Thermo Scientific Niton XRF Analyzer

Turning a Startup into a Market Leader

  • Awards
  • Red Dot
  • IDEA Gold
  • Good Design 2010
  • Good Design 2002-2003
  • R&D 100 (magazine)
  • Capabilities Used
  • Strategy
  • Industrial Design
  • Engineering

How can we make a complex scientific tool more portable and easier to use? Answering this central question helped Altitude turn NITON from a small, specialized technology firm into a product innovator and market leader.

We are extremely pleased that the NITON XRF Analyzer family has been awarded the prestigious IDEA Gold award, but the real validation of the products' design has come from our customers: product sales have increased more than 175% over the past three years.

- Jon Shein, Director, Global Marketing, NITON Analyzers,Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Keeping Design in Line with Financial Considerations

NITON is a leader in X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), a key technology used to analyze material samples such as soil, scrap metal, and paint. NITON’s original analyzer was heavy and difficult to use. Each unit was custom-assembled, keeping expenses high. During this major redesign, close collaboration between NITON scientists and Altitude designers and engineers resulted in a family of handheld analyzers and accessories. Our streamlined, lightweight analyzers helped NITON increase its sales 175 percent in fewer than three years, selling more units to existing customers while creating new markets.

Close Up of ThermoScientific Niton XRF Analyzer

Recognizing the capital constraints of this small company, we developed a staged manufacturing strategy that minimized capital expenditures. Profits from sales during the first two years funded the conversion from soft-tooling and cast urethane to hard-tooling and injection molding, increasing margins and lowering assembly costs. Strong sales and product innovation made NITON an attractive acquisition target for high-tech instrument leader Thermo Scientific PAI, which purchased NITON in 2005 for $40 million.Altitude

ThermoScientific Niton XRF Analyzer analyzing rock