The sensor family CODIF, TEAMS and ESIC comprises a highly versatile modular system to measure the velocity distribution functions in multi-ion plasmas. The sensors have been optimized to separate the major ion species while ignoring the resolution of neighboring elements. By tailoring the geometry factors and energy ranges of the front end electrostatic analyzer systems and the data compression schemes in the data processing interfaces the instrument has been adapted to the needs of 3 different spacecraft missions without modifying the central and complex time-of-flight spectrograph. It can be anticipated that further such adaptations are possible in the future. In the same sense the central TOF unit may be replaced by a system with higher mass resolution while keeping the 3D distribution aspect of the instrument untouched. In this way a resource efficient design philosophy for ion spectrometers has been devised.