How can you be sure that your products are meeting the needs of your customers? You ask them, of course!
A recent Malvern customer survey allowed us to ask our customers about the Malvern laser diffraction particle sizing equipment they owned (Mastersizer and Spraytec), how they used it and what they liked most about it.
Figure 1: The Mastersizer 3000 and Spraytec laser diffraction particle size analyzers.
The Mastersizer is a laboratory laser diffraction particle size measurement system designed to measure dry powder, suspensions and emulsion samples in the particle size range from 0.01 to 3500 microns.
The Spraytec laser diffraction system, on the other hand, offers real-time high speed measurements of particles in sprays and aerosols.
This survey enabled customers to give us critical feedback on our particle sizing systems. Over 95% of the respondents were Mastersizer users with a little over 5% of respondents Spraytec owners. 40% were lab workers engaged in research, 32% involved in routine product QC testing, 13% working on product development, 11% working in production/process control and the remaining 4% working in root cause analysis. Most of the respondents were working in industrial companies producing chemical and mineral products, with around a fifth being engaged in pharmaceutical product development and production.
These Malvern products were used to characterize a broad array of types of samples, including aerosols and sprays, emulsions, suspensions, polymers, colloids, biopolymers and others, but the largest percentage were measuring dry powders and mixtures.
What every particle size analyzer needs is…
What were the most important capabilities that these products delivered? According to users, the aspect they liked most – with 55% listing it as the primary feature – was the ease of use of the Mastersizer and Spraytec systems. Many pointed out that once set up, the analyzers were easy for anyone to use – no matter how familiar they were with the equipment. Frequently users pointed out the intuitive user interface and what they called “fool proof SOPs” as important factors in the successful deployment of the analyzers across their organisations.
Figure 2: Survey Responses for the question "What are the most important capabilities of your Malvern particle size analyzer".
The second most important capability was split between speed and reliability, at 12% each. Speed of processing, speed of analysis, efficient sample turnaround, fast measurements… customers found many different ways to describe this quality and all agreed that the ability to get to fast results was key to successful use. They also agreed that Malvern analyzers were exceedingly reliable in day-to-day operation, delivering data that they could count on.
Reliability was a key factor for both the operation of the instrument and the quality and consistency of the reported data. Users felt that the Mastersizer and Spraytec particle sizing systems operated as advertised ‘out of the box’. Maintenance was described as minimal and routine, with support from Malvern’s help desk and team of product technical specialists covering any minor problems. In fact, most users stated they used the machines for years without needing repairs, with some claiming “years of stress free operation.” Reliability was also critical in delivering consistent, accurate particle and droplet size distribution results. Many customers stressed that they had many users who “ran the instrument constantly and received reliable, repeatable, reproducible data.”
Customers were also impressed with the instruments’ versatility. The ability to analyze a very wide range of particle sizes; handle both wet and dry samples; the usefulness of each system for research and for routine production testing unit where all highlighted. Customers noted that the ability to use the instruments for multiple functions resulted in increased lab productivity.
The true benefits of owning a Malvern particle size analyzer…
For many of those in our survey, whenever they thought of particle sizers, they thought of Malvern. “If you’re going to do particle sizing you need a Malvern.” The capabilities that meant the most also translated into bottom-line benefits:
Increased lab productivity: Ease of use with little or no training saved both labor costs and time and increased the productivity of the lab and individual users.
Reduced downtime: Reliable, stress free operation helped decrease the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with simple, low cost routine maintenance keeping operations running at optimal levels.
Improved data: reliable, repeatable, reproducible data delivers confidence in the results and improvements in both processes consistency and product quality.
Increased analysis capabilities: Versatility to accurately measure a wide range of particle sizes, to handle both wet and dry processes and to function as a research tool or a QC test system allows users to get the most from their investment in Malvern products
The ultimate test of a customer’s appreciation of any product is the willingness to recommend that product to a peer. An amazing 98% of Mastersizer and Spraytec users who responded to this survey answered that they would recommend Malvern products.
The real benefits of being a Malvern customer…
In addition to great products for particle sizing, Malvern also offers a range of value added services which are valued by our customers. Specifically, customers mentioned:
Clear, easy-to-understand help and advice included within software.
Educational and training opportunities - both on-line and in-person
Fast and responsive global customer technical support by phone and over the internet
A commitment to timely customer communications about upcoming events, educational and training opportunities, new scientific approaches and new technologies
Fast dissemination of software updates
Access to a broad and deep knowledge base of application information via the Malvern Instruments web site.