The new Cary 630 FTIR instrument is the world’s smallest and one of the most accurate spectrometers of its type. The product was globally released at the recent Japan JAIMA trade show in September 2011.
The launch culminated an accelerated three-way global development programme between Agilent’s FTIR division in the United States, their Australian R&D site and CobaltNiche. We worked closely with the specialised US team based in Danbury, Connecticut who had developed the instrument’s core mechanical, optical and electronics systems to an advanced level. CobaltNiche design engineered the enclosure parts in a timeframe of 6 months from first sketch to first-off parts.
FTIR (Fourier transform infrared) spectroscopy is the leading lab-based infrared technique used to identify material and molecular compositions. The technique is widely used by food, drug, and cosmetic industries to ensure the quality of raw materials and finished products.
The Agilent Cary 630 FTIR is a versatile instrument with a patented infrared “engine” that produces superior quantitative and qualitative data for routine analysis of solids, liquids, and gases. It has similar performance to many larger, traditional FTIR spectrometers but without the complexity, maintenance requirements or cost.
In reality the instrument is a modular system allowing different uses and applications via each of the five interchangeable sample modules, including the unique capability of easy liquid measurement. These patented modules simply and positively lock onto the front of the main Engine component:
- Diamond ATR: Chemical analysis of liquids, powders, pastes and gels.
- Transmission: Classic infrared sampling interface, allowing measurement of solids, liquids and gases.
- TumblIR: Single pathlength transmission for rapid analysis of liquids under ambient conditions.
- DialPath: Rapid chemical analysis of liquids under ambient conditions, with three set pathlength and sensitivity levels
- Diffuse Reflectance: Quantitative and qualitative measurement of powdered and solid samples.
The Cary 630 FTIR is computer-controlled using Agilent’s intuitive software enabling non-specialised users to operate analysis sessions.
The instrument’s product design introduces a new level of expressive form, contrast and texture to an otherwise conservative category. Like a camera’s lens, the optical light path and length define the instrument’s form and functionality. There were both opportunities and challenges presented by the instrument’s advanced optical and mechanical architecture and the project’s tight timeframe.
The inclusion of trim mouldings, allowed resolution of many aspects of the product design beyond their aesthetic effect. For example the Engine’s trim disguises deep bosses in the main moulding necessary to provide an air-tight seal. It also helps rationalise the rear face of the instrument which neatly integrates a humidity indicator window and cable entry points.
The Cary 630 was the first all-new instrument CobaltNiche helped design under the ‘Agilent’ brand and so it sets a number of precedents in the application of form, colour and branding. Strong initial market performance, a product’s ultimate measure, suggests the product will surpass these heightened expectations.