To ensure horses stay in tiptop shape, they are regularly monitored by veterinarians that specialize in these animals. These checkups often include X-rays. Together with Podoblock, MMID has developed a mobile support stand for mobile X-ray equipment, the JiXtr, that enables veterinarians to take photos on site safely, quickly and with ease.
The sport horse market is a niche market in which a lot of money is involved. Podoblock, a small company based in the village of Tynaarlo in Drenthe, a province in the east of the Netherlands, supplies and trades in products for veterinarians that specialize in the treatment of sport horses. “It’s an expensive sport, and a lot is invested in the horse, so you want to be sure your animal is healthy,” says Klaas-Jan Veltman of MMID. “These health checks are often carried out with the aid of X-ray machines, and that doesn’t happen in a clinic, but in the barn.” That means the vet has to take the X-ray machine with them and take the photo’s on the spot. That imposes specific requirements on flexibility, weight and operational simplicity.
In collaboration with Podoblock, MMID has developed a mobile support stand, a sort of extendable leg, on which you can conveniently and safely click the vulnerable X-ray generator. A special adapter plate makes sure different brands can be attached. Also, thanks to the support stand, the veterinarian can easily adjust the x-ray machine to the correct height and fix it there while taking the photo. Thanks to the integrated strap, the complete system easily can be lifted from the car to the barn.
The JiXtr has been successfully launched, but its introduction was preceded by nearly four years of development. Alex Berends, director of Podoblock recalls: “The existing support stand was a high-end user product, quite expensive and often just too big to take with you in the car. The market asked for a more compact, lighter, and cheaper version”. Berends developed a draft model in collaboration with a partner but says: “After a year, we found ourselves stuck, pretty much out of ideas.” He adds: “We have a lot of knowledge of our market and our users, but we’re not engineers or designers. We acquired this knowledge by collaborating with MMID.”
It did take some doing, though, explains Berends: “Our original idea received a radical overhaul, and that did have the necessary impact on turnaround time, and consequently on the hours and budget. Eventually, the process became longer and had the occasional hiccups”, says Berends. “But looking back, I think we made the best use of all the technical possibilities that MMID has to offer. They did some actual ‘out of the box’ thinking but also dared to tackle things differently and not to continue with our existing design. With that, we are already two steps ahead of the competition. ”
Klaas-Jan Veltman: “It wasn’t always an easy process, but we’re proud to have reached the finish line together, and that we have developed a product that does what it should do. It was a true collaboration with our customer.”