Research Fellows turning Entrepreneurs
We are three research fellows from The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia.
In our post-doctoral careers, we have purchased and maintained commercial laboratory instruments, but often had to build specialized ones from scratch for demanding research projects.
Every person who has ever built a complex precision instrument knows how much work it takes.
Starting from the conceptual design, to the balancing act of pro’s and con’s of various aspects and the selection of components. Then the building of the system, the alignment, manufacturing of adapters and other parts not commercially available, the testing and fixing of unforeseen problems…. It can easily take up to two years of intensive work for a system to be ready for use.
And then, at the end of every research project, our instruments are disassembled so their components can be used for another instrument for another research project. A time that we all have witnessed with sadness.
Thus, in 2015 Dr Kampwerth took the initiative and registered this company. The idea was primarily to lobby for the commercialization of our home-built laboratory instruments. We believe that some of our work is outstanding and will be very beneficial for other research groups around the world. Instead of going through the same costs and time of building an instrument yourself, we want to offer what we already have done.
For this we had to take it to the next level. The instrument has to be miniaturised, made more reliable, made out of cost effective OEM parts, etc.
In late 2016 Dr Kampwerth and Dr Puthen Veettil decided that the first project will be a Photothermal Deflection Spectrometer. In early 2017 we were joined by Dr Pollard from the UK. Since then we have gained significant traction and are in the process of having the first commercial prototype in arms’ reach.
The ‘OPEN’ Concept
In our duties as senior researchers, we have all selected, purchased and maintained multiple scientific instruments, We all eventually found ourselves frustrated with systems that cannot be modified to suit changing project requirements, nor repaired by ourselves. In addition, we found ourselves exposed to the mercy of the pricing model of the manufacturer for fairly simple items. We don’t want to do this to you.
Thus we tried to embrace the merits of the ‘open’ concept. It can be grouped into the following three areas:
Open to Mixing and Matching of Hardware
We want to give you back the right of exchanging main building blocks of our system to whatever seems suitable to you. To make this possible, we fully disclose information that will allow you to integrate components from other manufacturers.
For example, you might already have an advanced tunable laser, which would be the ideal light source for what you want to measure. You can do so with our PDS system, and we will advise you to the best of our ability. Of course, this also includes instructions on how to modify our software accordingly.
Open Technical Drawings
We believe that you, as the customer, should be able to maintain, repair or modify the system yourself. Of course, you don’t have to, but some customers prefer this for reasons of timing and costs. Thus you need the technical drawings. We are happy to share this level of information with you, free of charge.
Open to Industry Standards
We believe in the merits of following industry standards. This is important once you choose to maintain, repair or modify the system yourself. Components that follow industry standards will be widely available from various manufacturers, will be available for many years and available for a good price.
We see our business model in building great equipment, not in selling you light bulbs and lenses.
Of course, will we sell you parts that are unique to the system. And yes, we want to keep prices reasonable.
Disclaimer to Modifications
Please note that modifying the equipment might affect the warranty. We noticed a very broad range of technical expertise of people in research institutes. Thus some of the precision alignment in the PDS system should not be touched if warranty shall be preserved. Any re-calibration of the optics will involve additional costs.