In this interview, Reid Whitney from Herzan talks about their WaveCatcher, a mobile site survey tool for analyzing the various sources of noise which can interfere with measurements in a high-precision laboratory.
Can you give us an introduction to Herzan's products?
Herzan specializes in providing research-grade vibration, acoustic, and EMI isolation solutions to users operating equipment requiring precision (i.e. Biotechnology, Semiconductor, Materials Analysis, and more). These environmental solutions enable users to achieve maximum resolution and utility from their equipment when performing precise nanoscale research.
Herzan also provides a stable of services suited to improve the user experience of new and existing research equipment. The most popular example of this is our site survey analysis, where an environmental specialist from Herzan will measure, characterize, and report on a customer’s room using our popular WaveCatcher site survey tool.
Regardless of the application, Herzan is committed to improving the experience of a user’s instrument through unique environmental solutions tailored to the individual research needs.
The WaveCatcher site survey kit from Herzan
What is the WaveCatcher?
The WaveCatcher is Herzan’s compact and complete mobile site analysis tool, that can measure all forms of environmental noise (acoustic, vibration, and EMI) with a push of a button.
The WaveCatcher is the perfect solution for field service engineers, development planners, instrument manufacturers, and others who are interested in characterizing their environment, prior to the installation of precision research equipment or during the planning stages of a lab.
The WaveCatcher can be easily configured or customized to accommodate any form of environmental measurement and be used with a wide range of sensors (including the customer's existing sensors).
Prioritizing ease-of-use, mobility, and accuracy, the WaveCatcher becomes a unique solution for users wanting an affordable and accessible site analysis tool.
What kind of sites is the WaveCatcher designed to analyse?
The WaveCatcher can be utilized in any environment, and transported easily due to its compact, light-weight nature. The initial concept of the WaveCatcher was to have a streamlined tool that can be taken anywhere to help a customer understand his or her environment better.
Today, the tool is also being used to help instrument manufacturers prepare a customer’s lab for the installation of their instrument, making it a versatile tool for both users and service providers in any environment.
The most popular sites for the WaveCatcher have been prospective MRI rooms, laboratories receiving new instrumentation, and existing laboratories needing to measure the influence of new external noise sources. These sites and many more allow the WaveCatcher to keep its utility for a broad range of applications.
Triaxial EMI inteference sensor for the WaveCatcher
Why is it important to measure environmental noise in locations like these?
Understanding the ambient environmental noise conditions of a user’s location is not only required by most instrument manufacturers, it also saves a research institution money should the environment prove unsuitable for the equipment being installed.
Most instruments operating at high levels of precision and magnification have designated environmental specifications that inform users of the allowable ambient noise levels for the installation location. These specifications are specifically designed to gain the maximum use out of the instrument and to reduce the level of noise found in a generated image.
Without knowing the existing noise levels at the installation location, the instrument will be installed “blind”, with little insight into what may be causing the blurriness of an image or the lack of repeatability for a sample.
Measuring environmental noise helps the user know with certainty what is causing the decrease in quality of their image, prompting them to make appropriate actions to isolate their instrument from the environmental noise source. Many have deemed site surveys as a cost preventative measure, eliminating the expenses associated with retrofitting the instrument to be isolated from their environment.
How would the user interpret the results from the WaveCatcher to select the best isolation solutions?
The WaveCatcher is an efficient site survey tool, quickly capturing data and representing the measured environmental noise on screen via a detailed graph. The WaveCatcher data is saved in accessible spreadsheet formats (i.e. Excel and .CSV) for further analysis and reporting. The detailed graphs showing the measured environmental noise can also be saved for reporting purposes, allowing users to catalogue measurements taken at specific periods of time.
There are several additional software features that allow the customer to analyse data after it has been collected. Setting limit levels on the graph allows customers to view in real-time whether their lab is meeting the instrument’s environmental specifications or not, and identify any problem frequencies.
Post processing of data enables the customer to perform robust comparison analysis of their environment to know what the peak frequencies are for their environment, and therefore determine the appropriate solutions.
There are many more software features available for the WaveCatcher that allow users to further understand, interpret, and analyse their data.
Screenshot of the WaveCatcher software
Are there any compromises made to the quality of data collection by making the WaveCatcher compact and easy to use? Would a full professional evaluation provide more detailed or accurate information?
The WaveCatcher was designed for efficiency, portability, and accuracy, which has some trade-offs in terms of the nuanced data being represented on screen.
From the beginning, the WaveCatcher focused on representing the most applicable and relevant data, which was refined over the course of twenty years from Herzan’s founder Ann Scanlan. Her acute understanding of the type of data most relevant to users needing to understand their environment led to the development of the WaveCatcher and continue to act as a differentiating factor from other, more complex and expensive systems.
The WaveCatcher is seen as a more accessible and user-friendly tool while not sacrificing data accuracy and measurement capabilities. The WaveCatcher makes site survey analysis more widely available to users who have historically relied on environmental consulting companies to characterize their lab environment.
For less than the cost of two traditional site surveys, the WaveCatcher becomes a tool that can have a wide applicability for users running multiple labs, or those needing an understanding of their lab overa prolonged period of time.
What is the most interesting use of the WaveCatcher that you have heard of from a customer?
The most common example of the WaveCatcher being used is to measure a room before the installation of an instrument, but the most interesting use of the WaveCatcher was when a customer wanted to perform transmissibility testing on their recently received AVI Series vibration isolation platform (Herzan’s active vibration isolation platform).
The customer connected two individual sensors to the WaveCatcher in order to measure the difference in vibration noise experienced by the floor and by the isolated instrument. The vibration noise was quickly represented on screen for real-time analysis of the performance of the vibration isolation platform.
To the customer’s delight, the AVI platform exceeded the performance expectations of the customer as well as demonstrated an incredibly useful way of verifying performance for received isolation platforms for their lab.
What are your plans for the near future in terms of promoting the WaveCatcher and developing it further?
The WaveCatcher is being actively placed in the hands of users to evaluate the features of the tool and to help measure its utility for a wide range of applications. Several WaveCatcher evaluation units are available for any customer interested in seeing how it can be used within their respective lab environment. The process to evaluate the WaveCatcher is incredibly simple and can be done within a couple minutes by contacting [email protected] for more information.
The WaveCatcher software is also being actively upgraded to incorporate features requested by users and new ideas from the WaveCatcher development team. Any feature of interest for users can be shared with the WaveCatcher development team, and may be incorporated for a wide spread release.
Any and all upgrades to the WaveCatcher software will be available free of charge for users, should their hardware version remain compatible.
It is important for Herzan to maintain the free software service of the WaveCatcher to ensure the group of WaveCatcher users all receive the same benefit of features developed over time.
About Reid Whitney
Reid Whitney started his career in the field of business analytics, focusing primarily on revenue optimization through targeting counterfeit goods.
Today Reid leads the business development activities for Herzan, primarily governing the sales and marketing strategies and elevating the user experience for customers.
Reid also is enhancing his role at Herzan by attending the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine, focusing on Product and Marketing Management.
Click here to download the WaveCatcher brochure
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