Setra Systems

Medical Sensing Solutions

Bringing Setra FLEX™ to Life

Setra Systems, Inc. is the leading USA manufacturer of premium high-accuracy pressure transducers, transmitters, capacitive pressure sensors and acceleration-sensing devices. Setra products are used in HVAC/R, semiconductor, test and measurement, medical, pharmaceutical, barometric, vacuum, and many other industrial markets. 

Measuring the pressure parameters in a cleanroom — an area used to build medications, containers and other medical devices that must remain sterile from manufacture through delivery — is among the most critical applications of Setra System Inc.’s differential pressure transducers. When Setra approached Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc. (ICS) for help bringing an innovative room environmental control monitoring solution called Setra FLEX™ to life, the company was primed to develop its first product without a major OEM sponsor — a move that represented a new direction for the established organization.

“We were revamping an existing product, one that was not quite intuitive enough or simple to navigate, and turning it into something exceptional,” said Setra’s Director of Engineering Paul Grosshart. “We knew we needed outside expertise to address the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) because we didn’t have our own UX group. We were familiar with ICS’ Qt development work and impressed with the IVI (in-vehicle information system) work ICS did for Intel so it made sense to give them a call.”

Paul Grosshart, Director of Engineering, Setra

About Setra FLEX

Setra FLEX is a flexible room environmental control and monitoring solution for use in hospital operating rooms, burn units, clean rooms and other areas where regulating the indoor environment is crucial. “To transform Setra FLEX from its initial incarnation we needed to incorporate a UI that was clean and functional,” Grosshart explained. “Both medical professionals and the operations personnel charged with monitoring the system had to be able to use the system without any prior training. It was important to us that the product did not require an operator’s manual to understand how to use it. Ease of use was essential.”

Another element that was essential: a UI inviting enough to appeal to architecture firms and real estate developers that would be willing to recommend Setra FLEX to their own clients. “Since we were developing this product without an OEM sponsor we needed to make sure it was appealing enough to catch the eye not only of organizations interested in buying directly, but also companies that could help us extend our reach,” Grosshart said.


Well-Engineered and Intuitive

Setra envisioned its new product to be well-engineered, intuitive and easy to navigate by two distinct audiences without prior training. That meant figuring out how to best configure the device, as well as how to present complex data in a way that could be read quickly and understood with ease.

ICS analyzed Voice-of-the-Customer data and created personas to help them understand what users are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior and how they make decisions.

In other words, provide the researched-backed context that would make it possible for Setra to deliver a product that filled a real need and would be embraced by the target audience.

“With ICS, we explored how people would actually use Setra FLEX,” Grosshart said. “Then the UX design team created wireframes to flesh out their ideas and help guide our decision making. Throughout the process we thought about our two audiences (medical professionals, and installers and maintenance workers) and what would make sense to them.” 

The UX team also paid a lot of attention to the visual design, for instance treatment of parameter badges, background colors, icons, alarms and room status among other elements, to ensure it met the needs of both user audiences. 

"The value of Setra FLEX is in the software, not the hardware, so working with an expert software developer was essential. We’re pleased with not only Setra FLEX itself but with our experience working with ICS. So pleased we’re working together to customize the product for OEM customers, as well as extend Setra FLEX to adjacent markets."

Paul Grosshart, Director of Engineering, Setra

Beta Delivers Positive Feedback

With development and UX design complete, Setra FLEX was sent off for testing. “We received excellent customer feedback during beta, which reinforced to us that we’re on the right path,” Grosshart said. “Users were able to navigate with ease and found the interface to be attractive and informative without being too complicated. That was precisely our goal for the UI.”

With a November 2017 commercial release, Setra is working to establish its new device as a top-seller in the market. “We’re confident we have a winner and are looking forward to capturing our share of the market,” Grosshart said. Setra FLEX won the prestigious 2018 AHR Innovation Award in the Building Automation category.

About Setra Systems 


Founded in 1967 by brothers Dr.Y.T. Li and Dr. S.Y. Lee, both professors of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-developers of the variable capacitance transduction principle, Setra Systems, Inc. designs and delivers sensing devices for diverse applications and industries. The company is known for innovative solutions for HVAC and building automation, industrial OEM, test and measurement, and critical environments.