Sierra Instruments – Automotive Test Systems 2017-08-04T16:24:51+00:00

Project Description

Automotive Test Systems

Sierra Instruments

Contextual Research, Industrial Design, Mechanical Engineering, Industrial

Background and Challenges

Sierra’s automotive test division, known as Sierra-CP, is a global engine, vehicle, and emissions test company tasked Nectar with creating a common industrial design language, look, and feel for its emerging, best-in-class Automotive Test Systems products.

Creating a Common Design Language and Look for Automotive Test Systems

With roots in high-performance precision measurement and control instrumentation for industries as diverse as scientific research, semiconductor, wastewater treatment, iron and steel, clean energy, aerospace, biotech, and automotive, Sierra operates from more than 150 locations in over 50 countries around the world.

Making Six Different Products into One Industrial Design Family

Nectar undertook the challenge of creating a common industrial design language, look, and feel for Sierra’s six Automotive Test Systems products, including Sierra’s Datalogging Cabinet Bank, BG3 Engine Emissions Cabinet, Heat Pak/SootTrak Module Engine Soot Measurement Enclosure, CAHU Cabinet, FuelTrak Fuel Flow Meter, and AirTrak Air Flow Meter. While Sierra’s Automotive Test Systems are best-in-class, they differ greatly in configuration, capabilities, and price, ranging in cost from $20,000 to $200,000. Nectar faced the test of developing a common industrial design language, look, and feel for products that are truly different in form, function, and scope.

Design One and the Rest Will Follow

Using 3D CAD tools, Nectar developed a “design control database” to define the design intent and look and feel of the new industrial design language, including major part breakups, materials, and production process information, so the team could apply the same approach to the remaining Automotive Systems products.

The Nectar team approached this challenging project by creating a single new industrial design for the BG3 Engine Emissions Cabinet, and then worked with Sierra’s engineering team to refine the new design language.

Differentiating Sierra’s Automotive Test Line

The new industrial design language for Sierra’s family of Automotive Test Systems products provides a common look, feel, and identity to the company’s best-in-class automotive test line. Now, these products are not only the best performing but also look the part, effectively differentiating Sierra’s superior systems from competitive offerings. Nectar’s industrial design language for the products elicits perceptions of value and performance that are consistent with Sierra’s best-in-class technology.

“Nectar created a cohesive design language for us. They addressed our project from a design perspective, where as we typically have an engineering approach. So it was great to have a fresh perspective. They really think about what the user needs. The team at Nectar is very friendly, responsive, and open to critique. I would definitely recommend them.”

– Matt Olin, President of Sierra Instruments