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Case Study: The Collaboration of openQCM and RapidDirect in Quartz Crystal Microbalance

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    Project BriefThe openQCM project is centered around the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM), an extremely sensitive weighing device that can measure mass variations at the nanogram or even picogram scale.
    IndustryIndustrial Equipment
    TechnologyCNC machining
    MaterialsAluminum, PTFE
    Surface FinishingMechanical polishing, Chrome plating
    ChallengesHigh surface requirements for openQCM project; plus, a delivery period within 5 days.
    SolutionsRapidDirect leverages 4-axis CNC machining robust supply chain.
    The ResultDelivery of high-quality polished and chrome-plated parts within 5 days.


    The rapidly evolving landscape of QCM technology is opening new horizons, with enhancements that propel its applications further into the realms of biosensing, environmental monitoring, and materials science. Recognizing the vast potential, Novatech S.r.I. collaborated with RapidDirect to amplify and refine this technology. Thus, the openQCM project was born, setting a new benchmark in scientific instrumentation.

    openqcm products (2)

    Inside the openQCM Project

    In 2014, the skilled cadre of physicists and engineers at Novaetech embarked on the openQCM project, culminating in the first open-source Quartz Crystal Microbalance. Rapidly gaining traction, openQCM today graces top universities and research centers in over 50 countries.

    To bring the openQCM devices to life, Novatech prioritized low volume production without compromising on quality. The project had high surface requirements (bright chrome plating), which, due to its design issues, made production more challenging and posed certain risks. Furthermore, the project had a tight delivery schedule.

    RapidDirect and openQCM: A Partnership Forged in Precision and Quality

    For the intricate parts of openQCM that demand unparalleled precision and stringent tolerances, the team chose CNC machining as an ideal method. The versatility of CNC machining allows for a diverse selection of materials. Consequently, components can be tailored for distinct attributes, whether it’s durability, biocompatibility, or resistance to chemicals.

    The Novatech team embarked on a quest to find manufacturing partners capable of meeting their stringent standards. This search led to the exploration of various manufacturing techniques, each evaluated against the backdrop of precision, cost, and lead time. They found RapidDirect, attracted by the real-time quotation platform. This tech-savvy approach sped up decision-making, streamlining the project from start to finish. Beyond quick quotes, RapidDirect takes pride in low-volume production. The openQCM wasn’t about mass production; it needed precision even in small quantities.

    When Novatech started its journey with RapidDirect for prototyping, they were astounded by the unparalleled precision, robustness, and functionality of the components received. Beyond mere prototyping, the exemplary results underscored RapidDirect’s commitment to quality, compelling Novatech to swiftly place a low-volume production order, and confident in the partnership’s potential to drive innovation.

    “Rapid Direct fully meets our demands and construction requirements. Its staff has the skills to understand and satisfy the demand for very complex designs to micro-machining. In addition, the delivery time is very fast. This is very important to us as we make “Build on order” devices.”

    – openQCM

    The low-volume order under normal circumstances would need 20 days for completion. However, due to the pressing demands of their market launch, they needed the order to be fulfilled in just 5 days. Besides the tight schedule, the order also had high surface requirements. The parts had to undergo both polishing and electroplating processes to meet the client’s specifications.


    1. Prioritizing Client Needs: RapidDirect recognized the crucial nature of this request. They were not just manufacturing parts – they were contributing to a pivotal moment in openQCM’s market journey. Embracing this responsibility, RapidDirect made this order their top priority.
    2. Leveraging a Robust Supply Chain: RapidDirect’s established and agile supply chain played a significant role in addressing this challenge. By optimizing resources, materials, and workflow, they ensured that every stage of the manufacturing process was executed seamlessly.
    3. Emphasis on Quality: Despite the rush, RapidDirect was uncompromising on quality. The team meticulously polished and electroplated the parts, ensuring they not only met but exceeded openQCM’s expectations.
    openqcm enclosure (2)


    The collaboration between RapidDirect and openQCM culminated in a spectacular success. Five days post the initial order, openQCM received their batch of glistening, perfectly crafted parts. Not only was the deadline met, but the quality of the product was in line with the highest industry standards.

    Shaping the Future: The Pioneering Alliance of openQCM and RapidDirect

    openQCM and RapidDirect’s partnership exemplifies the potential of collaborative innovation and precision manufacturing. Our collaboration has transformed scientific instrument production, offering high-quality, accessible tools for global research. Beyond mere transactions, our relationship evolved into a knowledge-sharing ecosystem, enhancing the manufacturing process and ensuring refined, quality components.

    As openQCM diversifies its instrument offerings, RapidDirect remains integral to its manufacturing success. With Novaetech’s focus on precision and innovation, the future promises more advanced scientific instruments, backed by RapidDirect’s commitment to meet evolving demands.

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