Laboratory systems  

Design award for Oxford Instruments' benchtop analyser

2 October 2006

Oxford Instruments’ new MQC benchtop NMR analyser has received an Instrument Business Outlook (IBO) Industrial Design Award for innovation and distinction in analytical and life science instrumentation.

Instrument Business Outlook review said, “The MQC refashions benchtop NMR using an industrial design that is not only intelligent but also fun. The smooth, crisp blue finish, compact size, curved sides and design details create a striking visual look that communicates that the instrument is easy to use and technically advanced.”

Benchtop NMR is a firmly established industrial method of quantifying proton-bearing constituents, such as water, oil, and fats. Compared to traditional methods of content analysis, NMR requires minimal and solvent-free sample preparation and offers robust calibrations, shorter processing times and non-destructive bulk measurement. The MQC goes beyond this having been designed to accommodate the operational conditions of today’s industrial labs.

As Barry Jones, Business Manager for Process NMR at Oxford Instruments explained, “The MQC has been designed with separate boxes for the system’s electronic and magnetic components, enabling the electronics to be placed next to, above or below the analyser bench to save on space. We’ve also rearranged many of the internal components to reduce the magnet’s footprint and incorporated a PC motherboard with Windows inside the instrument, rather than needing a stand-alone PC to run it.”

In addition to class-leading operational features, the MQC breaks the mould of traditional benchtop instruments with a unique visual appeal. “We did not want yet another cream-coloured box attached to a PC; we wanted a device that would not only deliver fast and reliable results, but one that would also catch the eye and be fun to use,“ continued Mr. Jones “Our design team has integrated practical solutions into the visual look of system that blend seamlessly to improve functionality. The coloured LEDs, for example, give instant notification of the instrument’s status: idle, sample in, waiting to measure, or measurement in progress. The probe has also been made easy to remove for cleaning or to exchange for one of a different size. These are just some of the operational and visual design features of the MQC that serve to really set it apart from similar instruments.”

Every year, the IBO selects three analytical instruments whose industrial design distinguishes them from the hundred of new systems available. Criteria include visual appearance, functionality, innovation and ergonomics.

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