How we make components for life science instruments

Life science instruments play a crucial role in healthcare research and diagnostics. They enable scientists, researchers and care providers to diagnose diseases, develop new treatments, study biological processes and improve patient care. From microscopes to advanced gene sequencers, life science instruments provide society with the tools it needs to drive scientific discoveries and advance the healthcare sector.

To ensure these instruments serve our needs to the fullest extent, the process of manufacturing them needs to be as meticulous as possible. Here at PCML, we pride ourselves in offering the complete package in component manufacturing; from design to quality assurance and everything in between.

At PCML we ensure the highest level of precision and expertise to meet your specific needs in producing components for life science instruments.


Design and Development

In the initial design phase, PCML work with your experts to define the specifications and functionality of your components. By partnering with clients at this early stage, we’re able to minimise production costs throughout the process by nipping future problems in the bud early, and start designing bespoke components with a focus on handling and ease of assembly. This could include components that:

  • Play a mechanical part in the final life science instrument, including gears, stages or drives
  • Measure physical and chemical parameters, like sensor assemblies
  • Provide optical functionality such as optics or lenses for microscopes

Computer-aided design (CAD) software plays a crucial role in these initial stages as PCML employees blueprint and simulate working components to refine their designs and optimise their performance.


Material Selection

Selecting the correct material for life science instrument components is extremely important as factors like durability, compatibility with biological samples and ease of sterilisation need to be considered. Common materials like stainless steel, aluminium, plastics and glass will be considered throughout, but ultimately the material used will depend on the needs of the instrument and the requirements of our clients.


Precision Manufacturing Techniques

PCML use subtractive manufacturing techniques to produce highly precise components from a starting block of materials, including CNC machining and metal fabrication.


CNC Machining

Our CNC Machining services are extremely versatile, utilising techniques like CNC Milling, Turning, and Wire EDM to supply high-quality precision parts and components for life science instruments. By relying on machine manufacturing to a set of instructions, CNC machining removes human error from the manufacturing process and helps to ensure that every component we produce can be replicated down to the smallest detailed. For more information on what CNC machining is, you can read our article on the topic here.


Metal Fabrication

For shaping and assembling larger scale metal structures, such as the housing that our precision manufactured components will sit in, our metal fabrication services can create assemblies for a wide range of applications. A cost-effective way to create parts that would be impractical or even impossible to manufacture from a solid piece of metal, fabrication services include mig & tig and syngergic welding carried out by our qualified experts.


Assembly and Integration

Once components have been manufactured, our specialist engineers can assemble your product from our innovation centre in Cambridge, or assist your team onsite to ensure your products are ready for market on time. Individual components are meticulously combined, with quality control and testing taking place at each stage to verify the functionality and performance of your life science instrument. Some of the benefits of our assembly capabilities include:

  • Cleanroom facilities for medical devices and pharmaceutical products.
  • Comprehensive electro-mechanical assembly capabilities with Ultrasonic Cleaning and Vacuum Testing facilities.


Finishing and Surface Treatments

To cap off the manufacturing process, PCML can give your components and products durable, stretch and scratch resistant finishes for both aesthetics and functionality. Finishing processes help to eliminate imperfections and ensure compatibility with biological samples, making them an important part of the finished product.

Some of the different finishing services that we offer include:

  • Wet paint spraying, perfect for high specification, detailed finishes, which allows a vast range of finishes and gloss levels.
  • Powder coating services, a cost-effective method of giving your products a tough and durable coat.
  • Laser engraving, which allows us to imprint and mark cosmetic elements like brand logos or functional elements like QR codes to the surface of your product.
  • Polishing, buffing and graining for consistent smooth surfaces and slick aesthetic finishes.


Quality Assurance and Testing

Although we carry out quality assurance tests throughout the assembly process, we also make sure to follow rigorous quality assurance protocols wit h the finished product or component to verify the instrument’s performance, accuracy and reliability. PCML operates an ISO 9001 compliant Quality Management System throughout all of our manufacturing sites, which ensures consistently high-quality products for all of our customers.


The manufacturing process for life science instruments needs to be intricate and meticulous, ensuring that every base is covered at all possible stages of the process to ensure your products are delivered to the standards that you expect. Precision manufacturing places a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and reliability of these instruments.

When you work with PCML, you’re working with highly accredited and professional precision manufacturers who listen to your needs and produce consistent quality every time. To learn more, get in touch with us by phone, email, or through our contact page, and we’ll be sure to get back to you to discuss your requirements.

Enquire now