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MAPLES at University of Montreal

April 28, 2022
When I asked my principal investigators about Clustermarket they told me the interface was too complicated and I should consider the useless interfaces already used in the department! Didn’t listen to them and I implemented MAPLES around Clustermarket and don’t regret my choice. Eric Dionne, Research Advisor

Lab Profile

MAPLES (Montreal Area Platform for Electrochemical Systems), is a collection of unique instruments needed for electrochemists and materials science researchers. Funded by a grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and based at the University of Montreal, Canada, their state-of-the-art instruments can operate in situ- and in operando mode. At MAPLES, they study the dynamics of material transformation which is essential to the improvement of electrochemical systems such as batteries, electrochromic devices, and solar collectors. 

Their infrastructure has also been set up to be fully available to researchers working in the field of the material sciences. They can support the research needs in various fields from (opto)electronics optimization and pharma drug development, to complex environmental sample analyses. They provide instruments such as; Hyphenated TGA-IR-GC/MS System, Imaging Ellipsometer, and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) with electrochemical cell (ESPR), to name a few.

  • Number of users - 25
  • Type of lab/facility - Materials characterization lab and service provider
  • Location - Montreal, Canada
  • Previous system - Paper and HTML-based booking interface

Problem 

As MAPLES is among other things, a service provider, it needed to run as efficiently as possible and ultimately be profitable whilst ensuring high equipment utilization. Implementation of a clear and easy-to-use booking system would continue to establish MAPLES as a well-known, highly reputable lab for materials research as well as being a highly organized lab to work in. 

In addition, MAPLES wanted to allow users to efficiently plan their experiments by clearly seeing the availability of instruments, as well as edit their bookings to coincide with any changes to their planned work. Furthermore, using a system that would allow lab members to book instruments using their phones was an important factor to consider when deciding which system to use.

Solution 

Prior to the implementation of Clustermarket’s booking system, lab members were using many obsolete interfaces such as paper calendars taped to lab doors, and an out-of-touch HTML-based booking interface. As neither of these items worked efficiently, lab members selected to not use either item. As MAPLES wanted to ensure the continued success of the lab, they decided to implement Clustermarket’s system. They found its flexibility suitable for their needs in addition to being available for free. 

With the calendar overview, it is easy for users to clearly identify the availability of equipment in the lab and plan their experiments accordingly, which they can do on a laptop, desktop or mobile device. Additionally, with the rules built into the system, Admins can enable their lab members to edit and/or cancel their own bookings, allowing the users to make changes according to their own schedule. 

Clustermarket’s booking system also has a reporting feature, which gives the Admin(s) a clear overview of equipment usage, as well as visibility of which users have been booking time on the equipment. This allows billing to be prepared rapidly, reducing the amount of admin time needed for each billing. 

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References