Jon Wells Design Ltd

industrial design & product development consultants

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Malvern Instruments Zetasizer APS

Malvern Instruments design & manufacture an extensive range of material characterization and rheological technologies and provide in-depth application knowledge delivering exceptional support to all customers worldwide. JWD Ltd is proud to work with Malvern Instruments in the development of world-class laboratory particle analysis equipment. Analytical instrumentation from Malvern Instruments is used in the characterization of a wide variety of materials, from industrial bulk powders to the latest nanomaterials and delicate macromolecules. The broad portfolio of innovative technologies is combined with intelligent, user-friendly software.


Malvern Instruments approached JWD Ltd to provide mechanical and industrial design support in the creation of the Zetasizer APS, a robust, simple to operate, dynamic light scattering system that automates measurements of protein samples in industry standard 96- or 384-well plates, adding the power of advanced light scattering analysis to the laboratory.

The finished product would be produced in Malvern Instruments’ UK manufacturing headquarters and needed to use standard production processes, and it was necessary to complete the instrument ready for launch within 5 months of initial brief, to enable sales into key early adopter markets.


The biggest challenge of the project was implementing the design intentions of the alpha prototype whilst adapting this configuration to the outer enclosure (a design concept of which was produced in-house by Malvern Instruments.)

It was decided to carry a number of features of an alpha prototype (constructed prior to this project commencing) forward and to share as many components with existing Malvern devices as possible, assisting with completing the project within the time required by the project brief.

JWD Ltd worked closely with the in-house teams developing the electro-mechanical system (involving an X-Y-Z translation system, power supply, heat dissipation etc) and the outer enclosure, within the constraints of the manufacturing processes and the styling requirements of the aesthetic design, all in a simple and industry-appropriate manner.


The product was developed entirely using 3D CAD and a working prototype was produced within the necessary time-frame, enabling a small number of demonstration units to be produced for the launch of the instrument at an international exhibition. The design was handed over to production in Q4 2008.

(All images of Malvern Instruments products are shown courtesy of Malvern Instruments Ltd.)

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