Appleton Woods recently had the pleasure of visiting two loyal customers at the University of Manchester who purchased ZEISS Primostar 3 microscopes and Appleton Scientific Equipment.
Read on below to find out more about their experience with us!
What is your background, and how long have you worked at University of Manchester?
Hayley Monk: I’m the Senior Technical Operations manager for Teaching in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine, and Health. So, in a nutshell, I manage the teaching technical staff across this faculty, so that’s the undergraduate and postgraduate labs, and our clinical teaching areas such as audiology, dentistry, etc. I came here originally as a Research Assistant for five years, back in the early 2000s, left for about 10 years to work for NHS Blood and Transplant, and I came back here in my current role in 2015.
Anthony Steel: I’m the Technical Manager for Undergraduate and Clinical teaching. I’ve been here 26 years in this faculty, I’m involved in just about every undergraduate class that we teach!
How long have you been customers of Appleton Woods?
Hayley/Anthony: Luke Housley (Sales and Marketing Director) knocked on my door sometime in late 2015, introduced himself and I thought he a great approach. I didn’t feel under pressure to buy and could just have an easy conversation with him. One of the reasons that I’ve stuck with Appleton Woods was because of a personal family event I experienced in 2016 and I put an out of office on my email explaining why I was unavailable for a short while. I was in the process of putting in a capital equipment bid and was looking at placing a very large order with another company. Despite seeing my out of office message they were persistently calling and emailing for a decision during such a stressful time for me. During that same time, I was already chatting with Luke about another aspect of the bid. He was very understanding about my situation and didn’t pressure me. He provided the information that I needed and gave me space to make a decision. As science technicians, we are used to analysing data and making up our own minds so a high pressure sales approach doesn’t work for us.
Is there anything you feel sets us apart from other distributors?
Hayley/Anthony: Definitely, the sales approach that you have, that light touch! You are there when we need you to be with information and pricing, but then you know when leave us to it. If I contact you for a quotation, you know that I’ll either buy it or I won’t. I also think the way in which you interact with customers is very professional and talk to us like real people! We have experienced Sales people in the past who have been quite patronising with the scientific data about their equipment.
Can you tell us about any recent purchases you have made from us?
We have been actively updating our equipment for our undergrad students over the past seven years because we really believe in giving them modern equipment and a high quality experience. The purpose of doing a degree is to leave these labs ready for work, ready for a research lab if they want. So we look for microscopes they can use which are of a research standard, so we wanted something that was going to fit that brief, but we also wanted them to be lightweight, and have a small footprint for the bench or our trolleys when they’re not in use. They are also priced really well for what you get. The Primostar 3 completely fit the bill and was everything we was looking for.
What are some features of the Primostar 3 you have found useful!
It’s easy to use, and easy to change between the brightfield and phase contrast settings. It’s robust enough to be taken on and off trolleys and benches and one of the main concerns for us, is the amount of space that students have to work within, so we always look for something with a nice, neat footprint on the bench.
Are you familiar with the ZEISS brand?
Yes, it’s reliable name! We also use the Stemi’s from ZEISS as well and the academics, in particular, love those. They’re so easy for teaching purposes to share images and highlight regions of interest.
What kind of samples have your customers looked at till now?
Well, so far we’ve had about 2,500 students using the Primostar 3 microscopes. These are mostly first and second year undergraduates that have used them to look at lots of different samples. We are essentially Multi-User labs so there have been blood smears, bacterial slides, histology specimens, you name it!
What is your favourite microscope purchased from us?
Hayley Monk: The academics would definitely say the Stemi’s (Stemi 305 CAM) – they’re always singing their praises and use them a lot in Development Biology.
Anthony Steel: My favourite would be the Primostar 3. It’s got everything you need and good functionality, from the field diaphragm to the ease of use switching from brightfield to phase contrast. We used to have trolleys which had all different microscopes that did different things and we had to put specific microscopes out for specific classes, but this one caters to all. When we choosing what to purchase we narrowed it down to the Primostar 3 and one another and this one was the winner, as the phase was self-contained and the other wasn’t. it just makes everything easier for the students, plus saves time!
If you are looking for a solution for teaching microscopy, get in touch with Mark Perkins for more information on the Digital Classroom!
So why did you choose to go with the Appleton Scientific Equipment- were there any features you particularly liked?
The Appleton Mini Vortex Mixer is nice and small and compared to the heavy, metal base ones we have from the 1990’s these are great! Sustainability is massive at the moment, so anything that ticks those boxes is always good and it is small but a stable piece of equipment that’s not going to tip over and is robust when it comes to many students using it day in day out.
What is your favourite Appleton Scientific equipment?
Both the appPETTE Single Channel Pipettors and the Appleton Vortex Mixers are nice pieces of equipment that are simple to use. They are also stand out in the cupboard/bench with the blue design!
Previously you also purchased 90 Spectrophotometers from us, what do you like about these products from Cole-Parmer?
Hayley Monk: We did look at another brand but they were so complex with an extensive menu but these Cole-Parmer Spectrophotometers are easy-to-use and you can quickly change between the settings, whilst explaining how to use them to the students. If you need to press more than 3 buttons then you’ve lost their interest! They are also weigh next to nothing, have a much smaller footprint than our old ones and use far less electricity to run. It was a huge upgrade for us, it was like moving from the Stone Age!
Anthony Steel: We tend to have different labs on each day, so we need equipment that we can easily swap out when needed and the Spectrophotometers make that far easy to do with less manual handling effort for the technical staff.