Digital transformation and creating highly-flexible laboratory software

How might we future-proof H.E.L's scientific software?

H.E.L. has produced software controlled laboratory hardware for over 30 years. Their catalogue includes a huge range of products that stir, heat, mix, crystalise, pressurise... from small scale experimentation to volume production.

They wanted to refresh their front- and back-end software to provide remote access, a modern & intuitive user experience, and to future-proof their products.

Tackling this problem required:

  • Unpicking 30 years of legacy code to create a backward-compatible system
  • Designing an interface that can control 1000s of unique systems
  • Solving significant technical challenges such as creating graphing tools that can manipulate millions data points, overcoming network speed constraints, and facilitating remote system control

Comprehensive product & business transformation

We created a backward-compatible, comprehensive and forward-thinking interface between H.E.L hardware and a new modern set of front-end applications: labCONSOL.

Elegant, intuitive and safety-critical design

The new interface required a complete overhaul and was a big leap from the existing platform. We created a component library to facilitate consistent and fast design of multiple apps: now and in the future.

The cycles of user testing embedded within our approach ensured we could optimise the user experience of complex tasks as early as possible. labCONSOL is used to control potentially explosive hardware so it was essential that the interface was intuitive and highly robust.

Robust development for today & tomorrow

We developed a new front-end and a suite of software libraries that can be used across future H.E.L software projects, including a purpose built graphing library and UI component library.

We significantly upgraded the remote operation capabilities of H.E.L laboratory hardware by creating a typescript / Electron cross-platform application for controlling H.E.L hardware remotely via a GRPC interface. We also developed a POC JS graphing tool for plotting many interactive graphs with millions of data points, with characteristics that are specific to this project.

Shaping an agile organisation

We implemented agile methodologies and are helping H.E.L recruit software engineers that have the skills required to maintain and build upon the software we’ve built.

Creating new & future value throughout the business

Designed to be highly flexible and completely customisable, the interface can be used for years to come, providing the great flexibility required for H.E.L hardware.

H.E.L can now offer remote control of their systems. Scientists can now work remotely and have easy access to equipment in cold rooms or other difficult environments.

We created a highly modular and extensible software platform, with an embedded SDK for creating additional tools and 'apps' within the main application. New applications – such as those for data analysis or report making – can be built, integrated and maintained with significantly less development.

labCONSOL is paving the way for digital transformation at H.E.L: enabling them to better serve their customers, innovate faster, future-proof their offering, and facilitate leaner and more robust development.