The 2008 IBO Laboratory Equipment Design Awards

Gold Award

IBO’s 2008 Gold Award for laboratory equipment design goes to Hamilton’s automatic pipettor, the Microlab Nimbus. The idea for the Nimbus came about after “Hamilton identified an unmet demand in the biopharmaceutical marketplace for . . . automated pipetting in key fundamental applications such as plate replication, serial dilution and reagent additions, while also being able to address more challenging applications like MALDI spotting, nucleic acid extraction, ELISA and solid phase extraction,” said Rick Luedke, product manager for Liquid Handling Systems at Hamilton. The most important part of meeting the requirements of this demand was that Hamilton not only had to design the product to fit into smaller labs, but had to design it to fit into standard flow hoods.

The Nimbus measures 94.9 x 50.8 x 68.5 cm (37.3 x 20 x 27 in) and weighs 59 kg (130 lb). The product was built with the assistance of the design firm RKS, which helped Hamilton determine specific materials, colors and textures. The combination of the futuristic look, with the interplay between sharp angles and rounded curves, and the open, airy platform makes a unique design for an automatic pipettor. The product’s dispenser gives it a stately air without being imposing, and the black and white color scheme provides a balance that outlines and embellishes the whole system. The arms of the product give it a clear sense of shape without adding unnecessary bulk or hindering the end-user’s ability to work inside the deck. This sense of shape gives the product a much deeper presence than a simple open platform would.

According to Mr. Luedke, “[the] sleek, modern, elegant look that illustrated a ‘next-generation’ platform [was implemented to] communicate the concept of a ‘personalized pipetting workstation.’” Another major design feature Mr. Luedke highlighted was that the “visual indicator incorporated into the industrial design of the pipettinghead assembly enables real-time monitoring of workflow status from across the room for added convenience.”

Silver Award

The 2008 Silver IBO Design Award for laboratory equipment goes to Hanson Research’s new dissolution tester, the Vision Classic 6 for manual testing. This dissolution tester is distinguished by a curved hood and silver color, giving it a compact and modern look. The Vision Classic 6’s dimensions are 58.5 x 39.4 x 67.3 cm (23 x 15.5 x 26.5 in). It weighs 26.3 kg (58 lb) dry and 43.1 kg (95 lb) wet and has a bath volume of 11.4 L (3 gallons). It sells for $9,900.

The touch screen that adorns the head of the system is clean, straightforward and simple to navigate and view. It differs from most other dissolution testers in its rounded features. The six vessel plate positions and the detachable USP paddles are ergonomically designed for easy cleaning and use in labs without much free space.

Bronze Award

The 2008 Bronze IBO Design Award for lab equipment goes to Ovan’s MicroMagMix. The first impression given by the magnetic stirrer is a sense of comfort, which can be attributed to the MicroMagMix’s swayback base. This curve imbues the product with a whimsical tone without distracting end-users from the product’s true purpose. The indentations on the sides of the base set it apart from the standard square mixers and heaters. The orange and teal colors around the screen nicely compliment the slick silver exterior. The backlit LCD screen is easily read, while also allowing space for the controls. The product measures 533.4 x 660.4 x 330.2 cm (210 x 260 x 130 in), weighs 1.81 kg (4 lb) and has the option to support multiple attachments, such as a sensor for temperature control inside the sample.

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