I am very satisfied with the quality of the z-axis stage provided by DSM, as it matches and sometimes exceeds the specifications for our 96-camera microscope system. As a biophotonics researcher with an amateur electro-optic design background, I do not often distinguish between the industry practice of drafting design specifications (what to have) from design implementations (howto build). Jeff from DSM patiently guided me on these practices, ranging from recommending the best combination of piezo actuators and amplifiers from the DSM catalog, down to short-listing the aluminum alloy to be used for the microscope stage enclosure. The finished product, a wide aperture microscope stage with micrometer scale precision, matches our specification of our microscope system.For research projects with a typical turnaround time of two years or less, off-the-shelf components have always been preferred to reduce the risk of delay. When customization cannot be avoided, we tend to reach either the popular brands overseas for their track record, or local engineering design firms who build on top of existing downstream components. These methods can introduce cost overruns. What I like about DSM is that their design team is readily reachable since they are located in the US,and they design and test the piezo-flexure components in house. This means that they are able to control costs more effectively with tighter design margins and a better component integration.
Dr. Antony Chan, Postdoctoral Scholar at the California Institute of Technology