- Design dilemma for Electron Microscope
- Midas MRIM™ essential to manufacture
- Expert collaboration achieves eye-catching design
Design is often treated as an afterthought behind function, technology, and price. However, it’s increasingly being recognised as a way to offer a real point difference between products. Eye-appeal affects purchasing decisions, and design can play a big part in usability; costs can even be brought down through choice of materials and manufacturing techniques.
This trend was noticed by a Cambridge company producing high-quality Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs). They found that most of their competitors’ equipment had a very functional appearance and decided to inject some clear styling into their instruments to enhance its high-end brand positioning.
Based on previous project success, the client approached a Cambridge-based industrial design company to help develop an advanced, eye-catching aesthetic for their products with a design quality associated with consumer items of far higher volume. This company was familiar with Midas Pattern and knew our MRIM™ system was highly suited to their needs in terms of anticipated design aesthetic, budget, the complex shape and size of certain parts, and predicted annual volumes in the 100s.
MRIM™ allows complex mould tools to be made in short lead-times by using a blend of laminated and cast resins incorporating areas of CNC machined aluminium and steel. This impressive versatility also means that prototypes are often unnecessary.
The designers produced a product intent-to-CAD model for three moulded parts: the main cover, smaller front nose cover, and cable guide side arm. Midas advised on manufacturability, cost, rigidity, and ease of assembly.
One manufacturing challenge involved maintaining a +/- 0.5mm tolerance on the main cover height as the central microscope chamber moves vertically on bellows to absorb vibration. The design was also scaled to three different sized machines which required modular tooling to allow parts to easily extend while keeping costs to a minimum.
Whilst having the bulk of the design effort consolidated onto the single main cover moulding is a cost advantage, manufacturing can become challenging as a result. Fortunately, Midas MRIM™ allows for undercuts, side actions, vertical faces, moving cores, metal inserts, and fixings at angles, features that would not be possible with conventional injection moulding.
We then painted, assembled, and inspected the three PU moulded parts, machined central chamber, and other components at our headquarters in Bedford. Our tightly controlled process is quality assured to ISO9001:2015.
This highly successful project put the company’s SEMs at the forefront of eye-catching scientific instrument design. The design team confirmed they “have a very strong relationship with Midas”, and “for low volume, large mouldings [they] wouldn’t go anywhere else. The finished parts are always very high quality, and that goes a long way in projects such as these.”
For more information about Midas Patten could help with your next PU moulding project, contact us today.