested optics and motion modules
· Expertise in microscopy and automation
· Custom colors and cameras available
· Software Development Kit and Micromanager Device Adapter available.
Combining this technology-focused bottom-up assessment with a top-down feature-focused approach enables you to best determine how to leverage your existing resources to the maximum extent, and take full advantage of the cost and time efficiencies that we as an OEM microscopy partnership can bring.
Why use Etaluma as your OEM partner for microscopy?
· When you need your team needs to focus on their specialized expertise
· When you need a component that is ready to integrate
· When you need a component or customized configuration that is already designed, tested and documented
Etaluma is your OEM partner!
Unlike a one-time product purchase, the most effective outsourcing strategy becomes a long-term partnership. A vital element in your choice of an OEM supplier is how they will support your product development beyond simply supplying components. Trust Etaluma as your microscopy OEM supplier to always deliver the highest standards of expertise, collaboration, quality, support, and ownership for the lifetime of your project and product. Learn more about how Etaluma Partnering can help you reduce time-to-market in your development projects.
We design and offer optical components, microscopy systems including automation, and accessories. We can also design and make custom versions. Products range from optics modules that fit inside or complement your instrumentation to private-label microscopes.
We strive to make the best inverted fluorescence microscopes to meet your needs at the most affordable prices. Tell us what you need – we want your input and feedback!